Balancing Creativity and Strategy
By Emily Robertson, Creative Director, Spring 2019
Creative work can be eye-catching. Visually aesthetic. Never seen before. However, creative pieces in the communications agency will never be effective if they aren't data or insight-driven. Through conducting and analyzing research, industry professionals can learn how their target audience engages with content and what message will best appeal to them so they take action. However, balancing data and creative can become a struggle - especially when the creative team has a vision that looks great but won't connect with consumers and when the strategy team has so much data that the creative team becomes restricted in their creative freedom.
So how can the strategy and creative teams come together and both be satisfied with the work? The strategists need to find the most important, core insight that will drive the campaign and relate to the target audience. They need to nail down what the single most important thing is to say about the product or brand. If the insight is true and powerful, then the connection to the target audience will be there. A good insight should be so clear and understandable, that the creative team will be able to run with it. As a further plus, if the single most important thing to say can be creatively visualized in many different ways, then the creative team will feel less constricted.
It’s important to let the creative team come up with as many ideas as possible, before shooting them down immediately because they “aren’t on strategy.” Perhaps they’re seeing something the strategy team isn’t. Let them fully explain their reasoning and creative execution. Then the strategy team should refer to the creative brief to make sure the creative work aligns with the client’s goals. However, if there continuously seems to be a missed mark with strategy and creative, then the strategy department needs to look back at the brief and ensure it is clear and succinct.
There’s a delicate balance that must be achieved between the creatives and strategists. The campaign will suffer if either is lacking or misaligned. Here are some tips to ensure successful, data-driven creative work:
Write a clear, succinct brief with only the most relevant information
Include creatives, strategists, and other diverse thinkers in the brainstorming sessions
Let the creative team brainstorm and find connections through all their ideas
Continuously refer back to the creative brief to make sure the big, main idea is still present
Be flexible - the creative team may discover something the strategy team may not have thought about before, environmental factors such as trends or world events may change to make ideas more relevant than others, and budgets or timelines may shift
Be bold with the creative execution.