How Clients Should Rethink The Advertising Process

How Clients Should Rethink The Advertising Process

Creative development is not an easy process. Anyone involved in it would have, at some point, experienced the sense of frustration at not being able to “crack” the brief, or the despair at watching beloved ideas being shredded to pieces by focus groups, argues Sharlene Zeederberg, director at Bedrock Insight.

But there are things both clients and agencies can do to unleash the creativity needed to develop breakthrough advertising that engages with consumers and enhances your brand.

Embrace the Iterative Nature of Creative Development

Clients need to remember that the act of creativity is an iterative process, one which requires space and freedom for exploration. It is not a linear process. It is far more chaotic and disorganised than many left-brain thinkers are comfortable with.

But the backwards and forwards approach is central to creative development. Ideas are not birthed fully formed. They need to be explored, tried, developed, reformed. New directions emerge from the ashes of old ideas.

Ideation requires sources of inspiration – lights come on from seeing things in action. Strong ideas are built through trial and error – taking learnings aboard and trying out a different expression or taking them in a new direction.

Understanding and accepting this natural creative process will help you engage with creative agencies better and give you a much better chance at developing meaningful communication with your consumers.

Develop a team mentality

It has been my observation over the past 20 years that quite often there is a sense of us and them between clients and agencies. Agencies are given a brief and expected to go away and deliver something that clients will like.

Agencies are seemingly held to account through the research process, as though the people who suggested the advertising, and not only the executions themselves, are being judged. And it is the agencies themselves who are blamed when advertising “fails” the research test.

However, the process would be better served with a team mentality. Firstly, everyone has a role to play in delivering a successful outcome. The quality of the advertising developed is a direct result of the quality of the brief and the level of understanding of the target market. Secondly, being able to access knowledge holders to ask questions and share thoughts (without it being judged) means that agencies have another source of inspiration for their ideas.

Having a partnership mentality means everyone – clients, agencies and researchers too – can pool their skills and knowledge appropriately so that creative ideas are built upon. Instead of the engagement being continually evaluative, it becomes a journey of discovery and shared development.

Single minded focus (in a human-centric voice)

Good advertising is developed from good briefs. And good briefs have sharp clarity and a single minded, consumer orientated, focus around the job the advertising is required to do.

Resist the temptation to put in everything you hope the advertising will do into your brief. Focus on the one thing you are trying to change or get people to do as a result of seeing the advertising.

And write it in a human centric voice. This is not about saying you want people to buy more of your brand. Of course you do. This is about addressing the underlying issue that is stopping people buying your brand.

It is about understanding what drives people to value the particular widgets you are selling, and tapping into this deep human truth.

At its heart, the single minded focus is the distillation of a deep understanding of your target market, brand and competitive context and the threats and opportunities on your horizon. It might seem like a one liner – but it takes a lot of work to get there. And it needs to be done before you even think about briefing a creative execution. Consider engaging your ad agency to develop the brief with you, so that you are partners in the process from the start.

Let go of the constraints

Okay, so you very concisely distilled everything you know into a single minded issue. But if you want creative advertising, you now need to scratch out the 27 bullet points that you’ve amended to the brief, laying out the rules and restrictions for the ad. If you really want the advertising to solve your problem, then you have to give your creative team the space to think and explore without continually tripping over “should-haves” and “better-nots”.

You may well come back later on and review the advertising through the prism of your corporate or brand constraints but asking them to be part of the creative development process will only hinder it.

Creative thinking requires air. Let ideas out of the box and you may just find, that in letting go of the constant restrictions, you end up in a far more energetic and rewarding space than you could have imagined.

Rethink your research process

One of the biggest issues I’ve experienced working client side is trying to force fit a linear evaluation process onto what is ultimately an iterative and very non-linear development process.

While there are clear stages that the creation of an execution will naturally pass though, using qualitative research as a gate-keeper from one stage to the next doesn’t reflect the way creative ideas are developed. Not only is it not helpful, it can quite often be destructive.

The traditional use of focus groups are often not used dynamically enough to explore and build ideas. In effect, they become testing regimes – an engagement with consumers at a static point in time , where ideas are passed or failed, rather than developed and further explored.

While having check points along the way is sensible (and we recommend quantitatively testing executions at the end of the process), if qualitative research is approached attitudinally as a transition stage rather than a developmental one, the risk is high that after a great deal of work, you can walk away from the research with nowhere to go and nothing to show for it.

Engaging with consumers creatively

Consumers can be employed more responsively, flexibly and dynamically in a way where research is not seen as judge and jury, but rather as a partner in the creative development process.

Using consumers as springboards for insight and idea development, utilising conversations with them to see what is working and how adaptations change their perceptions can all be done without the use of traditional focus groups. Immersions, consumer conversations, mini-groups, panel work, co-creation workshops, digital diaries and so on are all ways in which consumers can be employed more gainfully, and cost effectively, in the development process.

Key is building on these learnings by applying imagination techniques and the knowledge and skills we have as planners, advertisers, marketers to extend, improve and develop ideas. Through this process, poor ideas will naturally fall away while good ideas will be honed and developed giving you a better chance of achieving a successful outcome.




Please login with linkedin to comment

Development Program YouTube

Latest News

MECCA & Fendi Among Premium Advertisers For oOh!media Woollahra OOH Network Launch
  • Advertising

MECCA & Fendi Among Premium Advertisers For oOh!media Woollahra OOH Network Launch

oOh!media has today announced launch partners for the fully digital Woollahra Out of Home Street Furniture network – the first phase of oOh!’s Premium Sydney offering. Luxury brands, including JLR Australia, MECCA, and LVMH’s prestigious brands Tiffany & Co., TAG Heuer, and Fendi, are debuting across state-of-the-art LED screens. These screens are powered entirely by […]

Yahoo Academy Announces Class Of 2024
  • Marketing

Yahoo Academy Announces Class Of 2024

Yahoo is proud to announce the 30 outstanding emerging leaders who have been chosen from more than 200 entries to participate in the Yahoo Academy 2024 program. Now in its 13th year, the Yahoo Academy has a stellar track record as the industry’s leading talent-building initiative, boasting 360 graduates to date. The 2024 cohort is […]

Top 35 Media Leaders Announced For 2024 TikTok Agency Accelerator Program
  • Media

Top 35 Media Leaders Announced For 2024 TikTok Agency Accelerator Program

TikTok has announced the 35 media leaders selected to participate in the 2024 cohort of the TikTok Agency Accelerator Program. The program, which received high interest from Australian media agencies, is part of TikTok’s commitment to fostering the development of talented professionals within the Australian media industry. This year’s program centres around the concept of […]

AiMCO Announces First-Ever Diversity Webinar To Explore Inclusion In Influencer Marketing
  • Marketing

AiMCO Announces First-Ever Diversity Webinar To Explore Inclusion In Influencer Marketing

The Australian Influencer Marketing Council (AiMCO) has announced its first-ever diversity webinar for members, designed to explore inclusion in national influencer marketing campaigns. Lead image: Ellie Cole The free AiMCO webinar, to be held on April 30, will look at how brands can effectively incorporate diversity and inclusion into their influencer campaigns to resonate with […]

Anthony Ellis Promoted To CEO Of Publicis Media Exchange
  • Advertising

Anthony Ellis Promoted To CEO Of Publicis Media Exchange

Publicis Groupe Australia and New Zealand has announced the promotion of Anthony Ellis (lead image) to the new position of chief executive officer for Publicis Media Exchange (PMX) in Australia and New Zealand. As CEO of the Groupe’s media investment arm in Australia and New Zealand, Ellis will continue to drive the Groupe’s’ client-centric approach […]

Indigenous Stars 3% & Jessica Mauboy Fuel New Supercars Campaign Via WILDCARD
  • Campaigns

Indigenous Stars 3% & Jessica Mauboy Fuel New Supercars Campaign Via WILDCARD

Supercars will reveal its latest TV commercial tomorrow, featuring thrilling on-track moments as well as the 2024 Supercars anthem, Won’t Stop, by First Nations artists 3% and Jessica Mauboy. Lead image: L-R Cam Waters, Chaz Mostert, Broc Feeney. Entering its second year, the “Unforgettable” brand campaign for Supercars continues to immerse fans in all the full-throttle, adrenaline-fuelled […]

Nine Launches New Look Olympic Experience 100 Days Out From Paris 2024
  • Media

Nine Launches New Look Olympic Experience 100 Days Out From Paris 2024

With just 100 days until the Olympic Games Paris 2024, 9Now has unveiled its fresh new look and state-of-the-art upgrade, which will revolutionise the way Australians watch the Olympics and Paralympics, regardless of their device. 9Now will lead Australia into a new era of Olympic streaming with a world-class audience experience never seen before in […]

Must-Watch Marketers At Cannes In Cairns!
  • B&T Exclusive

Must-Watch Marketers At Cannes In Cairns!

With such an almighty slate of content at this year’s Cannes in Cairns, presented by Pinterest, the mind can boggle over which session to attend. When the main stage isn’t being commanded by the showstopping keynotes, there are two content tracks in the Cairns Convention Centre and new for 2024, an afternoon content track in […]

Retail Media Demands A New Organisation Dynamic
  • Opinion

Retail Media Demands A New Organisation Dynamic

Lyndall Campher, former media director at L’Oréal and group director at UM, Mindshare and MediaCom explains that retail media demands a new kind of organisational layout than traditional media. There have been a plethora of articles written about retail media, especially since the Stanley Morgan Report was released in December last year. It has been […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
News Corp & NRMA Unite For Urgent Action To Fix Notoriously Dangerous Bruce Hwy
  • Campaigns

News Corp & NRMA Unite For Urgent Action To Fix Notoriously Dangerous Bruce Hwy

News Corp Australia and NRMA Insurance have launched a major advocacy campaign, Help Our Highway, calling for urgent action to fix one of the country’s most important and notoriously dangerous roads. Lead image: Michelle Klein CCMO NRMA Queensland’s Bruce Highway stretches more than 1,670kms from Brisbane to Cairns and is a critical transportation corridor for […]

Tara Ford To Serve On Titanium Jury At Cannes Lions
  • Advertising

Tara Ford To Serve On Titanium Jury At Cannes Lions

Tara Ford, chief creative officer of The Monkeys and Accenture Song, is set to serve on the Titanium jury at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The Aussie adland legend said that she “can’t wait” to join the panel of judges and that the Award was particularly close to her heart. “Titanium is […]

“Be Like A Skunk At A Garden Party”: Author Patrick Radden Keefe On Investigating Pharma
  • Marketing

“Be Like A Skunk At A Garden Party”: Author Patrick Radden Keefe On Investigating Pharma

Patrick Radden Keefe (pictured), author of global bestseller, Empire of Pain, talked to B&T‘s Nancy Hromin at the Samsung Jaipur Literary Festival about reputation laundering, aggressive marketing strategies and the privilege of still being able to practice pure journalism and be paid for it. Keefe’s in-depth reporting in publications such as The New Yorker and […]