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Is Your Creative Design “Creative”?

Using Design as a Strategic Advantage

So many of the marketing decisions these days have become formulaic. With our reliance on data driven decisions and click through activities I wonder sometimes if we have lost our overall sense of creativity?

Has creative design become a process that we just “go through the motions?” Or do we give the creative development our full attention and best work?

Some Historical Context of Creative Design

Years ago, when print and broadcast marketing ruled the industry, the creative process was painstaking and thorough. Check out an episode from MadMen for a look inside the Ad Agency business as it was in the 60’s.

It might take weeks or months of going back and forth with multiple comp ideas and then refining again and again until the concept was perfect. Only then would the project move ahead.

Why was it so seemingly painfully slow? I believe two reasons: 1) They worked hard to get it right the first time and 2) Once created, you can’t “fix” bad creative. You can’t “unprint” a magazine ad or revise a broadcast spot without large expense and a huge loss of time.

Does Technology Inadvertently Encourage Mediocre Advertising?

Today’s digital tools make it much easier to modify creative in almost real time. An ad that isn’t pulling can be redesigned and uploaded potentially within hours. And that’s where my concern rests. The ease of “fixing” bad advertising might inadvertently lead to the creation of mediocre advertising in the first place.

We should always start with the goal of creating the very best concept we can, given the resources we have (budget, people and time usually being the biggest challenges).

A Helpful Checklist for Great Creative

I googled “Creative Advertising Checklist” and receive over 10 million hits. Everybody has their favorite list. Here’s mine:

1. Relevance to the Target Market – Does it “speak” to the right people?

2. Celebrate the product – The product or service should be the hero

3. Make it memorable – Appeal to those emotions that encourage your buyers to interact or see themselves using your product

4. Make it easy to take action

5. Support the overall brand and company positioning

Make sure to allow yourself time to brainstorm multiple options as well as adequate time for refining the concept and exploring multiple ways of delivering the product benefits.

Design as a Strategic Advantage

As impressions of your work grow, your brand and product will be elevated in the marketplace. Consistency in delivering high quality work becomes a hallmark of the company and is part of your overall brand promise.

Don’t short cut the process as it may create inadvertent mistakes or miscues that backfire.