What does it take to be creative? To be faced with a blank page time and time again knowing that your clients business could rise or fall based on how you fill it.
In a way, it really depends on who you are. I have learned, from many years of experience, that great ideas can come from just about anywhere or anyone. And even the most ‘non-creative’ individuals on the planet will come up with at least one great idea in their lives. Because ideas are the expression of inspiration itself.
Sometimes they just fly in out of the blue, hitting you when you least expect it. At other times it can be the result of a brainstorming with other people, which, depending on the people, can be real labour or a ton of fun.
A few of the key qualities that most creative people have in common are a natural and abiding curiosity about what motivates people and a strong interest in the popular culture: ie new products, new services and new cultural phenomena.
But the most important quality that any creative person can possess is salesmanship.
Inspiration VS Realization
While it’s true that anybody can get a great idea, not everyone is capable of actually filling that blank page and bringing their ideas to life in a way that will actually stimulate the audience to buy or, at the very least, find out more about the product or service being offered.
This process often requires a couple of people: a writer who can express the idea and make it easily understood in words and a designer or art director who can enhance that idea and make it into something that the audience will really want to embrace. The chemistry between the writer and the designer needs to be on the same wavelength, otherwise the creative process will end up being stilted and often times ineffectual.
In addition to being compatible with each other, the art director and the writer must also have a good feel for each other’s craft. Because while good art directors are not often good writers, they know good writing when they read it and the same holds true for writers and design.
A Relatively New Phenomenon
The art director/writer team concept in communications is actually a relatively new one and can be traced back to the beginning of the modern era of communications in the early 1960s when an art director named Helmut Krone and a writer named Bill Bernbach started working together in an equal partnership on the Volkswagen business.
Before that time, the writer was the boss and the designer was basically a tool for the writer to use. In fact they were actually called ‘wrists’. However as the development of modern communications progressed, design grew in importance, a balance between these two disciplines became both necessary and desirable.
Choosing The Right People For The Project
In our shop, there are a multitude of creative talents available for any given project. Putting the right talent with the right project is an art in itself. Different writers have different styles: some are more comfortable writing speeches and presentations than advertising, brochures, web sites or TV scripts. Art directors are the same: some are extremely good at advertising, some are good at publications and others skilled in the e-market, but very few can do it all.
In order for us to maximize results for a client we make it our business to work with a diverse range of talented and experienced creative people and from this pool, choose the creative talent that is best for the project. This in turn, can maximize the ROI because the people we choose have a greater understanding of what is required and get to the heart of the project faster and more effectively.
Is It Good To Specialize In One Area?
Again it depends on who you are. There are a number of areas such as pharmaceuticals and certain types of technology, where specialized skills can
really be a benefit. The downside of specialization is the number of conflicts of interest that you can potentially run into, which can limited your growth potential.
At Rapport, we choose to be more diverse in the kinds of businesses we work on. This may have a lot to do with the fact that we have a number of people in our sphere who are highly experienced in a wide range of communications areas and business sectors.
But more importantly it has to do with the fact that we are all true creative people and as such embrace the challenge of facing the blank page and filling it with strong, focused ideas that help our clients build their businesses.
Because as a very wise and successful advertising man named Chester Bowles once said, “It’s Only Creative, If It Sells.”