Having a baby can be an incredibly challenging and exhausting process. As a disclaimer, I admit I have only witnessed this phenomenon — not actually experienced it.
But that said, I feel pretty safe in saying that in the vast majority of cases, the person going through the childbirth process is pretty satisfied with the result, a.k.a. the baby.
Nowhere near the level of having a baby — but similar in the concept of suffering for a good result — is the creative process.
When you must develop and produce something creative — such as a marketing campaign, a commercial, ad, brand name, strategy, blog and/or a presentation of some or all of these — it definitely can take a lot out of you. Even if it doesn’t come out that good, but especially if does.
Now, coming across an idea in the shower and running with it, that’s a different story. That’s easier — but most of the time, the subject matter is dictated by the product or service you must sell.
So what does it take to come up with creative marketing? The song “Remember the Name” by Fort Minor says it best: “Ten percent luck, twenty percent skill, fifteen percent concentrated power of will, five percent pleasure, fifty percent pain.”
For me, it’s always been about the “concentrated power of will.” I was diagnosed with adult ADD more than 20 years ago, so when I sit down to write, I think of 20 other things that need done. Buy a birthday gift online, send a funny meme to my co-workers, get something to eat, take a nap and so on.
But once I’m properly medicated, caffeinated and focused, I find there are really just a few steps that make the creative process easier — and more importantly, lead to a better, more effective result. Any successful promotions I’ve produced — my hits, home runs and highlights — all came from the following process.
Every successful campaign, TV spot, rebranding or related effort I have ever undertaken was preceded by sucking up every ounce of information that was available about the client, project, their market, their product, service, staff, process, etc. Anything not immediately available is researched, questioned and examined.
Find The Nut.
Look for the problem you’re solving — perhaps one that has been overlooked. That’s the acorn in the snowstorm you’re searching for. Then try to explain how you solve it in a unique, attention-getting, fun or dramatic way. That’s the message and the promise. Remember, the unique message and promise must be important to the target market.
See It, Hear It, Feel It.
Executing a creative vision will need to be covered in a future column, but that’s the least of your problems if you can’t come up with a creative vision in the first place.
Developing a creative vision takes practice. It does come easier to some than others, but we can all develop this skill to some extent.
Look for creative events in your surroundings. Things in sync to music, or just to a rhythm track in your head — windshield wipers on your car, those next to you and across from you at a red light all going the same way at the same time. A group of ducks walking.
What sights and sounds attract you? Use those as a starting point for developing your creative vision. Adapt your unique answer to the problem that is being solved, and you’ve got a good start on the creative process.