How To Develop A Creative Project Like An Ad Agency Does It

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“Are you a marketing or public relations professional? An artist or writer? A freelance web designer or web promotions specialist? Maybe you are freelancing on your own, self-employed and need to brainstorm ideas on how to proceed with a current project. Or perhaps you already work for a company, but your team needs a fresh new method of team working and partaking in the creative idea generation process.

If you need to jumpstart your creativity or brainstorm for a project for your job, try doing it the ad agency way. Advertising agencies have a group of creative artists and directors who work together to create fresh, innovative ads with captivating visuals and intelligent, persuasive copy. Do you think these ad agencies come up with their infamous, world-renowned taglines because one creative director sitting at his desk decided on the hit slogan all by himself? Absolutely not. In creative environments, when creativity is crucial to developing a project, theme, or concept, the more input the better. It is not to say that a single creative artist could not come up with a winning advertisement, but the entire essence of the project itself will be better comprehended by everyone involved if a team effort is employed. When seven to twelve creative artists are sitting in one room together, all focusing their creative energy towards the same given result, amazing things can happen. The technique of using a small group of like-minded creative artists to bounce ideas off of each other is one of the main factors that contributes to the success of such famous ad agencies as Arnold Worldwide and Hill Holliday. When the group has open communication in addition to a lack of censorship and a strong creative background, an idea can evolve to no end.

Try this:
Get a group of creative individuals together who are all interested in helping you with the given project you have. Sit in a circular formation and designate one person to take notes (or more accurately, “jot down random words”) on a flip chart/easel. Start by stating the goal you wish to achieve or the theme you wish to convey. Let’s say for instance you want to make a tagline for your client’s new company, Pizza Palace. If everyone involved does not know as much as you do regarding the client’s intended image of this company or the culture and mood that he or she wishes the new venue to evoke, it is imperative that you fill them in before the brainstorming process begins. A prepared outline on printed sheets to pass out would be ideal for them to refer to. Now, once everyone is on the same page, begin the creative brainstorming process ad agency style by breaking the ice. Call out a slogan, anything, the first words that come to mind when you think of Pizza Palace. There are no rules to this and if the people you are working with understand this creative process and are creative professionals themselves they will not judge you or laugh, for often times it is the silly suggestions that lead to the award winning ones. Encourage people to start calling out ideas and write them all, no matter how ridiculous, on the flipchart. You will notice that ideas start growing out of each other, for instance someone might say, Pizza Palace, We Are Callous, which obviously is one you will toss out, but that might lead another participant to think of a sentence slightly similar in sound yet not quite rhyming, such as Pizza Palace, Eat our Salads. See, now, this is getting a little closer to the desired theme, even though it is still another toss away.

Just keep the ideas flowing and write every single one down on the flipchart until everyone has exhausted their flow of creativity for the moment. Then, you can choose how many suggestions you want to narrow the list down to, but five is usually a good amount. Keep the five in your brain bank for at least a few days, mulling each idea over, and encourage the others in the group to do the same. Then, meet again a few days later to narrow the list down further and eventually tighten up the remaining results so that each slogan has been tweaked to its full potential. Do this as many times as necessary. No rules. Except that there are no rules. Go, have fun! Guaranteed, if you haven’t tried this method before you’ll love it.”

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