Thursday July 28th, 2016

A Project Journey: The Strategic Process (Part 1)

The relationship between the agency (or individuals within the agency) and the client not only greatly influences a particular project’s outcome, but may very well set the stage for all future collaboration. Just like a personal relationship, this journey is critical to the successful navigation of any situation.

Clients that we’ve worked with over a period of time–sometimes years or even decades, from one job to another–are the best! We understand one another and appreciate what each brings to the party. It’s also true that sometimes we just have great chemistry with a client. Having an established foundation of trust enables us to make creative suggestions that push the envelope, provide truly unique solutions and drive differentiation for their brand.

For some clients, getting involved in creative, when they may not be creative themselves, can be uncomfortable. The challenge for those of us responsible for the creative solution is to ease those fears and to assure clients that there is an actual methodology in place that demystifies the process.

A creative solution is simply solving a problem. So, before we can get into the fun stuff, it’s important to gain a full understanding of a client’s goals, objectives, competition and focus for future growth. How deep or complete this understanding goes–whether it’s a full day with teams from both the client and agency, or identifying the key points in a detailed, written creative brief–can depend on many factors, but it is a critical first step.

This is the framework that will define all creative solutions. From here, create a roadmap of identifiable factors that will potentially impact the project such as target audience, competitors, brand distinctions and any other project specifics.

The creative brief should answer the following questions:

  • What is this project?

  • What is the background and competition?

  • What is the challenge or opportunity?

  • Who is the target audience and why should they care?

  • Where, when and how will it be used?

  • What is the desired impact?

  • What are the project components, deliverables and timing?

  • What is the budget?

The answer to all of these questions will provide the groundwork for both the client and the creative team to develop the most strategically effective and aesthetically pleasing solutions. Stay tuned for part 2, when we address the creative process itself.

Jean Silverstein,

Director, Design Innovation

 

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