Steve Berenson

Creativity That Sells

by Steve Berenson on March 16 2015

“Creativity that Sells”. That’s the rallying cry of our new agency. David Ogilvy, the famed advertising innovator wrote on more than one occasion that “in the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create”. It happens that was the case in the ancient world as well.

Creativity on its own, no matter how ingenuitive, doesn’t sell. Creativity for the sake of being creative, witty or clever does not produce results on behalf of what it is being created for. In order to create language and imagery that will sell a product, service or brand, a “specific creativity” must be employed to reach the target mind. Connecting with your audience requires connecting your message in their mind with what they already know. That rule, among many others, was introduced to the business world in a 1969 article written by Jack Trout & Al Ries on the subject of positioning. Fundamentally, positioning is not what you do to a product. Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect.

Berenson Brothers

For the past 35 years, my brother and I have had the privilege of working on and with some of the best brands and businesses in American history. Barry from the photographic, image creation side with some of the great brands of American business and me from product development, manufacturing, sales and marketing of consumer brands to the great retailers of our time. The combination of our two skill sets creates a unique opportunity to build great businesses and partnerships with our customers. Like the unique perspective the Coen Brothers can bring to a film project, so to do Barry and I bring a special combination of principles, talents and resources to serve the goals of our customers.

Engineering creativity that sells

Barry and I consider ourselves “engineers” of strategy and image. Our creativity is disciplined to communicate through words and imagery in a manner that connects with the prospect with the correct position based on what that prospect already knows. This is both an art and a science. It is what Berenson Partners was created for on behalf of us, our customers and our customer’s customers.

Berenson Partners can produce creativity for its own sake. But that is not our business. Berenson Partners is in the business of engineering creativity that sells, for you.

“The mind, as a defense against the volume of today’s communications, screens and rejects much of the information offered it. In general, the mind accepts only that which matches prior knowledge or experience.”
― Al Ries, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

Counter-intuitve truth

To succeed in our overcommunicated society, a company must create a position in the prospect’s mind, a position that takes into consideration not only a company’s own strength’s and weaknesses, but those of its competitors as well.

That’s why if you have a truly new product, it’s often better to tell the prospect what the product is not, rather than what it is. The first automobile, for example, was called a ‘horseless’ carriage, a name which allowed the public to position the concept against the existing mode of transportation.

Words like ‘off-track’ betting, ‘lead-free’ gasoline, and ‘sugar-free’ soda are all examples of how new concepts can best be positioned against the old. To find a unique position, you must ignore conventional logic and conventional creativity. Conventional logic says you find your concept inside yourself or inside the product.

Not true. What you must do is look inside the prospect’s mind. You won’t find an ‘uncola’ idea inside a 7-Up can. You find it inside the cola drinker’s head.