Creative Research + Killer Briefs by Lynette Xanders
By: Wendy Roe
Welcome Bend WebCAMmers! It’s a fantastic day and we’re excited to jump start the day learning, blogging and networking…can’t you just smell the Juniper? Today, I’m channeling SEO live blogger guru Lisa Barone to assist in my first live blogging event. My name is Wendy Roe (@wendyroe) and I’ll be your personal journalist with the ins and outs of the creative and web minds during the next two days for The Bend WebCAM blog. Please be nice…I’m sure to make typos along the way! If you like, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on the blogs below or SHARE with your friends!
We are excited to have Lynette Xanders in the house (she’s a local from Hood River!). (She’s passing around colored 12 x 12 paper for note takers…a colorful creative from the start…)
Wild Alchemy is a momentum company, infusing companies with insights and inspiration to create something AMAZING. She’s worked in every category their is…Deschutes Brewery, Microsoft, Nike, American Red Cross, …she says she works in “Beer, Banks and Baby Food.”
Why do we care about creative briefs?
It’s a way to get everyone on the same page, keep consistency, streamline decision making, create better stuff and gain efficiency, effectiveness. It helps keep everyone accountable and help you sell better stuff too. “It helps reduce stupid fights.” It also unifies fragmented services…which is important because there’s media, brands that are becoming increasingly fragmented.
Demographics don’t mean anything: 30 yr old CEO, 40 year old moms, 40 year old student. The world is ever-changing. The filters that we have today create ‘info-tainment’…if it doesn’t entertain, people aren’t interested.
Why are we doing this?
To generate greater efficiency and effectiveness and help make life easier in the process.
What is it in its best light?
It is a springboard to ideation. Its the first creative idea/place to play. The last place we all agreed.
Go back to basics…improving the brief will ALWAYS make things easier.
The creative brief must always be CREATIVE + BRIEF (1 page!).
What is the assignment?
Why are we doing it?
Who are we talking to?
What do they currently think?
What do we want them to think?
What’s the ONE thing we need to tell them?
Why they should believe us?
What are we really selling?
Resistance to Briefs (or excuses):
We never have enough time to do it right but we always found time to do it over…“The investment on the front end will pay off on the back end.”
“If we can get the creative people to be more strategic and the strategic people more creative…we’re on our way.”
Creative People are: (from the audience…)
4. Out of the Box
Business People are: (from the audience)
3. Goal Oriented
“Efficiency builds creativity, it doesn’t destroy it.” Find a poster child that includes both sides, a model that reflects both attributes.
” A brief it not about information, it’s about inspiration.” Make it clear, concise, unambiguous and INSPIRING.
- Get in the right head space. (Don’t feel like you have to write it in an office…surround yourself with inspiration and inspirational areas. Even if it’s sitting in front of a fire place drinking wine…hmmm, sounds good!)
- Seek the common threads. (Between your core customers and prospective clients, between men and women…focus on speaking to both at the same time.)
- Write longhand. Yes. Really. (Ideas come from subconscious ramblings that you didn’t even know you wrote down. Break out the thinking and don’t be afraid to misspell and use colors.)
- Be clear about the deliverable…but ask if they’re open to other. (It’s the greatest opportunity)
- Think like a poet. (Instead of giving rational details, make them “FALL IN LOVE.”) Follow the love, follow the pride, follow the money….80% of revenues come from 20% of your customers; learn from the customers who love you.
- Follow the money.
- Know what the problem is we’re trying to solve.
- Know what it is, and is not. (Don’t overwhelm them, keep it focused. Oh, and the ‘briefing’ is just as important as the ‘brief’….don’t email or drop it off and leave.)
- Seek to inspire, not just inform.
- Be both creative, and brief.
- Paint a picture of your customer (and make them likeable).
- Avoid client-speak. (Jargon gets you no where….tell me what is DOES.)
- Make sure it passes the tests. (1. Can you say it in an elevator ride? 2. Can you say it to your mom and she will know what you’re talking about? 3. Can you say it out lout without crinkling your nose? It’s gotta be memorable, easy to understand and COOL.)
- Make it hang together. (Make sure it makes sense when you’re saying it out loud.)
- Use examples. (“I love visual briefs”)
- Think of possible ways to go. (Make sure you have ideas on how to get started to accompany the brief.)
- Be a guide, not a policeman.
- Do not expect the music to play. (When the room goes quiet, you have a good idea.)
- Use loaded language.
Manifesto – a poetic way to bring the brief to life. You pull apart the personality and magnetic virtue of the brief (why you should care). A way to talk to your tribe…it’s a large paragraph that’s inspirational and pulls the mission together.
“If the brand died tomorrow, how would it be remembered and who would morn it most?”
Book Recommendation: Adam Morgan “Eat Big Fish”
Key takeaways in creative research:
- Follow the money and the love. They’re the path to riches.
- Seek possibilities, not proof. Uncover the ideal amongst fans.
- Find people at the point of stain. Know the emotional benefit.
- Ask 3 juicy questions. And then stop talking. Let them ponder.
- Listen for what you’re not listening for. Let it wash over you.
- Seek the magnetic virtue. Know what you’re really selling.
- Pay attention to what they do. It’s not always what they say.
- Understand the context. Look at the landscape and drivers.
- Read between the lines. It’s not what was said, but what was meant that’s the key
- Use techniques to dig. Get past the ‘pat’ answers.
- Ask permission but do it anyway. It’s creative development.
“When you start writing, find a wicked cool pen and a BIG piece of paper…the bigger the paper, the bigger the ideas.” – Lynette Xanders (Queen of Quotes!)