In my last post, I spoke of clearly defining project goals, so that brand and product introductions were executed in a manner consistent with your goals and or communications objectives. I wrote about three main points that must be present to ensure timely and on-target delivery. Those three necessary general themes include timing, creating engaging message appeal, entering markets that can support your product or brand. Within each of those themes are more specific behaviors that will assist in the clarity of the message.
Today, I’m going to speak writing a clear creative brief. Sometimes, creative comes off half cocked, because it is funny or catchy but has nothing to do with the big idea of the brand. I prefer to implement the Mission, Objectives, Strategies, Tactics (M.O.S.T.) system, when developing creative strategy.
Often times the creative process ends up being a quagmire due to competing interests and ideas about what the creative should represent, and how. A clear and detailed creative brief is a necessary tool in making sure that the creative message is integrated with the brand and the big idea of the project. Having a good creative idea means nothing if it does not support the brand and the project. You wouldn’t prepare a chicken to be grilled, get all of the grill fixin’s, and then bake it just because you found a good recipe, would you? Well, don’t do it with your creative content.
This is why M.O.S.T. is so important – because each section can systematically align outcomes with a reason and clear objective.
The first part of this acronym is Mission, and it is exactly what it says it is. The mission should be the overarching theme of the creative. More importantly, the mission should be closely aligned with overall company goals, to make sure that the creative is integrated with the general direction of the organization. I would urge you not to over think this section. It should come very easily if you know where you want to end up and/or portray with your communications. If you don’t then you should go back to the proverbial drawing board and figure out what your company “is.”
Objectives can be a little more tricky. The reason being, is that research on the subject should be undertaken, to know what kinds of objectives are reasonable. Can you reach 200,000 people with the money that you have, or can you only reach 20,000 given your media plan? That must all be taken into account, as the objectives aren’t pie in the sky hopes, but achievable necessities for you to measure success. Scope is quite important when managing expectations and defining whether or not your ideas and execution were successful or a total bust. You also need to be timely with your objectives. When should each individual item happen? Can you answer what months, days, times of day, update intervals, etc are going to affect the delivery and reception of your communications? if not, then you have a problem; you may need to see a specialist; we can work all of that out for you.
Strategies is the fun and creative part of this whole process. Let the creative ideas flow like dime beers at a campus bar!! I like to shoot out all ideas in the strategy section. As long as they are integrated with the message and executable, I say go crazy and come up with the ideas that can be game changers. Allow your creative folks to execute and bring life to the ideas that generate from focused and directed planning and thought processes. To make sure that I have thought of all strategical aspects I manage whether or not I have satisfied Overall, Promotions, Design, Price, and Investment strategies.
Finally, Tactics can be described as the strategy implementation methods. Take the big idea and make it materialize into conceptual material. I offer no hardcore “do this, don’t do that” methods for this particular section because it is the most creative and personal to your brand. I will only mention that the tactics should be naturally connected to the other three parts of the technique. If the public relations tactics for your line of eco-friendly lamps (for instance) does not support an objective that dictates reaching out to all local eco communications publications within a 200 mile radius, then you have a problem. You have a problem if it does not support the strategy to only explain the energy saving wattage if the tactic involves mentioning cost-savings, in the Penny-Saver. This is especially true if your brand image exudes eco-friendly because it is right, not because it is less expensive. The moral of the story is, if you stay consistent then you should be successful (moderately at least) with reaching your objectives.
What strategy do you use, when it comes to creative development and implementation?