Business and money do not create anything. Inventors develop new products, and creative marketers communicate the value of those products to customers. In the end, the only thing that distinguishes one widget from another is the creative branding or a creative difference in the product itself. The only thing that the business people can do is change the price or show consumer statistics. But statistic and metric watchers are not creating new products or marketing them
We need to wake up; we are losing our creative class, the ones who made this country great. (Read David Heenan’s book about the flight of the creative class from America, “Flight Capital.”) Creative people engineer new ideas and paradigms; when business people step in and take over, they often devalue the original creators and reduce the brilliant concept to “business as usual.” As a result, we are losing our creative edge as our most creative people lose their jobs and our entrepreneurs and consultants are unable to support their creative ventures.
If you look at marketing job descriptions these days, they look like they were written by an accountant or CFO, and probably were, because these are the people who hold the money and only value statistics. However, statistics are not creative; companies such as Facebook and Linked In have been successful largely because of innovative ideas and creative marketing. Statistical marketing can only track statistics, not create new ideas and new paradigms.
When I read the job descriptions for “marketing professionals” I know why the economy is in such trouble: we have allowed the most conservative, least imaginative people to lead us. I suppose it is only natural: after all, we witnessed incredible idiocy on the other side of the spectrum during the dot-com bubble where kids straight out of college were given unbelievable amounts of free venture capital. These kids’ arrogance and lack of business sense caused the dot-com collapse and the flight of investment capital from innovative businesses.
So the pendulum has shifted: no one trusts creative people, everyone is afraid for their jobs, no one can speak up for innovation without a stack of dry statistics under their butt.
However, statistics and metrics are not going to save us from our fear or keep our underachieving businesses from failing. Why does it surprise anyone that American car manufacturers are in trouble today? It has absolutely nothing to do with the business and everything to do with creativity. They stopped innovating years ago!
Think back: when was it that an American car brand was a better product than a Toyota or a Honda? I can’t remember. I do know that I buy only foreign cars, not American cars. I can’t afford to buy an inferior product.
I saw a commercial on TV that lauded an American car manufacturer who is making a hybrid SUV that gets — get this — an amazing 20-mpg! A beat-up 1987 Honda Prelude with 300,000 miles on it gets 34 mpg today. The old forest of American car manufacturers do not need a bailout, they need a complete overhaul in their business divisions — replace some of those statisticians with creative marketers and innovators.
Statistics do not create, metrics do not brand. Marketing analysts do not know how to communicate the value of your product to a consumer. Take a step in the right direction: hire a creative person today, and listen to what (s)he says.
In the old days, a king would place himself on a human-sized scale: the tax due was the balance of his weight in gold bunion on the other tray of the scale. Now truly is the time to put creative people on that scale; pay them well, for they are worth their weight in gold.
Copyright 2009 Aliyah Marr, Author of Parallel Mind, The Art of Creativity