What Kills Creativity? This Video Explains the Biggest Mistake a Brand Can Make

Exploring return on ingenuity

DBD International, the strategic design and branding agency led by David Brier, has just released its own philosophy on what ROI represents: Return on ingenuity.

It isn't the first time we've seen a fresh definition for returns on creative investments (Ted Rubin's "return on relationship"—or RoR—is probably among the most well-known. It's even trademarked!), partly because marketers are starting to struggle with justifying their rising spend in mobile and social against murky sales returns.

But this video isn't about social specifically; it's about the value of ideas generally, and reveals the "one mistake" that can impede one's flow. With motion graphics by Saar Oz and a near-meditative narration from Brier, the video begins by defining its subject.

"The power of ideas: They can make us smile. They can make us cry. They can inspire action. They can conquer defeat. They can launch a movement … or stop us in our tracks."

Where does this power come from? Well, that's simple. "Their only power lies in us," Brier goes on. "As branders, we live to usher in the future, not stroke the past. While it might ruffle some feathers, it often can advance culture." 

And ideas, he continues, agitate more ideas. That's what "return on ingenuity" is all about: "This ingenuity is what separates the remarkable from the commodity, or the disruptor from the also-ran."

The work is intended to inspire, but it also contains a handy piece of smart wisdom—to avoid the temptation to stop at either failure … or success. "Neither success nor failure is permanent; they are themselves fleeting and transient. It's because the biggest mistake occurs when we stop at either of these points." 

Stopping at any point is thus the true enemy to ideation and innovation, the video argues, and it's here that it hits a purposeful stride. "When introducing ideas into the world, remember this: Stopping is never the right option, and is, in fact, the only thing that can ever defeat us in branding, in creating, in life." 

We can appreciate this bit of Darwinism … even if there's a whiff of The Secret about it, and even if the three-minute running time is challenging for even motivated viewers in a snackable, Snapchat-driven time. But that's the point: Social production has made viewers less patient and content creators more hasty.

So if we can't stop anyway, we might as well take a minute (or three) to refocus on what we're doing—and why—before going back to rolling that stone up the hill, then watching it slide gleefully down again. 

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