The Pathway to “Great Creative”
July 24, 2018
Dear House Rules,
Sometimes, it seems like things are changing so fast we can barely keep up. At our agency, we’ve changed our dress code, our equipment, our messaging vehicles, and even our workspaces – but the goal of offering our clients great creative remains the same. How do we keep that goal front and center in the midst of all these changes?
21st Century Creativity?
Dear 21st Century,
You’re correct, of course, that the pace of change seems to have increased exponentially. However, you’re also savvy enough to know that great creative never goes out of style. The trick is to marry the new technology, messaging platforms, and analytics we have available now with creative work. A marketing expert once said that in addition to hard work, there are usually four key elements to a great ad: a disruptive and relevant visual, strong brand identification, a headline with stopping power, and “something else.” The struggle to find that “something else” hasn’t changed one bit. Here are a few additional thoughts for you from experts in the field:
- What’s the big idea? Every great ad is powered by an enormous idea, and those ideas have their roots in the insights born of pin-point research, the intellect and imagination of the creative team – and, yes, inspiration. A great ad changes the way we think about a particular product. It surprises us and makes us pay attention and take notice – no small feat in the age of constant content and distraction we live in. Here’s a good test: distill your concept into a short, simple, phrase and write it – longhand – on a piece of paper. Does the idea still blow you away, even without the kiosks, targeted ad buys on social media platforms, unconventional “guerrilla” marketing tactics, and similar tech-driven devices? If so, run with it!
- Take off the advertising blinders – In our industry, it’s easy to become so focused on advertising that we ignore the pop culture that often surrounds it. That culture, however, can be a fantastic source of ideas, so make sure you take in other forms of creative expression that are similarly idea-driven: books, films, art, music. Don’t forget about story, either, since great creative also tells a story. Look to movies, TV, and all types of fiction to find inspiration in many forms of narrative. And because design is such a critical component of great creative, it’s good to constantly educate your eye by seeking out outstanding, cutting-edge work in the world of fine arts, photography, graphic design, and industrial design
- If history teaches us anything… Of course, the history of advertising itself also provides an abundant source of inspiration for our creative work. Each of the major advertising eras has something unique and fascinating to offer. In the earliest days of advertising, the lack of technology like computers led to often-stunning, hand-drawn illustrations, and long-form copy was both ubiquitous and (when viewed through the filter of our modern sensibilities) hilarious. Knowing how our industry has evolved serves to both teach us and inspire us
- One great idea can go anywhere – Tactical message delivery options and media choices are constantly evolving. This means people need a clear product story based on a real customer need. There needs to be a central idea, a benefit story that the brand can consistently stand for wherever it goes and however it gets there. Due to this requirement, we have to weigh the leading ideas for their ability to meet that need. The process must include a second creative stage to test how flexible, portable, and extendable the ideas can be
With a staff full of creatives from vastly different backgrounds, those of us at Xavier Creative House would love to help you bring your brand strategy to life. Reach out to us by phone, email, or on social media today!
Reference: 1. http://www.pharmavoice.com/article/2016-03-great-creative/. Accessed July 10, 2018.