Crush Your Enemies with Creativity

What is best in life?

Like most of what you need to know, the answer to this question can be learned while watching old movies on a Saturday afternoon. I think Arnold Schwarzenegger said it best while playing a certain iconic barbarian.


“To crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentations of their women.”

In other words: results. Results are best. A rise in the numbers—whether you’re counting sales or defeated foes—is what we work for.

But what Conan the barbarian doesn’t mention here is how we get those results. He speaks of neither a sword nor a targeted direct marketing campaign. So what is the cause to this effect?

“You can’t bore someone into buying something.”

Not long ago, gyro ECD Mike Tittel implored us to stop boring people.And with good reason. Boring doesn’t sell. People are turned off by the unoriginal and bland.

Conan never scared someone to death. He used a weapon.

While club and axe are effective against the barbarians’ enemies, they can’t be used against our business competition, as much as we may wish they could. Instead, we must outthink our foes in these areas: creativity in the products we offer, the processes we use and the communications we send.

Recently a link went around illustrating the difference between some famous logos and their equivalent in standard typefaces.

What would have happened if the designers of these iconic marks had lacked creativity or the time/funds to creatively explore? Would they still be the iconic brands as we know them?

Or, conversely, what could your last marketing effort have been if it had been a creative execution of a humanly relevant idea? Could you have gotten more of what is best in life?

Give your customers what is best.

The man before Conan says something different is best:

“The open steppe, a fleet horse, falcons at your wrist and the wind in your hair.”

While this isn’t the correct answer—not for the Mongol general asking the question—it is honest. B-to-B and B-to-C customers alike want freedom, usability, utility and delight. They want to hear music that they won’t recognize from a 1-800-PET-MEDS commercial and to see something they could not create or even imagine on their own.

Creativity doesn’t just happen. It takes a commitment to being and doing things differently. It means sacrificing safety and taking a risk on something that may sound a little bit crazy.

But if you can do it—if you can give customers open steppes, fleet horses and the wind in their hair—you’ll see your competitors driven before you and you’ll hear more of those sweet, sweet lamentations.

by Barrett Condy

Copywriter, gyro Cincinnati

Cross-posted at Ignite Something on the Forbes CMO Network

Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettCondy.