Before launching a creative project or marketing campaign, we like to follow these steps to maximize creativity and productivity. Consistently applying these steps improves our key metrics, enhances team chemistry and builds a bond with our clients.
Step 1: Discover
The question is a powerful tool and in this first step we ask a lot. We get to know our client’s story and ask them questions like:
- What goals do you have?
- What separates you from your competitors?
- How would you like your audience to connect with you?
Asking questions and defining what success is in the beginning is essential for everything that comes next.
Step 2: Research
After we discover, it’s time to research. We tap into and apply market research, scan client’s websites and social media channels to learn about them and their industry. We like to sample our client’s product or service and place ourselves in their target audience’s shoes. Our brains become sponges and absorb as many details as possible to help support our purpose and our message.
Step 3: Brainstorm
Once we’ve completed our research it’s time to set up a whiteboard session and begin brainstorming ideas. Multiple rounds are best and in the first round, anything goes. We encourage everyone involved to think and speak freely. No idea is outrageous and everything has potential. At the end of about 60-minutes, we stop, collect all ideas and agree on a time to follow up for another round. In the round or rounds that follow, the brainstorming group tends to get smaller and ideas become more refined.
Step 4: Take A Break
By this step our brains have been working hard and could use a timeout. Eating something, taking a walk, meditating and disconnecting from technology or sleeping on it are all great ways to temporarily separate the brain from the task at hand. By focusing our attention elsewhere for a short period of time it allows us to reboot and — when we come back to our ideas — we bring fresh perspectives.
Step 5: Visualize
It’s time to bring our ideas to life. We visualize our ideas into a storyboard, mood board, presentation and sometimes spec ads. This is where we put it all together and prepare to show our clients that we understand their goals, audience and benefits they provide.
Step 6: Present
The time has come to present our ideas to our clients. We start with a quick re-cap of our goals, then we walk our clients through the strategy and use our visuals to help explain how we arrived at our recommendation. This method shows our clients that we’ve done our homework and lays the foundation for a strong relationship.
These six steps have proven themselves to be successful for an array of campaigns across a variety of business categories. Consistently applying these steps results in creative that’s powered by our discovery, supported by our research, built from the best ideas we brainstormed and delivered to target audiences with impact and response.
Nick Ruscito | Creative Services Manager
Advance Media New York