Where the heck is that idea?!
Ideas are our tools of the trade, just like the screw wrench that enables the plumber to get his work done, they are our added value and they differ us from other industries and other agencies. An idea is (or should be) the foundation of every creative solution to our client’s problem, i.e. to boost the sales, introduce a new product or service, tell something new about the client. The idea is a thing we need before the power to turn our Macs on.
And with this text I would like to show, where all the invisible hours hide, and to bust two myths: the first saying that ideas come from an inspiration, which only the chosen few have (maybe even with the help of illegal drugs), and the second saying that you can run out of ideas. None of them are true.
To get an idea for an ad, a campaign or a communication strategy, we need to do our homework first - study the brief, the client and his competition, see what has already been done in the field (to not come up with the same thing), and to gather all the information we can get directly from the client and through the research on the web.
We try to combine specific data about the product, service or the company with our education and knowledge about life (the Universe and everything).
In the second stage our brain digests the information we gathered (studying the advertising subject and life), and that’s the time, that our work is invisible. It’s the unit that’s easy to evaluate financially, but hard to explain to the client. Creatives sometimes seem somewhat absent during this stage.
Soon unorganized bits of ideas start appearing, we need to write (or sketch if we come from a visual background) them down, but show them to no one. Sometimes we start losing hope, trying to get all the pieces of the puzzle together, but that’s the stage we shouldn’t give up, or we’ll never get to the next stage, to the so-called incubation: where we need to let go of everything, have a beer or start working on another project. Anything, just as long as we don’t touch the problem we’ve been working on - not even with a stick. Why? To leave our subconscious do the job.
If we really worked hard in previous stages, if we really did our job, then all of the sudden, when least expected, the idea will pop out - Heureka! That’s the illumination.
That’s the moment when real work begins, the one that gets noticed by our co-workers - we show them the idea. If it has the solid foundation, if it’s good, than the team members will recognize it and contribute to it, if not it will fall apart. The team will bring the idea to life in the fifth stage - the team will translate it into an integrated campaign with a TV ad, print and radio ads, guerrilla interventions and Social Media posts, and the client will start counting money.
Let me point out, that I believe in the existence of the so-called creative muscle. It can be built just like bicepses or tricepses. The more you think, the more ideas you generate. The more ideas you generate, the more your brain is trained to generate new ones.