I saw a quote recently that credited the continuing economic doldrums to the “over supply of everything, facilitated by the proliferation of the Internet”1…. That got me thinking!
At first, I didn’t take it too seriously; just another flamboyant economic statement. Then I realised that there may actually be some strength to the argument. As a photographer I have, at times, joined with peers in lamenting the oversupply within our industry, particularly since the proliferation of the digital, rather than chemical, process. With the R&D of digital technology and web-based supply having grown-up almost hand-in-hand, is it really so far fetched? Perhaps it is just common sense that oversupply might be the trigger of economic stagnation.
There are the obvious exceptions such as property, that we are told are in short supply, but generally you can now find any product or service online with ease and immediacy. For an economy that has become so reliant on the service and retail sectors, surely this creates a problem.
As individual consumers we can be forgiven for thinking this is a great turn of events. Oversupply has produced a race to be the cheapest supplier. As a brand it is a potential disaster. Whilst you’ve been given access to markets, options for ‘free’ audience engagement and emotional space through social media and enough analytics to melt your brain, in the end there is almost always someone who will do what you do cheaper. When that happens the options for your brand become limited. Do you stay and compromise in pursuit of cheaper costs, or do you see the writing on the wall and move on? How many loss-leaders can you afford to offer in the hope of maintaining vague and fickle customer loyalty…?
Isn’t it time to stop? Rather than being the architect of your own demise as a brand, can you not use the fantastic tools at your disposal to create an emotional space for your audience on a different level? I heard another sage piece of advice a few weeks ago: “if your are going to create a brand, get the money in place first.”2 Establishing takes investment. Don’t be an advocate for a status quo that will ultimately (more than likely) produce your demise. Cheap is always cheap. Is that what your brand represents?
Why am I talking about this as a creative? Because we need ‘intelligent creative’. We need well executed, professionally delivered visual assets that share synergy with consumer generated content and cover both current emotional engagement and drive aspirational future space. Intelligent creative gives audiences a different and unique engagement. It makes them realise they cannot get what you, your brand, offers elsewhere. It is not a price point relationship anymore.
2. http://www.digitaldoughnut.com (event)