“It’s not the strongest creative content that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
Charles Darwin may very well be the most quoted person of the past 150 years. So, what’s the big deal? More important to us, how does he apply to creativity? At the heart of Darwin’s theory was the idea that each species adapts to its environment. From this process of change, new species arise. This theory has relevance to agencies and marketers seeking to spread their message in a changing marketplace; let’s call this the marketing evolution.
While on a journey aboard the HMS Beagle (now that would be a cool name for an ad agency), Darwin observed that every island of the Galapagos had its own type of finch. While these birds were closely familiar, they differed in subtle, but significant ways. This holds truth when a marketer attempts to distribute their message across various platforms.
Darwin theorized that organisms best suited to their environment had a greater chance of survival and reproduction. They passed along their key survival characteristics to their offspring
Today’s agencies and marketers that distribute brand messages through multiple platforms are prone to Darwin’s theory. Competing for attention in each channel, key “survival traits” are necessary for optimal success. While “content is king,” both context and relevance matter — if neglected, the message can disappear and the brand faces extinction.
Here are 5 theories Darwn outlined in On the Origin of Species, and how they apply to brand content marketing evolution:
1. Evolution “While species come and go through time, they change during their existence” — Branding and marketing isn’t new. Brands have always relied content to survive. But, content has evolved over time. It started as stories told around the campfire to teach and entertain family and friends. Make sure your brand’s content can evolve with the times. The best way to accomplish this is to use stories about your business. Storybuilding (I don’t like the cliché “storytelling”) is how people will remember your brand.
2. Common Descent “While organisms descend from one or more common ancestors, they diversify from the original stock” — Diversify your content! Use various techniques – text, photos, infographics, videos, etc.. Don’t be a one trick pony.
3. Species Multiply “Diversification involves the population of one species changing until they become two distinct species” — Allow your brand message to multiply. Create subsequent content around your core brand and products. Your brand will take on exponential lives.
4. Gradualism “New species don’t occur suddenly. Rather evolutionary alterations happen with small incremental changes inside populations” — Content distribution is not effective simply by getting it out there (except maybe here at). Adapt it powerfully for each platform and channel. Drip it.
5. Natural Selection “Evolution occurs due to differences between individual species’ therefore some variations provide improved chances for survival” — Just as natural selection affects species competition, each piece of marketing content struggles for attention. Success is not about mass volume attention but about the most relevant content to the most relevant consumer. Create content that ensures that. Successful messages survive.
About the author: Mike Palma
In 2006, Mike launched The Palma Group as a hybrid ad agency headhunting/rainmaking firm which made for big news: http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising/ex-bbdo-atlanta-exec-opens-palma-group-83330. He has helped deliver hundreds of accounts and talented people to clients since.