Opinion

Adoption of 'creatology' quickly becoming a necessity rather than a luxury

To stand out in the crowed in today's market success is now dependent on 'creatology', writes Open Reply partners Julian Douch and Paulo Bernini.

Open Reply partners Paulo Bernini and Julian Douch
Open Reply partners Paulo Bernini and Julian Douch

Traditionally, brands are known and respected for their creativity, but in today's connected world they need to recognise that they are in a new era of digitalisation where creativity alone doesn't cut it.

To stand out in today's crowded market is dependant on 'creatology': the equilibrium between brand image, creativity and the digital medium in which they use to reach their audience

With the right balance, delivering on the promise of creatology, brands can gain a critical advantage over competitors, winning omni-channel customers’ hearts and wallets.

There is a new buzzword on the street, one which takes the creativity and soul of a brand image coupled with the means of expression and connecting an audience using the latest technological trends in this ever evolving digital world - 'creatology'.

The ethos of creatology is marrying together the magnificence and DNA of a brand, with the technological advances of the digital landscape, in order to express the essence of a brand through the digital medium.

With the right balance, delivering on the promise of creatology, brands can gain a critical advantage over competitors, winning omni-channel customers’ hearts and wallets.  

Brand storytelling

The Italian luxury fashion and lifestyle brand Etro, a past client of Open Reply, is a great example of a brand using creatology to boost its business through a balance of creative brand storytelling, intertwined with seamless brand and commerce experiences.

From in-store to website, the Etro brand is one that radiates family heritage whilst combining creativity. The brands own art collection on display in a number of its stores globally, forms the basis and continuum of an immersive omni-channel brand experience.

As well as displaying this heritage on its digital channels, with online browsers able to peruse the Art Collection, Etro uses technology to ensure its digital channels are cascaded in-store, reinforcing this omni-channel brand experience for its online and offline customers. Streaming the same video used at catwalk shows, online and in-store ensures brand consistency, creativity and enhances its reputation for omni-channel superiority.  

Valentino’s digital channels are another great example of creatology in action. The site is designed to look and feel like a magazine, where content really is king.

Valentino’s sister label, Red Valentino, aimed at a younger audience, made Tumblr its main digital touch point, creating a flow of highly creative, cutting edge and arty content that emulates a new way of seeing the Valentino world.   

A recent report from BuzzCity reveals that 70% of mobile consumers shop online. The mobile commerce channel is now on a par with computers and forcing change in consumer shopping behaviour – but retailers large and small still aren’t set up to handle it.

70% of mobile consumers shop online.

A reported 92% of UK adults have a smartphone with owners using an average of 27 apps per month. This is fuelling consumer behaviour of starting and finishing brand engagement via different touch-points transitioning from web, to mobile to in-store and vice-versa. This is a complexity that many brands are struggling to deliver and meet expectation.

The mobile experience therefore is now more than just an isolated commerce channel; mobile is fast becoming the bridge, the lynchpin for brands between the physical and digital world.  

Brands need to ensure that the ‘digital conversation’ they have with consumers is optimised for the digital world, providing an intuitive and easy-to-use experience, simplifying and enhancing a consumers’ lifestyle, as well as appealing aesthetically and emotionally.  

Most importantly, the consumer experience of the brand must be seamless, technologically faultless, yet still permeate a brand experience on digital that the consumer has physically experienced.

Bad experience

A few years ago, brands thought they could get away with a bad experience on mobile. Now, everyone has a smartphone and high expectations, primarily driven from the premium experience offered by smartphones. Brands need to provide an experience that delivers on the consumer’s intent and need, whilst exceeding their expectation through indulgent content and uncomplicated access of information.

Brands like House of Fraser and Monsoon recognise the importance of this and are winning industry praise for delivering mobile-centric user experiences.  

As well as mobile and platform advancements, there are huge strides being made in ‘cool tech’ which brands can take advantage of. 'FashTech' is a buzzword being used everywhere at the moment, and, in particular, it is the wearable technologies that have got the industry and consumers talking.  

This is, and will be the next wave of creatology – arguably this is where premium and luxury brands need to be at their creatology-best to ensure the quality and expectation of their products are not diminished by their technological enablement.

Designer Luxottica, the maker of Ray Ban and Oakley, has been commissioned to make new variations of Google Glass, to introduce a new breed of eyewear that will not only boast the amazing technology of Google Glass, but also look like something we’d like to wear.

With these technologies becoming a part of everyday life, it will be interesting to see how other technology and retail brands collaborate to incorporate wearable tech into their product range. Could this be the dawn of a new era that breathes life into classic fashion items? A fine example of ‘creatology’ and the fusion of creative ideas and technology, will we be seeing the next Cartier bracelet integrated with Fitbit tech?

With a creative approach to technology, suddenly anything seems possible.