I’m constantly thinking about the creative brief and how to get it righterer.
I’ve written about my approach here on the notion of collaboration and the blank page one page brief
To me the planner’s role in giving a creative brief to a team is to tell team a the story, set up the protagonist/ the consumer, outline their obstacle and the part you have for them- the hero.
Give your story a beginning a middle and end. Allow the team to collaborate with you as you tell the story.
and shared Jasmine Cheng’s delightful exploration here (and whoop! it’s had +125,000 views since it got published).
I need to change it up again as I’m doing far less campaigns and far more service design projects. Far. More.
Building the bridge between a brand’s promise and it’s practice is kinda awesome and shifts the game from defining what you want to say to designing what you want people to do. It’s real, it really changes things, it’s difficult but not hard. It makes sense to me, and that’s my challenge because I need it to make sense to other people.
And a creative brief just doesn’t quite cut it. There are many reasons why. The diagnosis and the remedy are still very close bedfellows but you’re writing a solution for a stage, with scripts and blocking for the actors. It needs to be rehearsed and built by collaboration. It must have the space to be fueled by improv and deliver a sense of ownership to each and every player. And it must fundamentally delight audiences.
I came across this exploration Birdman: Writing A Screenplay Is Like Writing a Poem
“you need to write.. so that…every moment is so perfectly placed, so carefully visualized and realized on the page that anyone who reads it will immediately know: “Yes, I know this can to work. I know this can work because I saw it and I felt it and I imagined it and I heard it play…in my head as if it were real. I know it work because I’ve already seen it happen in my mind.”
There’s some great thinking there about balancing out ego and the need to tell the truth, exploring how to externalize the internal obstacles that you see and creating that safety net (for both the budget and the creatives) where you’ve really worked as hard as you can to ‘fix it on the page’.
I loved this:
we do need to strike that balance between the part of ourselves that wants to say something authentic and the part that needs to succeed. We also need to strike that balance between writing (what’s in) our hearts and shaping into a form that other people can understand.
Both our form and our function can work together to accomplish that goal to tell a true story in a true way, in a way that other people can connect to. And in a way that can get people in seats to see the story you’re trying to tell.
More than anything this piece is a call to action to write and re-write. The coolest thing about service design projects is that you shift from a six week cycle to at least a six month cycle. You need to think and re think the task, the tools and how the teams collaborate. I’m thinking that is time for a shift from a brief to a script.
Interesting to compare FastCo’s 25 Predictions of what marketing will look like in 2020 to the recent work by the The Economist Intelligence Unit.
Both spoke with marketing visionaries around the world and posed essentially the same question: “The world of marketers today has changed drastically from what it was ten years ago. What will it be like in 2020? And what do marketers need to forge a winning career path over the next five years?”
There is a bunch of great stuff in each report but I’m just looking at ‘what counts’ vs ‘what can be counted’.
FactCo’s short and sweet thought:
Metrics are all over the place. We had page views (which was essentially like tracking escalator use at a department store—i.e., how many times people had to do a thing that’s basically inconvenient), Facebook Likes (which are now of no lasting utility), video views (now an indicator primarily of paid investment), and click-through rates (which still fail to discern quality of traffic). None of them are good. Even engagement rates and dwell times are slippery. We are still yet to settle on a metric that is fit for purpose; one that is easily repeatable, undeniably valuable, demonstrably linked to ultimate effectiveness. I can’t help but feel that when we do, when we’re able to say, “Yes it achieved 19, and our benchmark is 12,” and we know for sure that means it worked, then we will be in a transformed place. Surely. Surely it’s going to happen soon.
Alex Hesz, director of digital, adam&eveDDB FastCo’s 25 Predictions of what marketing will look like in 2020
The more indepth EIU:
1. It’s all about engagement
Seth Godin believes that marketers who are serious about engaging the customer recognise that the most valuable moments are when the customer is actually in touch with you: using your product, on the phone with you, reading your content. If you are able to address your customers’ needs during those moments—rather than put them on hold while telling them how important their call is—you’re going to get engagement.
2. Get your own house in order.
An asset is an investment that generates value in the form of return on investment (ROI). Engaged customers fit the definition of an asset, but marketers often complain that their CFOs resist the idea of engagement as an asset worth investing in.
In fact, these marketers are wrong: the problem is one of data, logic and presentation. Many marketers don’t fully understand what drives engagement—and therefore they can’t present it in a compelling way to the CFO. “If you can quantify engagement, any CFO in the world will pay attention,” says Jim Stengel. And not just pay attention, but jump in and ask, “How can I help?” Too many marketers don’t understand what makes their company preferred over others.
3. Harden the soft.
Of all the factors that drive engagement, the most important may be a culture of customer centricity. Culture is often mistakenly considered to be a soft concept. It is a big concept, but it is not a soft one: it can be broken down into a very specific set of values and activities that are mirrored in incentives, salaries and promotions. Customer engagement needs to play a central role in the organisation’s culture. Otherwise the business will not be sustainable.
4. Passion trumps everything
John Hagel argues that passion is the single element most critical to success in marketing. Passion enables executives to put themselves in the customer’s shoes and advocate for the customer inside the organisation. It is not always a comfortable role. It requires confidence and courage. But in the end, passion determines whether or not a marketer is successful.
“If you have a passionate commitment to make an impact on the customer by being more and more helpful to them, you will either develop the skills yourself or you will find ways to connect to the skills wherever they reside,” says Hagel. “It may be in other functions within the organisation. It may be in third parties. If you have the passion, you will find a way.”
This same team (The Economist Intelligence Unit) has written a cracking report about the urgent need to restructure marketing to better support business. There’s thirty pages of goodness- but I’m really just focussing on two of their identified trends that need urgent change and support:
A broader view of customer experience: positive customer experience across all touchpoints is increasingly seen as a company’s most valuable asset. And, more than any other function, marketing is responsible for managing it across the customer life cycle and across channels, from initial awareness through loyalty and advocacy.The customer experience is increasingly seen as a key to competitive advantage in every industry. Slightly more than one-third of marketers polled say they are responsible for managing the customer experience today. However, over the next three to five years, 75% of marketers say they will be responsible for the end-to-end experience over the customer’s lifetimeMetrics for revenue and engagement: Effectiveness trumps efficiency, especially in a time of rapid change. Metrics will become broader and more comprehensive, focusing on top-line revenue and overall engagement more than efficiency and brand awareness.
It feels like the mapping marketing landscape of the next 25 years or even the next 5 can be nothing more than trying to see a mythical realm. Even Sir Isaac Newton attributed his success to standing upon the shoulders of giants. I’d like to think that if we can help marketers move from counting beans to planting magic ones that the future may just be fantastical indeed.