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Give lucid statements to strong ideas

At the risk of dating myself, I’ve been in the business of creative production for some 30 years. Over those years I’ve seen astounding changes in the framework from which we go about producing that thing we call “creative,” an all-encompassing noun that includes, well, everything that’s created for advertising and promotion. The mechanics we use to churn out creative—technology, systems, resources—have evolved so dramatically that the way we did things even a few years ago now seems laughably quaint. It was slow, expensive and time consuming, but it’s all we had.

Today, technology has advanced the mechanical process of creative production to warp speed. What used to take days to produce can now be completed in a matter of minutes. There is no question that technology has spectacularly changed the way we execute creative. What hasn’t changed is the objective behind the execution and the basic process of bringing that to life. Regardless of the medium you’re using to deliver your selling message, the nature of the product or service you’re promoting, or the technology in place to produce the advertising material, there is one underlying purpose that remains constant:

Give lucid statements to strong ideas.

This is my mantra, bequeathed to me by my first mentor. And while the years have rendered the old mechanics of execution obsolete, this core principal remains timeless.

A strong idea provides the foundation of any advertisement, regardless of the medium in which it’s delivered. And strong ideas can only have their genesis in a well-conceived strategic plan, which can only originate from a strong business plan. It sounds like a lot of work and it is, but without roots in a solid strategy, creative ideas are just leaves blowing in the wind. They’re pretty and cool to look at, but eventually their only real value is in the mulch they eventually produce.

With a strong idea you have the foundation of your persuasive communication. Which must then be articulated in a persuasive and compelling way. That means understanding your target audience and what problem they are trying to solve, getting their attention, explaining succinctly how you are going to solve that problem, and making a clear call to action. It’s Advertising 101, but its proper execution is predicated on Marketing 101.

A strong idea that is weakly communicated remains an insubstantial blob of unrealized potential. Conversely, a weak idea that is brilliantly communicated becomes a deadly mass of unmet promises.

Whatever the product or service you’re marketing through creative communications, begin with a strong idea that can only come from a strategic marketing plan. Then give that idea lucidity in your chosen media by using a creative brief to drive out features and benefits, speak the language that resonates with your target market, and craft a compelling call to action.

More on the use of a creative brief in my next blog . . .

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