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Toolkit: The Creative Process

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Learn how to manage the creative process, and how to work with agencies. Briefs, Brainstorming, Concept/Mood Boards, Creative Presentation

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Toolkit: The Creative Process

  1. 1. August | 2014 Tool Kit The Creative Process Working with your agencies
  2. 2. introduction Think Blink At Shikatani Lacroix, we design compelling at-purchase moments that connect in the blink of an eye. Our philosophy and strategic design approach, Think Blink, is driven by a consumer’s motivation to make a purchase decision. Everything we do is geared to owning the “at-purchase” moment. Our firm has a well-earned reputation for designing integrated brand experiences that effectively connect brands with consumers to drive measurable results for clients. !! About the author Brendon Sargent, Senior Account Manager Shikatani Lacroix As a Senior Account Manager at Shikatani Lacroix, Brendon oversees packaging projects for clients such as PepsiCo and Moosehead. Brendon has extensive account management and strategic experience in the areas of design, digital (web, mobile and social media), print, retail, packaging, OOH, radio, sponsorship, sports marketing, and events. Prior to joining Shikatani Lacroix, Brendon managed accounts for top-tier brands, such as Stella Artois, Visa and P&G, at Grip Limited and GMR Marketing. | The Creative Process | Toolkit | August 26, 2014 2
  3. 3. introduction You want nothing more than to build the perfect creative brief for your new project. So, you meet with your agency and share your business objectives, your deepest consumer insights, the challenges, and your creative vision. The agency takes it away and comes back weeks later with something stunningly beautiful. However, it’s not what you asked for. How is this possible? ! The creative mind is an interesting place. If you ask a group of individuals to each draw a house, you’re guaranteed to get very different results from each person; some might draw a traditional colonial house, while others might draw an extravagant castle. It’s not to say that the castle was the wrong answer—it just may not have been what you were looking for. However, if there existed a process between Point A, asking them to draw the house and Point B, presenting the drawing, the result would be much more specific and more consistent. Similarly, this thinking can be translated to the creative process when you work with your agency. !!!!! | The Creative Process | Toolkit | August 26, 2014 3
  4. 4. part one Brief 1) Be specific. The word “innovative” gets thrown around a lot, but everyone has a different interpretation of what it really translates into within the project scope. The “I-word” can make the creative team cringe. You don’t know how many times they have brainstormed and presented something truly innovative, only to learn that they have pushed it beyond a client’s comfort zone. ! 2) Give examples. Don’t be afraid to look at what your competition has been doing well. It’s the agency’s job to know how far they need to take it, but the more you direct them now, the happier you’re going to be with the result. ! 3) Be communicative. The creative team should always be in attendance to every briefing. Remember the game Broken Telephone? No matter how tightly the meeting minutes are kept, there are always details that are missed and you can’t convey enthusiasm on paper or via email. Passion and excitement cannot be transferred to the team via osmosis. You can’t argue science, so keep the semi-permeable membranes to a minimum. ! 4) Make it an event. If you’re briefing for a minor tweak to an existing creative, this may not be necessary, but if this is your biggest push of the year, make it known. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate, off-site meeting with food and cocktails (albeit those are the briefs I still remember years later), but show the agency you put thought into it. The more you show you care, the more they will care. See above for rules of excitement transfer. | The Creative Process | Toolkit | August 26, 2014 4
  5. 5. Brainstorming Not every project requires a big, formal brainstorming meeting complete with beer, snacks, sticky notes and scribblings all over the walls, but when it is required, you should be there. Not only is it the perfect time to share your ideas and contribute to the end product, but it also keeps the agency on track. Below find some tips on preparing for a successful brainstorming session: ! 1) Before the brainstorm, help the agency define the objectives. Remember, you only briefed a small team and we’ll probably bring in other individuals to ensure diversity of thinking. It will also help the rest of the team get to know you. We want everyone to feel like we’re working with you, not for you. This will also allow for some of those out-there ideas that might be home runs. ! 2) Don’t be the idea killer. Sometimes the shred of an idea can trigger another which triggers another. Just because the first one isn’t a winner, it can still lead the process along a path that can be hugely successful. At the end, we’ll recap and prioritize all of the ideas and discuss which should be further explored. You’ll be a part of that discussion, so only the ones you want to explore will rise to the top. ! 3) Trust us—we’ve done this before. Sometimes the process can be frustrating and you might feel out of control, but we know what we’re doing. It’s supposed to be fun, and sometimes a little goofing off helps. Join in. Who knows, you might like it? part two | The Creative Process | Toolkit | August 26, 2014 5
  6. 6. part three Concept/Mood Boards This is an often-skipped phase in the creative process, but it can be one of the most important. This can save weeks of working in the wrong direction. It also allows for more input that would be tough to implement further down the line, and it often puts the client’s mind at ease. If you know what to expect during the creative presentation, you’ll be less concerned with, “What if I don’t like it?” or, “Are we going to make the timelines?” or worse, “What if my superiors don’t like it?” ! Behind closed doors, the agency is turning nuggets of a concept into a fully blown-out idea. During this stage, they’re thinking about how it this will translate into the creative space. Colours, typography, photography, style—this is all being considered. This is the creative team’s interpretation of what you’re looking for. Now, here’s the fun part: what if you could take a peek into this thinking to make sure they are on the right track? While it involves a little extra work to make this thinking “client-ready,” it’s worth it. Depending on the project, you might see pages of images, type and colour usage. Or you might see examples of other in-market ideas to show trends. Or, it might just be a montage of images pulled from Google to help depict the story. Regardless of how it’s displayed, this is when you get a chance to stop them in their tracks, or encourage them to take it even further. ! Note: Although it’s risky, the creative teams sometimes dislike this part because they like the big “reveal” at the end. Show-offs! However, if you have great chemistry with your agency, this stage can be skipped. | The Creative Process | Toolkit | August 26, 2014 6
  7. 7. part four Creative Presentation This is the logical next step in the process, and one which needs little explanation. This is when you see everything come together. If the process went smoothly, there should be no surprises here. Sometimes, if the project is big enough, this may be split into a series of presentations. Perhaps the first presentation is more high level to show how the idea would come to life, and a second presentation might take that idea and roll it out to all touch-points. These presentations would of course be bracketed around your feedback. | The Creative Process | Toolkit | August 26, 2014 7
  8. 8. conclusion ! While every agency has its process, there’s certainly no right way or wrong way. Sure, they have each had their successes, but the road to that win may not have been as smooth as you/ they would have liked. At the end of the day, it should be a collaborative process between the client and the agency, resulting in fewer conflicts and better work. | The Creative Process | Toolkit | August 26, 2014 8

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