Monday, February 25, 2008

Getting to creative solutions faster.

Let's start with the premiss that communication that has the most impact has a single focused idea. An idea that is relevant, resonates (with emotion), is memorable (and/or unique) and in a perfect world has a way for whomever we are communicating with to respond. 

In the world of creative ideas I've found that there are several paths to get there. Typically, with the long slow path there is a lot of wasted effort involved, late nights, painful conference calls, confused co-workers, budgets burned and time wasted trying to figure out what should be the path forward. 

I realize I am stating the obvious here but it's amazing to me how often the basic steps of a creative methodology get pushed aside just to "make progress" on an assignment. In particular I'm referring to Step 1: The Creative Brief. When it comes to creative briefs there is no magic format, no one size fits all form and no perfect model that will answer all questions for all projects. However, I believe this fundamental step will lead to a more strategically sound, more efficient use of resources and truly inspired creative as a result. 

So what needs to go into a brief? That leads us to the second premiss that beliefs drive behavior. And if you can impact beliefs you can impact behavior. With this in mind we can put a framework around how we think an advertisement, a podcast, a web page or just about anything else we put in front of someone could shape their belief system. Sounds pretty tough 'eh? It is. And that's why creative briefs are important. It forces you to outline what it is you are really doing to make a change in your audience's (and/or marketplace) belief system.

So what are some of best practices that I've found that lead to powerful communications? Here's my list.

1) What does your audience currently believe (about your brand/product/service)?

2) What do you want your audience to believe (about your brand/product/service) in the future?

3) How does your audience currently behave (about your brand/product/service)?

4) How do you want your audience to behave (with your brand/product/service) in the future?

5) What's the consumer / industry insight that would drive us to think differently?

6) What is the disruptive thought which will help to change their belief when we put this piece of communication in front of our audience?

7) Support/Facts/Data/Stories

8) Specific must haves and no goes

An additional thought that I think is worth including: let's stipulate that this is the document that accompanies a briefing. It won't simply be emailed to someone or slipped under a door. It will be accompanied by your exciting self, emoting and inspiring like crazy.

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