However, in advertising and marketing the obsession with being creative can often mean ignoring the most important objective of all - to sell. Advertising agencies will win coveted prizes for having the most creative and beautifully produced ads, but the ads absolutely bomb when it comes to selling. I don't know about you, but as a business owner, I really don't care if I make an ad that wins a prestigious advertising award, all I care is that it makes me some money (covering the cost of the ad is a start, but I'd want a lot more than that to deem the ad successful).
Being able to design something that is both beautiful and functional is a very difficult task. This is because most people are either left or right brain centric.
In the book, A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink, he compared both the left and right hemispheres of the brain and discussed that you need to include both hemispheres when creating anything new, as this is where magic happens.
Look to the Left
The left hemisphere is rational, linear, logical and analytical. It likes to analyses details. Those who are more L-directed thinkers are accountants, lawyers and engineers.
Look to the Right
While the right hemisphere is instinctive, empathetic, understands context (the left brain handles what is said, while the right focuses on how it's said), non verbal and emotional cues. It sees the big picture. Those who are more R-directed in their thinking are entertainers, artists, designers and counsellors.
Get it all together
Both sides work together - but they have different specialties.
The left hemisphere knows how to handle logic and the right hemisphere knows about the world. Put them together and you have a powerful thinking machine. Get them to work separately and life becomes, well one-sided and a little strange.
Steve Jobs - A Master in Merging Left and Right
Steve Jobs, one of the original founders of Apple was an extraordinary man, responsible for some of the most innovative technology over the last 30 years.
In a 1996 interview with Wired magazine he said "Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it's really how it works. The design of the Mac wasn't what it looked like, although that was part of it. Primarily, it was how it worked. To design something really well, you have to get it. You have to really get what it's about. It takes a passionate commitment to really thoroughly understand something, chew it up, not just quickly swallow it. Most people don't take the time to do that".
What Steve Jobs understood is that while design is all about aesthetics and that a computer or iPod has to look good (which most electronic companies struggle with), it also has to work exceptionally well and improve the customer experience.
This is why so many creative industries get it wrong when they need to merge the need for commerce with design. Website agencies, graphic designers and video production agencies are all guilty in this respect.
Referring back to book, A Whole New Mind by Dan Pink, he mentions that design is a whole-minded approach that is a combination of utility (function, left brained) and significance (form, right brained). For example, a graphic designer needs to create a brochure that people find easy to read (left directed thinking as it's utility). But at it's most effective the brochure must also transmit ideas or emotions that the words themselves cannot convey (or right brained thinking).
The Perils with Lower Cost Video Production
The function versus form is a major issue with video production agencies. Too often, companies will chose the lower priced production agency, not realising that they have just chosen technical ability over the ability to communicate the information in a powerful way (and often technical ability is particularly poor because there is still a remarkable difference in camera and editing quality). Or they have selected on creative ability, not realising that a heavy emphasis on creativity means you've just said goodbye to clear communication. Just because you have a video, doesn't mean it will work.
In this day and age of home video cameras and low priced editing software, a lot of people can film and edit (left-brained skills). Of course, even if they have mastered both these skills, being able to convey an emotionally engaging story is an entire different skill all together (right-brained skill).
As the owner of a video production house, I've worked with a lot of camera operators and editors. Just because someone says they're an editor, doesn't mean they are particularly good at it. More often than not, even if they have the technical skills (left-brained), they usually aren't very good at putting a story together (right-brained). In these cases, they have to be fully directed by a right-brained centric director.
Consider training videos. At its most basic level, a training video is made by filming and editing relevant content for training. But at it's most effective, a great training video uses great filming and editing techniques that are centred on how to improve the learning experience of the viewer. Content is created that focuses on improving understanding. As Steve Jobs would say, it's about really getting what it's about. This means the video production company works really hard on ensuring that viewers will be able to learn. It's a real balance between function and form. Get it wrong and you've just wasted your money by producing a boring training video that doesn't teach.
Truly great videos are a combination of both left brained technical ability and right brained emotional communication. The majority of video production companies focus on one or the other.
At Digicast, we focus on both. By combining professionally filmed camera vision, with expert editing and a script that focuses on right brained style communication, we manage to balance function and form. Read more about how we improve training and marketing outcomes, on our case study page.