The Conceptual Framework

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When we discuss creativity, we often define it in terms of talent, originality, fashion, trends, and award winning innovation. For the sake of the bottom-line however, we must think differently. Creativity should be redefined as an original way to sell a product or communicate an idea. When we simply follow trends, we are resorting to a form of hit-and-run marketing without any real substance. When we shift our focus towards defining and conveying a genuine message, we can produce great campaigns that move merchandise while building a strong brand.

According to studies described by a recent article in Newsweek, American creativity is declining. We believe it. We’re often faced with clients coming to us and wanting to mimic something cool they saw in a magazine or on a website. The intention is generally to put their own spin on the idea and either make an attempt at a hard sell or just hope their prospects think it’s as cool as they think it is. There are a number of problems with this approach, but the biggest is that it simply does not address the client’s specific business needs.

Relevance Sells Better Than Persuasion

People do not want to be sold to, but they love to buy things. Taking the time to do the research and defining your opportunities is the first step in developing a real campaign concept. Does this mean you have to beat yourself up trying to develop the most creative campaign known to man? Of course not. But, you do have to develop a memorable concept that enforces your competitive advantage and brings your message home to the only people who really matter — your customers.

Want to know the three easy steps for creating an effective campaign concept? Well, there aren’t any. But there are three steps that take a bit of effort… and you really should follow them:

  1. Determine every distinct advantage you have over your competition.

  2. Focus on the strongest one.

  3. Write a creative work plan to define where you are, where you want to be, and how best to get there.

At this point you’ve laid the groundwork for developing a real concept that will achieve a real goal. Now, during the creative process be critical but non-judgmental, record every idea, and try not to overlook the obvious. Implement any number of methods for idea generation — mind mapping, group brainstorming sessions, or hiring a professional creative team — but always stick to the criteria as defined in your creative work plan. You’re sure to end up with a solid concept that will give you more bang for your advertising buck and contribute to your long-term success.

The killer tip: Use creativity to make an emotional connection with your customers while maintaining a message that appeals to their rational thinking.


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