Is creative good? Is it bad?
Leave the question of whether you personally like it or not to the man on the street.
There’s a saying that advertisers get what they deserve. The result of any creativity will hinge on the original brief. It’s success is not whether or not you ‘like’ it, but rather how it answers the brief.
10 steps to assess creativity
Use the following to help you look at ideas, think about them, discuss them and come to decisions.
1. Be knowledgeable in advance
To assess ideas you need to be able to place them in a broader context and compare them against ideas you have seen elsewhere and considered ‘good’ or ‘bad’. The more creative ideas you look at, the more informed you become.
Review as many ideas that are relevant to your sector as possible so you can avoid imitation and be distinctive.
2. Come to the meeting with a smile
For sound business reasons, join the creative presentation hoping to enjoy yourself and ready to be inspired. When people are having fun, they listen and contribute.
Who should come to the presentation on the client side? Ideally, the person who wrote and signed off the brief.
3. Back to the Brief
Reminding yourself of the brief is essential. It provides you with a framework against which to evaluate the idea. Make sure the agency does this too before they present.
Because you hold the budgets, you have power. Be careful how you wield it. Have empathy for your consumer too.
Is it on brief?; What exactly is the idea?; What sort of an idea is it?; What sort of an execution is it?; How is the idea going to work?
6. Question yourself
Concentrate on the work objectively rather than subjectively When you assess an idea, you will also be weighing up the risks. Not just to the brand and the budget, but to your career prospects.
7. Question the idea
Creative appraisal is a test of communication skills. The clients who know how to use open questions are those who end up with great work, because they encourage ideas to develop.
Open questions start with Who? What? Why? Where? How? When? They involve and stimulate. They tease out explanations.
Your agency will want immediate feedback. Tell them what you feel, but resist a verdict.
When you have thought about it, give your considered assessment - in writing.
The feedback should be: Honest, Objective, Detailed, Constructive
If your feedback is supportive of the process, even if not of the idea itself, the outcome can still be positive.
If you are rejecting the idea, be clear as to why. Is it off brief? Is it unoriginal? Is it unaffordable? Will your legal department have problems with it? Is it dislikeable?
In rejecting the idea are you also rejecting the strategy? If this is the case, then you may well have to go back and write a new brief.
These are the WHY questions. The first is, Why change anything? And if you really do want to make changes, will your small changes actually make a big difference? If not, don’t make them.
You’ve done everything you can to help the idea survive and develop. Changes have been made - through consensus.
There is every reason to believe the idea will be a success. If it does turn out to meet all its objectives, both hard and soft, celebrate.
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