Creative turned marketer

Did you know that you are being targeted? Targeted for distribution.

Surely you’ve noticed a few signs? The impulsive need for Oreos? Paying double for that trending, Ocean breeze blue? Not knowing the real name for Band-aids? Or even flashing your new Kathmandu jacket in your profile pic?

Don’t be afraid. Step away from the remote and let me explain why it’s not all that bad.

The marketing industry has been paving the way we think for a long time now. How? Why? Who are these people and where do we hide? The way we engage with the content that is constantly being pushed to our screens every day is bound to have a lasting presence in our minds, especially at the check-out.

Why is the man on the radio screaming at me? Subliminal, emotional or direct marketing strategies are created to allow you to respond and perceive their content in a certain way, putting a price on your eyes and ears. Not in a weird, dark alley, black market kind of way but being subject to intelligent content distribution. “Lather, rinse, repeat”. This is all a part of the use and understanding of consumer interaction. And I love it.

My name is Emily and it’s been 25 years since I developed an emotional connection to brands. I’m a victim, and my story goes a little like this.

Rogue one

“Hello! Creative genius coming through,” said the Doc Marten, tote bag wearing abuser of Helvetica. The year was 2010. I was a designer ready to ‘Make shit look cool’. So, like, um, is there supposed to be an unspoken understanding of why some design just works? Like standing to the left side of the escalator or drivers courtesy waves?

Soon after I stepped into the world as a designer, something hit me — a revelation that there was an obvious disconnect between the thing I wanted to look cool and the story it was actually meant to be telling. An industry of many who are getting a hammer and trying to make everything a nail. I realised that materialising a brand is not as simple as your name being printed in type or compiling a bunch of digital assets. Something else I began to understand? It is frightfully easy for anyone to pick up a Macbook and churn out $49 logos, buy one get one free, money back guarantee. Be a human computer, easy profits.

So what separated my designs and that one size fits all approach? Was it because it looked good? It’s called art… look it up. Where’s my fame and glory? Why isn’t anyone listening?!

The force awakens

No. What I realised early on was that designing for a purpose instead of an aesthetic is how, amongst inspiration and implementation, you can create good design. That doesn’t mean I have to jeopardise my imagination in the process. Quite the contrary. Creativity has been, and always will be, my great, lifelong love and fascination. But now, with motivation behind everything I create, my creativity now has conviction. Backbone. MEANING.

After this realisation, I was swallowed up by the immeasurable man-made creation that is marketing — evolving and adapting creative skills into creative marketing skills. Creating buyer personas to talk to niche audiences. Understanding the very complex, very human audiences we are talking to everyday. Suddenly, it clicked. I no longer wanted to be a translator of other people’s ideas.

A new hope

Wanting to make people think in a different way, I now specialise in working with new businesses trying to find their feet. I thrive on creating strategic approaches with effective creative solutions, to reduce the amount of leaks in your ad spend and slowly build what you will find to be a great understanding of your “consumers”. All without blowing that start-up budget. Start somewhere, drive the system.

Understanding that creative marketing solutions are about redefining the word consumer and offering an astute perspective of customer experience and buyer perception. Everything you create is a stepping stone towards who you want your business to be, and a great way to communicate and satisfy audiences. This will help you build a unique network of loyal, active and organic listeners.

This concept, and my understanding of marketing has come a long way. It’s hard to imagine the days where I would just “make something look good”. Yes, originally, my inner Van Gogh was in for a rude awakening. Design purpose and a humanised approach was a huge learning curve, but now, every day I get to make brands sharp — with clever thinking, strategic insights, deliberate design with PURPOSE, and the help of an awesome team (plus one sassy Hedgehog). And that, my friends, is pretty bloody fantastic.

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