No creative person espouses smart strategies more than I. The strategy tells us why we’re doing what we’re doing, who we’re talking to, what we know about them, what we want them to believe (product benefit) and why they should believe us. That is at the core of all agency strategy platforms no matter how they dress it up and embellish it with ornamental jargon and examples of proof to why it works.
Whenever I had trouble developing creative, my instinct always took me back to re-visiting the strategy. When the strategy was giving me trouble, I ventured into the ‘What if?” land. Then, on occasion, I hit a creative ball out of the park. The only problem was, it was not on strategy. The creative solution suggested another strategy.
It is not uncommon for agencies to ‘re-visit’ their strategy when faced with an obvious creative winner. And the solution is simple; re-write the strategy to make if look like it was the catalyst for the creative product.
Our dirty secret is out.
Raise your hands for all those who have never been there. And I am not blaming people (the account people who usually pen the strategies) not am I glorifying the creative people who came up with the home run. That creative solution could be borne from instinct of the problem or just plain luck.
We need processes in order to function and get work done with a semblance of order (it does exist in agencies from time to time but by the very nature of what we do we also have to have room for intelligent disorder.)
When presenting to clients, there is a standard protocol. The account people review the strategy (the one the client has already approved) and then the creative people get up and present the creative, followed by the media people who will explain how the message will be disseminated.
To their credit, it can sometimes be the media people who come with an out-of-the-box, innovative solution that wins the day.
The point is, sometimes the box the strategy places us in can be detrimental.
Now connect all four dots using only three straight lines. If this has you stumped, you can find the solution here.
We are often tasked with playing inside the box. The real talented creatives are the ones that can be creative while very much confined to the box.
But to all clients, all advertisers, I suggest that when a creative person whom you respect stands up and says, “Now I have an idea that may seem a little crazy.” Listen. Listen very carefully. You might hear more than an engaging piece of creative. You may see the making of a far-reaching powerful strategy.
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