A year ago, if you had asked me if I was a creative person, I would have a, “Oh, I’m not creative.” The same is not true today.
When I recently applied to a Master’s program, I had to complete a creativity test. I must have written over 20 university exams but the thought of having someone test my creativity was terrifying. I asked our Creative Director Tom Megginson to give me some insights on what creativity meant to him. The words still ring in my ear today, “It’s about looking at a problem from all possible angles and finding the best solution.” What this meant was that I didn’t have to know how to decipher music, paint a picture or design an advertisement to be creative – this meant I could use my analytical approach to problem-solving to help create solutions.
In agencies, clients often refer to “the creative” as the visual element or material that will help achieve their end goal. A logo, a website design, a print ad, even a TV commercial – we are often left with the notion that “creative” is completed by a group of designers and copywriters, and no one else.
What many clients don’t know is that the creative starts miles before the pamphlet, the web banner or the radio script. It starts at the first meeting. The meeting when our clients describe the problems they are facing, the growth they desire and the solution that they need. At this point, the client services team will ask questions. Probing to determine the root of the problem and the objectives that will help overcome this problem requires creativity. You must be innovative when you consider all facets of the problem in order to have an in-depth understanding.
Creativity lies not only in problem-solving, but also in solutions. For example, a company may think it needs a website to disseminate information, when in fact, it is better off with a shareable infographic that offers conversational information in a clear and precise manner. Strategic thinking may not be visually pleasing, but trust me, it’s effective.
Next time someone asks you if you are creative, keep these three points in mind:
- Creativity is needed at every level of the project – from defining the problem to trafficking the ad and everything in between
- Creativity can be applied to leverage each element of the marketing mix – it is not just about product or promotion
- Creativity in marketing strategy must not be disconnected from its execution