In a brief created earlier in the year for a social media music product I wrote “a musician is never more in touch with his or her art than when performing on stage, looking into the eyes of fans.” You’ve heard the expression “You feel me?,” well, unless their vision sucks (physically or metaphorically) artists should be able to look into the eyes of fans and tell if the song is any good. If it’s connecting. Even with an audience of suburban white kids, many of whom couldn’t find the beat in a James Brown song, an artist can tell.
This ability to “watch” the target is missing from much of marketing today. If creative teams, as they are coming up with words and pictures, envision the facial expressions of consumers hearing or seeing their messages, it will help them sell. It’s a projection exercise. The strategic ideas (science) are hard enough to come up with, but the creative ideas that actually touch peoples’ souls (art) are where the money is.
While I do my strategic rant about “What’s the idea?,” creative people should be asking themselves “What’s the expression?” And if they can’t visualize consumers’ responses to their selling messages — if it’s too hard — then they are writers and designers, not communicators.