Creativity Director, Dale Haste, has worked on both sides of the traditional creative/strategic agency divide. Here he gives his view of why strategy is creativity’s best friend.
Strategic planning is dead from the neck up. That was the edict we were expected to follow on a particular creative floor many moons ago. Of course insight has been hailed as the new creativity ever since. Yet there’s still a lingering feeling in some agency creative departments that 'strategy' can stifle ground-breaking work.
Thankfully that’s not the case at Mobas, where strategy unleashes, rather than restricts, creativity. Life here at The Brand Transformation Agency is a bit like being in a strategic marketing agency on steroids. Creativity dances to the fervent drumbeat of strategic imperative. And that’s across the board – in creative and design, digital marketing and PR and social media.
Why does that make for better work? To be successful, brand strategy has to be compelling and differentiating – and crucially rooted in the truthful essence of a company or organisation. As the Mobas agency model proves, clients benefit from strategy that clearly defines who they are, where they sit in the marketplace and where the opportunities to prosper are. Clients are enthused, inspired, feel ownership of the strategy and are able to target their objectives and plan for tangible change with real confidence.
And in reality, that’s exactly what a creative person is looking for when charged with implementing cut-through campaigns and marketing executions. There’s a bit of a popular misconception that commercial creativity is about being wild and wacky, dispensing with all reason and thinking outside the clichéd box.
In actual fact it’s more akin to teetering on a pinhead by dramatising only the single-minded and essential truths that competitors can’t hope to match. If the world zigs, then zag, and you’ll be noticed.
So if the creative brief is born of a strategy that is a) based on truth, b) different from anything else and c) owned and adored by the people who will sign off the creative, then hallelujah we can really go to work with boldness and confidence. And that’s when real creativity – imagination with a purpose – comes into play.
From that point, the role of the agency is to create messages and interactions that engage emotionally and rationally to unlock actions. Buy, like, choose, recommend, share with a friend, advocate, sign up for.
Clear tonal parameters – visual and verbal – are also set by the strategy and allow digital specialists, PR practitioners and designers to push the boundaries in a set context. They know the playing field, and can relish the opportunity to express themselves fully and vividly within it.
Does strategy enhance creativity? Absolutely. Without good strategy, creative work might look good and sound good but is empty inside. And no-one’s going to buy that.