8. If you’re part creative, part strategist, you’ll pack more of a punch

Few can argue with the strategic power of the rope-a-dope combined with Ali’s word-smithing that bated George Foreman to wear himself out in a rage – while Ali bided his time playing punch bag. When Foreman was spent Ali made his move to defeat an opponent with arguably far superior experience and fire power.

And without the fire of revolution in his belly to elevate his standard folk strumming and questionable harmonica skills, would Robert Allen Zimmerman have ever become Bob Dylan?

Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston sang it, “It takes two”.  

Today more than ever, creative expression and strategy have to work hand in hand to steal a march.

Creatives have to be versed in far more format styles. From ‘grabbing’ attention in short form assets like print ads or tweets. To ‘holding it’, in long form content; from animated infographic films to short films or series, documentary’s, or experiential events. There’s an approach to every style of content and delivery channel.

Not forgetting that these creative assets have to be co-ordinated along the customer’s journey over time as part of an integrated campaign. The plot has thickened and the story needs to have a proper arc of character if it is to continue to command engagement over time. 

Yet no amount of creative flair can hope to beat even an average creative expression given the added rudder of strategy to bring it home. 

As for the planners – they better be sure their strategic platform is translatable across the diversity of assets and media channels or the whole house of cards will come a-tumbling down.  

Don’t get me wrong, the new media landscape is an exciting place to be. In many ways it’s a wild frontier, where a new idea with a killer strategy and executional flair can command a level of influence only dreamed of in the days before Tim Berners Lee snared us all in his world wide web.

Yet there are as many challenges as there are fragmented audiences.

The digital bubble hasn’t burst, as the buzz-killers are warning, but the Gold Rush is well and truly over.  Just turning up in the digi-sphere is no longer novel enough. As we learned from Marshal McLuhan way back in the sixties, the medium is the message. Well back then that was a great heads up. But, with no disrespect to that particular Canadian’s genuine insight, these days it’s a “no shit Sherlock” forgone conclusion.

What’s clear is that when we’ve figured out where to find the right people to talk to at the right time we’d better have the right things to say to them in the right manner to make the most of our hard won engagement opportunity.

We all know how to turn up at the party, what we need to firm up is how to be considered the life and soul. 

So the Yin of strategy needs to couple seamlessly with the Yang of creativity.

Which is why me old mucka, ex-Playstation Head of Marketing, Geoff Glendenning, and I have taken the liberty of designing a workshop that will help the aforementioned Yin work better with previously noted Yang. We achieve this marvel of modern times by promoting greater understanding of strategy and creativity and how they can best work together. And as you might guess, this segues into how planning and creative departments might better understand and appreciate one another, to boot.

In a single day it teaches planners to think like creatives and creatives to thinking more strategically – while couching these newly honed skills in a greater understanding of our beguiling media melee.

It really is a wonderful boost for anyone whose ever wondered what the difference is between brand identity, personality and character and how to use them to sharpen up your brand differentiation. Or where a brief proposition ends and creative interpretation begins. Or what a strategy is. Or what an idea is, for that matter. 

If you would like to challenge this outrageous assertion, do give me a call or drop me an email at james@thebrandlodge.co.uk and book your own workshop before we’re too burnt out to carry on doing it.

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