Next up in the planning basics stuff in this element of using research. The first bit of the so called Planning Cycle is developing the strategy the brief will summarise. This isn't a post about brief writing, just how to use information to help you go about it.
It's the most research and information intensive part .........and what you should be aiming to do is STIMULATE. Not to mention start well. If you start badly, it's hard to pull it back.
There are two clear bits to this:
Understand the task. Assuming you have a client brief, make sure your brief will address the business objectives they've given you.
Define WHO are you looking to influence. And in what way you seek to influence them. That means using the hard information you've acquired to define exactly what the creative work needs to achieve. What's the REAL problem you're solving? Like Skoda saying to you their cars are considered, but never actually bought enough........and you finding that people need to know more about why the cars are good, rather than just respecting the badge.
Now this isn't enough for great work. It will ensure it's appropriate, but it may be predictable, uninteresting and simply not engaging. That's why you need to do the second bit:
Identify an imaginative strategy to meet the the task you've defined.
What I really mean is using whatever information you've uncovered and turning them into useful insights or perspectives that will enable a creative team to develop some great ideas. Some great thinking that you can prove will achieve your goals. This is the magic bit where you turn pure information into usable insight. Like Sainsburys knowing that people see them as food heroes, and knowing that people walk around their store buying the same stuff every week......and making the leap that they can help their foodie customers 'try something new today'.
Key bits will include:
- news and info on trends.
- What's happening in the market
- Specific, relevant stuff on competitors
- What you know about the audience (including who they are) that will help you solve the problem - what behavior, opinions or lack of knowledge you want to address.
- Specific behavioral objectives......gain new category entrants, steal customers, increase loyalty, increase frequency of purchase, stop losses, new type of customer, more of the same, short term v long term.
- Sector values, brand imagery.
- The overall attitudinal task.....raise awareness (who with?) salience (with who?), stimulate consideration, change opinions.
- Use previous tracking to show how the audience has responded to work that ran previously - what's worked, what hasn't.
- What are consumer expectations.........you may want to CONFOUND them, not just meet them by the way.
First of all, don't just put everything in! Put in what's relevant and useful........and in creative's language, not yours! But in any case, you should be getting towards a clear creative task. You may be unsure, which means you may want to brainstorm with some creatives.....if so, use a bullet hard understanding of both the business and creative objectives as a start for developing strategic ideas. But you may well want to do some strategy development research.
This will usually be because you can see a number of potential directions, and you need help to choose. Or it may just be that you need to prove to someone...client, creativesm suits, that this is clearly the way to go.
But by the time you write the brief, you should have confidence that:
- The brief addresses the real needs of your brand in the context of the market place.
- You really know WHO you're trying to reach.
- That you're seeking to tell them something you know is relevant and motivating.
- You know what will deliver it in way they'll engage with....that's true to the brand.
It's hard. But the start of it is great information. Most find that starting with qual to play delve into the issues first, and then proving it with quant works in most cases. But treat each project on it's merit. And strategy development research needs to be quick and probing, so that really lends itself to qual.
Next up, using research to help, not hinder creative development.