Thursday, February 5, 2015

It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, what markets you serve, or what goal you are seeking to achieve; the think-through process has the same creative critical point.

Are you creating a new brand? Are you implementing new web design and web development? Are you rolling out a promotional campaign or targeting a specific audience for an exact call to action? The process is the same.

The problem-solving process in internet marketing communications goes through phases much like any other process. There is, however an identifiable key juncture where the strategy culminates, the creative is most intense and the implementation takes root. At archer, we call this the creative critical point; and the better it is realized and adhered to, the more impactful it can be.

Let’s look at the overall process cycle.

The first step is DISCOVERY, when information and expertise are assembled. Intelligent and thorough solutions depend on this step. Discovery is, in some ways, the most important step because it establishes what needs to be considered.

With knowledge and expertise on hand, the second step is STRATEGY. This step is vital to create great results. Noteworthy homes and buildings are not just built—they go through strategic consideration by architects. In internet marketing, the architects are experienced specialists who work together to craft a communications strategy. They solve goals and, ideally, extend those goals to accommodate additional opportunities.

IMPLEMENTATION is the third step in this problem-solving cycle. It involves executing the strategy through a combination of tactics. This is where the term “integrated marketing” derives its name. An effective combination of inter-supportive tactics can reinforce messaging and dynamically multiply the results. Adhering to the strategy is important for generating consistent and memorable digital campaigns.

Once implementation is underway, the fourth step is to ANALYZE your efforts. Google analytics, social media and other tools enable the exact and extensive reviews of internet usage. Customer feedback and surveys are additional ways to gage response, while the ultimate measure for many businesses is an increase in the number of sales or leads.
Analyzing results is also the first step toward rediscovery. When you are reviewing results, you are beginning the discovery step again and the process spirals around.

So where is the creative critical point?

The creative critical point is where the strategy—which pares down all input available to an essential game plan, meets implementation—which executes the game plan through tactics. Traditionally, a creative brief is set up to capture the salient aspects of the creative critical point.

CREATIVE is not as much a unique step as it is an open-minded energy you sustain throughout the process—from discovery through rediscovery. However, creative thinking is not equally applied. It builds during the strategic process, and once a strategic plan is developed, creative thinking reaches its critical peak.

It is at this same point that the implementation begins with a full range of possible directions. As the creative implementation unfolds, guidelines become more firmly established, and the creativity becomes more regimented to the direction established. Hence, creative thinking becomes less critical through the implementation step.

From a practical cost perspective, the critical creative point is also decisive. Any attempt to change the creative emphasis as the implementation is unfolding can undo what has already been done, resulting in potentially expensive revisions.

At Archer, we encourage you to know where the critical creative point is in the development of your digital marketing endeavor. It helps align resources and decisions and increases the likelihood of a successful outcome.