The secret to developing powerful creative

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG /

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG /

Whether you are creating a print ad or any other type of advertising, you want to not only immediately grab the attention of your audience, but also get them to quickly understand what you want them to feel, think or actually do. Here are a few steps to put on you the track to success:

Start with a creative brief
In order to generate great creative, you need to put in some thought before you begin.  It all starts with the creative brief.  You can find many forms online for creative briefs.  The brief is basically a roadmap that will help the creative team deliver outstanding work.

First, you need to succinctly articulate your objectives and how you are going to measure your performance. The brief should also define your target audience in as much detail as possible.  It also needs to describe the competitive landscape, positioning and explain why your product or service is better than the competition.  When you are ready to evaluate the creative product, you’ll find it easier to see if it meets the objectives once you have a well-written brief.

Talk benefits, not features
You have to convey the benefits to the customer.  Depending on the execution, the features maybe included, but you have to translate those into how you will make your target customer’s life easier or better.   And you have to make the benefits obvious to the consumer.

A good example of this was an ad Crest did a couple of years ago for their 3D White product.  The ad displayed an image of a woman with a beautiful white smile. The headline was “Heads Will Turn” followed by the subhead “Whiter Smile in 1 Day.” Of course the ad included a product shot as well.

Keep it short and simple
People don’t have the time anymore. I admittedly skim much of what I read unless it’s a real page-turner.  Use an interesting visual, but show the product or service and display the benefit. If the visual had to stand on its own with no copy, would it work? In print, the headline has to connect to the visual as well.

One of the top ads in 2011, according to Ad Age, was an American Airlines ad. The headline was “Get the 411 on your 737” and the accompanying visual was a mobile device showing a mobile app that invited readers to check gates, times, fares, etc.  Extremely simple and void of long copy.

A creative brief is just that… brief.  But once you sit down to write it, it will force you to think through the key components that will lead to great creative work.  I’ll end on that, in the spirit of keeping this post, well uh brief.


Categories: Branding, Marketing, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , ,

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