Turning creative concepts into reality
Picture this: It’s Thursday. A group of writers and art directors receive a creative brief outlining a client challenge. The specific challenge – be it a critical rebrand, a new technology rollout, or the announcement of a company expansion – has reached a point where it requires a winning, comprehensive strategy to address the public and incite a desired outcome.
So, what’s next?
Work begins on a creative concept that can astutely resolve the challenge, nurture the desired results, and appease all of the internal and external stakeholders – before it’s even executed to reach a real audience.
While we could spend all day discussing how concepts are created or the many ideas that fall to the wayside before reaching the winning idea, the real question is: How does a great idea – a winning creative concept – turn into a mass media reality?
There are three key areas to consider if you truly want your creative concept to survive until the end and have a remnant of its original self by the time it hits the market.
1. Do the work. especially the background work
When you’re preparing a creative concept, the work begins long before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, in most cases). It’s first getting into the mindset – understanding your client, your client’s brand, their purpose, and what the intent is behind their need. It may seem obvious, but sometimes the obvious needs to be stated: creative work takes a lot of time and patience. Not just for the creative agency, but also for the client. Consider work the client has already done. Look at all of the background material, review the strategy, and talk to any necessary parties who can help the ask make sense to you, as a creative. Then, do personal research. Understand the market, understand the competition, find a few unique ideas that extend beyond the norm and build out tactics, seeing which ones stick. There’s no right way to go about a personal, creative journey but there is a right way to do the behind-the-scenes work – the due diligence of information that leads to the right creative pathway for your client.
2. Make them believe
Once the work is done and a great idea is on the table, possibly the most important piece of the puzzle is the buy-in – and you’ll need more than one buy-in. In fact, you’ll need all the buy-in. You need to so firmly believe in your concept that everyone, from the internal folks within your own agency to the company stakeholders, begins to believe in it. You are the evangelist for the brilliant idea your team has created to solve your client’s main challenge. This is the out-of-the-box, smart-but-not-too-smart concept you’ve spent weeks working on to positively reinforce or change the public’s perception of your client and get the dynamic response they need. And you are responsible for selling that vision.
3. Maintain the vision
Through the work, the buy-in, and the logistics of the entire process – extending far beyond the creative vision itself – it’s important to consistently maintain the integrity of the overall idea until the very last detail is complete. There is a reason this specific creative concept has made it this far. Don’t let the last-minute jitters – on all sides – make the finished product just a fragment of what you initially envisioned. Maintaining a clear, cohesive vision throughout conception to reality is critical to presenting an end product that reflects the initial desire. It’s very easy to revise, revise, then critique, and revise some more until the concept is lost and the original intention is muddled. However, if you’ve done the research and can back up your work, it is easier to preserve your true idea. From one concept, a conglomeration of pieces will be executed, perhaps by individuals who haven’t seen the creative brief. Knowing and communicating your intentions, and staying true to them, will keep your idea pure and bring insight for proper execution.
When you’re in the thick of it, sometimes it can feel like your vision can’t make it to reality. But a great creative concept can survive – and even thrive – if it’s backed with knowledge, belief, and creative integrity.