Quick, we need some ideas!
Can you make sure they’re innovative too?
You’re the creative director, go!
Oh… and we need them by next Tuesday and the budget is limited, see what you can do!

By Emily Motley, VP, Creative Director

While the aforementioned dialogue is obvious hyperbole, budget and timeline parameters are a reality faced by creatives. Every time this conversation is had, I tend to immediately think of Ben Franklin. Yes, that Ben Franklin (kite, key and all). “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

BFrank’s adage may read a bit pessimistic and glass-half-empty, but it’s one that rings true in a climate of ever-shortening timelines and strict budget limitations. By no means is this a roadblock to the creative process, but rather a challenge that as creatives, we willingly must accept and embrace.

As a creative director who also happens to be a millennial (pause for groan), I began in the industry when budget spending on meetings and events became part of the national conversation, considering the 2008 bailout of some of corporate America’s largest organizations. Gone were the “good-old-days” of A-list headliners and over-the-top splash for face-to-face events.

This shift in the industry challenged and enabled us to think even more creatively and nimbly for our clients, designing moments and experiences that dutifully maximize their investment. And as a result – we’ve built stronger and more focused campaigns, meetings, and events for our clients and we haven’t looked back.

So how do we responsibly create experiences that resonate for our clients and their communities?

1. Look for the story

We begin the creative process with our client’s purpose at hand, diving into the WHY that you’ve heard us mention before. As a creative director, this is hands-down my favorite part—it’s when we identify and discover the connections between the promise of the purpose and path that we can take to help realize it. Once we understand the overall intended purpose, we can advance it by telling robust stories.

Storytelling isn’t a new concept, but we know that it’s the best way to help advance a message and create connections that inspire action. And, the best part about a good story is that it can often stand on its own. A good story is priceless. You can’t fake it, but you can always enhance how it’s told.

We ask:
How can we communicate this in a compelling, emotive way?
Who are the voices that can best carry this message?
How can we connect to the audience emotionally, rationally, enthusiastically?
What channels, tactics and mediums are accessible to utilize and spread the message?
What are the technical opportunities available to us?

2. Maximize ROI

Any engagement is an investment to our clients, we know that. We want to be the agency partner that helps over-deliver on this investment. Call us precocious, but it’s how we like to operate.

We win when our clients can see the value in working with us. We never want to be that agency that is always re-inventing the wheel at their expense, but rather one that can help further their message.

We ask:
What photography or video assets already exist in your organization to help enhance the story?
How can we extend the shelf-life of what we create? What channels can host media/messaging after the event/engagement is over?
How can we continue to reinforce and extend this message/story to your community?

3. Stay Curious

Inspiration can come from anywhere—and we believe it. We’re in the business of keeping our eyes open and our finger on the pulse of what’s happening around us. Some of us even have Slack channels where we digitally hoard inspiration to push what’s possible for the next time we have to answer the creative challenge.

We know that each community is different, and we do our due diligence to understand them and to find new ways to build connections that resonate. We stay relevant so that we can unite communities in a way that is authentic and timely.

We ask:
What would be an unexpected outcome/feeling/action for this particular community?
What are the motivations of this community—how do they communicate with each other, with you? What makes them unique?
What was the last experience/video/moment that you found yourself thinking about long after it was over? Why did it resonate with you?

Challenge, Accepted

I’m a firm believer that anyone can have a good idea, but the best ideas and the ideas that win for clients (and ultimately, their communities) respect timeline and budget parameters. As responsible partners and stewards of client resources, it’s up to us to deliver on that promise and accept this creative challenge.