Creativity & Relevancy Flywheel

How having a clear internal and external focus fuels brand growth

Welcome to the Sociology of Business. If you are not subscribed, join the community by subscribing below and share it with everyone you think may find it useful. You can find my book, The Business of Aspiration, on Amazon, and you can find me on Instagram and Twitter, too. For those new here, I wrote last about The New American Look and how Americans got to dominate global fashion for the first time.

Relevancy is every brand’s lifeline. So is creativity. Yet, both get easily lost in the everyday brand operations, business targets, and commercial planning.

Relevancy means that a brand’s customers and non-customers alike consider a brand part of the culture. A brand is perceived as of its time, in step with the current social values, a participant in the conversation, and a contributor to people’s lives. It is present in the world, and its presence is felt as a positive influence.

Relevancy is created by mixing a) what a brand stands for (a set of values), b) why it exists in the world (purpose), c) how it interacts with culture (strategy) and d) where consumers spend their time, attention and money. Brands with history and heritage can achieve relevancy by taking what people already know about the brand and are nostalgic for, and positioning it in a way that feels fresh: by creating hooks to the current moment. Those without history and heritage start from creating these hooks, and carefully weaving a story.

Relevancy rests on understanding human psychology, reading the sociology of the current moment, and being in tune with how is status and aspiration defined, obtained, and conveyed. At the same time, relevancy is not directly measured: it is a vibe, the mood, the style. It’s an aesthetic mix of attitude, behavior, and appearance. Relevant brands are those with a clear identity, their own visual and verbal handwriting, and their own ethics. Relevancy is brand confidence.

Creativity fuels relevancy. It’s an internal mantra that permeates everything a brand does. It’s the organizing principle of a company, and a North Star of teamwork, processes, communication, and problem-solving. Creativity doesn’t exist in isolation; it requires diverse information sources, a more nuanced interpretation of history, heritage, culture, and digging deeper beyond the surface trends. Creativity is key for a brand taking part in cultural dialogue, not being outside of it. Creativity is most visible in how brands approach:

a) Customers. Information is everywhere, but companies are usually short on insights. Creatively representing customers in 3D in a way that excites all internal stakeholders, from media teams to design to merchandising to creative, reminds all that they are talking to actual humans, not an excel spreadsheet.

b) Experience Journey. Creativity in how a brand’s promise and value proposition is delivered to customers is the key source of competitive advantage. Consistent delivery drives conversion and loyalty.

c) Brand Future. Creativity in thinking about the brand's future gives a brand permission to move outside its category and grow in a non-linear way. What are the new ways that we can deliver our brand promise? What are the new categories we can extend this promise to? How we can deliver it through new models and touchpoints? How can we make money differently?


Find of the day is this padded leather bomber by COS.