Banish “That’s Not On Brand” For Good

Performance marketers vs creative marketers: it’s a battle as old as time. Brands with a DTC channel typically drift to one of two extremes when it comes to marketing creative:

Creative As A Bottleneck: Only one or two people in the organization can approve marketing assets before they’re used publicly. And those one or two people cannot delegate. So no matter how many “hands” are hired to develop creative assets, the team is always stretched to its limit and marketing never has enough assets to work effectively.

If you watch the Halston series on Netflix, the titular fashion designer literally develops a coke habit because he can’t delegate. Many such cases in the creative realm.

Staring Into The Void: This is the other side of the blade, just as sharp and just as deadly. Enter the performance marketing gunslinger who is doing whatever it takes to hit a ROAS target and sharing it all on Twitter.

In this rugged individual’s mind, anything is “on brand” as long as it works on Facebook and any customer is “our customer” as long as AOV exceeds CAC by the right margin. But without a structured testing strategy or the ability to draw a line in the sand and say “this is who we are”, it’s impossible to differentiate or learn.

If you’re selling things online, you’re going to need a 60-70% product margin to do it profitably. Behemoths like WalMart and Amazon make do with much less than that, and their pricing reflects it.

To earn that premium, you have to have exceptional products (obviously) and you have to stand for something. You must get people so fired up they set their rational mind aside for a moment.

But you need to balance emotion with pragmatism. The consumer does not care about your ~brand image~ if they’re trying to buy a tank top and you’ve styled it underneath three sweaters.

So here is my advice on how to build creative teams and processes that allow your brand to be data-driven without being soulless, and memorable for the right reasons.

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