Sunday, August 30, 2009

Anti-decorators unite.

Creative strategy is the elusive element in the marketing business model. Sometimes it's right in front of us. Other times it requires an extensive search party, GPS equipment, and state-of-the-art tracking devices to locate its whereabouts. Account executives and time sheets hate this part of the process. Either way, when the big idea comes together it's exhilarating (and hopefully sooner than later says our CFO).

The longer you work in this business, the more adept you get at making new conceptual connections faster. I tend to bombard myself with information which at some point surfaces and restructures into a cohesive thought. Though I'm an art director, I have no interest in designing something cool if it has no message or meaning. I've never wanted to be a "decorator." Today brand participation and connection are the end goals. Pretty pictures and sick graphic elements alone are not going to get that done. It's not so much the how, it's the why that matters most. However, it still should be cool. Just meaningfully cool. Here are some of the angles I start with (ever-changing and in no particular order):

1. Finding, embracing, and celebrating a core brand truth (good or bad, it's all in how you spin it)

2. Creating a sense of escapism

3. Connecting emotionally or through nostalgia (experiential experience)

4. Cultivating a belief system or "club" that people want to be part of

5. Anything that encourages brand participation, gets people talking, or works its way into pop culture. A stunt, an inside joke, a movement or initiative, a good deed, etc.

6. Whatever you think, think the opposite (Paul Arden says it best)

7. Work as a team. Copywriter meet art director and vice versa.

8. Procrastination, distraction, and reevaluation. Sounds odd, but sometimes you need to step away and come back. If I get locked into an idea too early, it's harder to change direction. Speaking of procrastination, I need to get back to what I'm working on and stop with the blogging.

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