Engaging and outstanding creative?

David Thomas (Base One Creative Director) and I were presenting the "How to produce engaging and outstanding creative" session on the IDM B2B Diploma course this week and it served to highlight the reality gap between the type of creative most marketers run with and the type of creative they think they should run with. We asked the 20 or so students to score the quality of their own creative from 1 to 10, 10 being engaging and outstanding. The results - only 5 scored themselves higher than 5/10, there were 7 scoring themselves exactly 5/10 and the remainder less than 5. Was this modesty are there some fundamental things restricting the quality of creative ...?

Throughout the afternoon we revisited the reasons why they scored their own brands so poorly. The dominant reasons were "our guidelines only allow us certain formats and a selection of images" or "we would never get creative like that past the management team". Both are common issues but what can you do about them?

I think it's quite simple. If it's the guidelines that are restricting you then you need to retain someone to redo the guidelines. Guidelines should direct not restrict. They should inspire and motivate good creativity built on a strong but flexible brand identity.

If it's the management team then there is an educational need. Get your agency (or ask us) to run a creative session with the senior managers from across the business. Help them to understand how creative works, what its role is and inspire them about the effect it should be having on your brand.

By the end of the session most people were inspired to produce better creative - but will they? Time will tell.