In military circles, strategy relates to the planning and direction of military operations in a war or battle. But what does it have to do with media?
In media, strategy generally involves setting goals and priorities, determining actions to achieve the goals, and mobilising resources to execute the necessary actions. A strategy describes how those actions will be carried out and the goals achieved using the resources available. Structured, formulaic and disciplined.
Thus a textbook definition suggests that the answer to our initial question about how much strategy matters in media is ‘quite a lot’.
In more normal circumstances, it is all about creating a general plan to achieve long-term goals under conditions of uncertainty. Today, some may say, that is truer than ever before.
Businesses approach the marketplace with tactics – either from their own field or borrowed from others – that are usually tried and tested, generally relying on ideas that have successfully worked before and which are not genuinely fresh.
Now, arguably, there is a need for genuine original thought.
The uncertainty dominating all our lives is currently all too real. Creativity of thought is essential.
Creativity turns imaginative thoughts and ideas into reality. Seemingly unrelated phenomena are connected to generate solutions. This doesn’t mean that a physical object is created, but rather that a new and valuable concept is.
The thinking and production of ideas is essential. If you have ideas but don’t act on them, you are imaginative but not creative.
Maria Popova in Brainpickings said: “Creativity is a combinatorial force: it’s our ability to tap into our ‘inner’ pool of resources – knowledge, insight, information, inspiration and all the fragments populating our minds – that we’ve accumulated over the years just by being present and alive and awake to the world, and to combine them in extraordinary new ways.”
Creativity brings something new, ‘albeit intangible’ into existence and to be truly creative requires a combination of spirit, insight and engagement.
In media, we work with the unstoppable force of creativity and the immovable object of strategy.
At Spiritmedia, we call that ’fusion’.
So often media is heavy on strategy and light on creativity, and even the best creative concept will just remain an imaginative idea if there is no strategy.
Since Spiritmedia’s inception nearly 20 years ago, Spirit fusion has been alive and well. Whether we’re conceiving and running a B2B campaign where PDAs (remember them?) were taken on to the street in the Highlands or groundbreaking B2C campaigns.
The task of one B2B campaign was to communicate to all businesses in order to establish a broadband network. We took the strategy creatively to all businesses and consumers throughout the Highlands, using conventional media but also uniquely using ferries,lorries and mobile cinema. A perfect, creative and effective strategy fusion. Indeed so effective that we won an award for our efforts.
In the B2C arena we have really excelled. Here are a couple of examples. Firstly, we conceived a ‘breathing poster’ showcasing the best of Scottish farming for the Royal Highland Show, imaginatively creating an out-of-home banner that breathed. Using the beautiful artwork, the banner genuinely looked like the breath of a cow in pastures seen early on a summer’s morning. Strategically sound, impactful, creative.
Secondly, as the digital age is well and truly with us, we combined digital outdoor sites with programmatic online buying for The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The full case study is here and it’s a great read.
Creativity and strategy in media have always been at the forefront of everything we do.
Perhaps a thought worth following?