Cohesive communication is vital to the success of any marketing campaign. A creative strategy is important to ensure that every facet of the business understands the goals and is following the same game-plan to achieve them. Your creative strategy will be used to establish a benchmark and help you track the key success indicators, including company growth and brand visibility.
Your creative strategy will ensure that everyone is heading in the same direction and conscious of what is required to achieve success. Understanding where the pressure points lie and the plan to combat them is vital for the smooth running of any marketing campaign, and anticipating these through careful planning will save both time and money, as well as ensure your marketing efforts yield the best results.
Identify your objectives.
As an online business, or the online element of a larger business, yours could be:
- An increase in conversion
- A reduction in bounce rate
- Better click-through rate
- Improved brand visibility
- Return on investment
Once identified, you need to establish the starting base and what the indicators of success are. To achieve these, you will need to conduct thorough:
Understand who is using your product, service and website, as well as why they find it valuable. If your product is already in the market then discovering how and why your product is being used will help identify where the key market lies. If your product is new your strategy will focus on developing new problems your potential customers will have and how this product will solve them.
Your main rivals are an important source of information and you can learn from both their failures and their successes. There is a range of online tools that allow you to assess their websites and give you valuable insight into their SEO and digital marketing strategy, how they are using content, and what approach they have taken with social media. This information is a great way to spot gaps in their strategy that your business could enter, as well as what to avoid if they are dominating certain keywords etc…
It is important to understand the limitations of your company and product. An inability to be objective may lead to embarrassing failures and missteps, which will undermine consumer trust and invalidate one of the key goals of any creative strategy – brand integrity. Focus on your strengths and work on your own selling propositions, rather than trying to undermine a competitor. Aiming to discredit their product or service can often end up highlighting the weaknesses of your own offering.
2. The creative elements
What is your message?
You should be able to sum up your business’s key message succinctly and easily. This can be anything from a focus on end-users in a business environment, budget conscious personal users, or high-end customers looking for luxury items. Having a clear message will help customers identify with your brand and understand whether they are your key audience, or if being a part of your audience is something they aspire to. Attempting to target everyone often means you are targeting no one and your brand’s message and image becomes scattered and unfocused. Apple don’t target people looking for $500 laptops, instead they aim for the mid-to-high-end market and let the lower market aspire to moving up.
Brainstorm, conceptualise and storyboard your concepts
Editing is easier than creating from scratch. Bring in as many ideas as you can, regardless of how silly or contrary to the brand identity they may seem. You can never tell what kernels will pop and it is easier to eliminate ideas later than try to come up with great ones when things are already underway.
From here, place the best of the ideas in real-world situations. This will help you see how well it sits within your brand ideals and how it looks in the market. It is important for you to stand out, but it has to be for the right reasons. There can often be a fine line between memorable and moribund, and accurate mock-ups that can be critiqued and refined are important to ensure the ideas work in reality. Often you will only have one shot to get a marketing push right, so taking the time to get it right the first time can save your business a costly salvage exercise further down the track.
3. Letting it out into the world
Marketing has a wide variety of channels available, each with its own set of conventions. An important aspect of your creative strategy is tailoring your materials to each one, ensuring it has maximum impact. You will need a thorough understanding of how each channel works, whether it is Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram, blogging, email marketing, or traditional areas like TV, radio and print. Your preparations for every channel will include A/B testing to see what is the most effective and what can be improved. Marketing, of any kind, isn’t a set-and-forget process, and it relies on constant refinement and honest assessment to ensure its success and maximize your ROI.
Powerful results from meticulous planning
Our key point is that nothing should be left to chance. Shortcuts will only serve to undermine your brand image and discredit the hard work you have put into other areas. The creative strategy is designed to ensure that everyone understands the path to success and maintain consistency across the whole project.
Your customers have more choice than ever before and the minutiae of your marketing will be examined for flaws that will give them a reason to choose the competitor. Careful development in the planning stages will help consumers to see your business and product as professional, trustworthy, and something they want to have in their lives.