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Do the right thing

The interviewee in question was quizzed on why he’d changed his sound on a recent record – to which he replied: “The song comes first. The song is the king and you try to do the right thing by the song.”

In our own industry, there’s a lot to be said for doing the right thing by the equivalent of our songs – creative ideas. From time to time, we’ve all been guilty of corrupting the creative concept, twisting it’s meaning and forcing it into spaces where it doesn’t belong. Or, worse still, conveniently sidelining the ‘Big Idea’ altogether.

At IAS, we may have Big Ideas that stand the test of time – we call them Big Long Ideas – but that doesn’t mean they don’t break without careful handling and nurturing during the transition from proposition to print (or any other medium).

A great idea will spark the process of devising creative, engaging tactics – the vehicles that carry the idea to its natural destination through whichever means necessary. A good campaign can become a great one, but only if it forges a close, strong bond with the Big Long Idea.

The process of devising tactics can be taxing – even for the most gifted practitioners. So, when our creative juices run dry, we often “get out of the river”. But we always return – freshly inspired – by the Big Long Idea.

During these creative droughts, it very tempting to let our ‘default’ channels and tactics lead the way because “this worked before, so it’ll work again”, or because “it’s more cost effective to do it this way”. The danger of this is that we risk losing the creative essence somewhere in the process and deviate from the purity or inherent truth of the Big Long Idea. 

So, whether you operate on the agency or client side – we’re all involved to some degree in the creative process – just be mindful of “doing the right thing” by the idea. We may choose to play a tune with different instruments, but the song remains the same.

6 tips to help you “do the right thing":

  1. Research: do your homework (collate and immerse yourself in the insights)
  2. Brainstorm: start and finish with the Big Idea (be inspired by and test your ideas with it)
  3. Map: align your ideas to buyer timeline (awareness, interest, consideration and decision)
  4. Extend: broaden your ideas to multiple channels and platforms (online, offline, direct)
  5. Acquire: ensure data is front of mind (create assets that people will register for)
  6. Entertain: pander to human nature (appeal to both the rational and emotive buyer)