Six Steps to a Successful Creative: Part VI

6.  Creative is technique.

While the fire of a new idea may seem hot in your own mind, translating that to audiences is challenging. Percy Shelley, a poet, described success as starting from the fire and at best delivering the reader an ember still hot with the fire. You aren’t able to mind meld with your audience to convey your feelings about your products or your organization. You have to convey those feelings through story, imagery, and sound.  Audiences consume your creation through a medium or artifice.  Being a master of the medium, from oil painting to video editing, enables you to convey your ideas in a much more visceral, impactful way. If you are a master of anything, what you’ve really mastered is technique.

There are many, many ways to tell the same story. The Creative uses technique and artifice to capture the story in the best way. If the creative is limited in technique, be that writing, filming or, animation, the content will be limited and you won’t be able to convey the heat of the original idea to them. The ability to use a camera to create a beautiful image or a computer to generate a compelling animation relies on an expertise in technique.

Technology has put almost limitless tools in the hands of Creatives and innovators have brought the cost of these tools down so anyone can use them. All the digital special effects in the original Jurassic Park can now be done on a standard Macbook Pro. However, just because you are great at technique doesn’t mean you are an effective Creative.  The art of creative is using technique to communicate the experience of that initial fire of an idea to your audience.

What technical capabilities does your Creative team possess?  Are they using technique to convey ideas, or simply to demonstrate technical complexity?

So often the Creatives are the youngest, least compensated people on staff. There are a variety of reasons for this, but I think one of them is simply because businesspeople don’t understand the value they add and work they bring. Young Creatives do have a common cultural experience with younger audiences, often the target of marketing. However, they do not possess the library of creative or judgment of an experienced screenwriter. Those things are valuable and cost money. The most successful creative combines youth with experienced taste and judgment.

You want Creatives that are well versed in all aspects of cultural expression – which is why you should tolerate the Yoda figurines on their desks.

Six Steps to a Successful Creative: Part V

5. Creative is nonlinear.

This is why many think of creative as magic. Everyone has had the experience of the light bulb going off. Inspiration seems to come when you least expect it, delivered by the imagination, which is driven by the subconscious. But in fact, great creatives understand how the imagination works, how to put the right research material into their minds to generate an idea tailored to move their specific audience.

You want your audience to have that light bulb moment as well. Part of the art of creative is recreating that “aha” moment for your audience using narrative technique.

Is your creative driven by jargon, ideology, or rationalism and logic?  
Or, is it driven by metaphor and common experiences?  
Does your audience have to reason through your video to get it?  
Or do they experience it like watching a movie and putting themselves in the position of the characters?

Six Steps to a Successful Creative: Part IV

4. Creative is a collaboration with the audience.

How can you tell a story that chills your audience to the bone when you look out at the campfire and see no one there? Great storytellers begin by understanding the audience: their expectations, their experiences, their desires, their fears, what they have found funny in the past.  Creative for no audience brings us back to nonsense.

Everyone is not an audience.  Everyone means no one. Your audience, or audiences, must be specific. I’ll cover audience in a later post, but for now, if your Creative doesn’t know who your audience is, that’s a problem you must address.  

Do you know your audience?  
Can you describe them in concrete terms?  
Do you know what they like, what they want, what they need?