Back in February our Revenue Director, Mark Walker, sat down with Georgi Mirazchiev, Field Marketer at Bynder. Both are seasoned B2B marketers and creatives, with an understanding of the struggles creatives face day-to-day.
In busier and busier markets, having creative assets that cut through the noise is more important than ever, so how can you help the creative minds in your company to thrive?
Our webinar hosts discussed the data-led processes and tools you can use to skyrocket the return on your creative assets. By utilising consumer and company data, both in the development of creative materials and in measuring the success of campaigns, you can strike the right balance between creativity and control. With control over the creative output, in terms of both quantity and quality, you can more easily repeat your successes. To listen to the full webinar, click here.
Read on to discover the top 10 lessons from the session; it’s everything you need to know in order to crack the code for consistent creativity.
#1 – Everyone wants maximum productivity
When Bynder surveyed 500 marketers, they discovered that a very large number will invest more into creating branded visual content this year. This means more work than ever for those producing the content. In fact, 77% of creatives feel increasing pressure to be more productive.
This is a significant challenge creatives are facing; increasing focus on quantity by senior leadership, sometimes at the expense of quality. It’s important to recognise that the two aren’t synonymous, as Georgi points out, “giving more and more content doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be better content”.
Marketing decision makers need to aim for quality over quantity, else risk driving down success despite pushing up productivity. The following four lessons will illuminate the steps your brand can take to drive up productivity without sacrificing quality.
#2 – Too many cooks spoil the broth
To borrow a much-used idiom, overwhelming creatives with feedback can severely hinder the creative process.
40% of creatives feel they receive too much feedback, and from too many stakeholders.
While they need the headspace to be imaginative, creatives must juggle feedback from their own team, other business departments, and even external stakeholders and agencies.
Tracking the feedback received (whether via emails, verbal or instant messages) will speed up the proofing process. Stakeholders can see whether comments have already been made and don’t need to be repeated. Plus, the creative team can easily locate the feedback they need to action, and needn’t spend hours rifling through post-it-notes, emails and messages to find scraps of feedback.
#3 – A bad brief can be the end of a good project
All too often, creatives are handed a post-it-note, or told in passing, “We need this”.
For the project to be delivered on time and with as little friction as possible, every brief should include the goal for the project, the deliverables needed and the deadline required.
Making these briefs public means anyone jumping in mid-flow can see what’s being worked on, by whom, and – for the creative’s benefit – won’t offer feedback that’s not in line with the brief. External stakeholders won’t bother your creatives with questions like, “why are we using this colour?” if the expectations and guidelines are set out in the brief.
#4 – Track all conversations
Capturing the details of every conversation – whether that’s feedback, briefings or project meetings – and hosting that information publicly, will ensure no one is left out of the loop as well as full transparency across the project. If every stakeholder can inform themselves about the brief, the feedback, and the state of the project, creatives can focus on doing what they do best.
Tracking this internal data at the point at which it is produced can also minimise the chance of feedback being misinterpreted; there’s one source of truth all parties can refer back to.
#5 – Last minute changes are the bane of everyone’s work life
59% of creatives say that last minute changes are most often the reason deadlines are missed.
A public deadline can help stakeholders who wish to offer feedback do so in good time and without derailing the progress of the project. Visibility on the work that’s taking place within the project can also minimise feedback offered at the eleventh hour.
These first five lessons – which boil down to the importance of tracking and systematising your team’s work – should illuminate the processes your team uses. This will allow you to optimise processes by spotting sticking points and improving upon the way your colleagues already communicate. If a process is taking longer than it has done previously, for example, this will be much easier to spot if you already know how your team works on a day-to-day basis.
Tracking the work of your team will produce different data for every team, which is particularly important for global brands to recognise. A different creative process might be implemented in each office, as there is no value in trying to fit each distinct creative team into one framework.
These steps will shorten your time to market. Now we turn to how you can optimise your creative to have the most success in the market.
#6 – Start with the end in mind
“The fact that you’re 18 to 35 years old with a college degree does not cause you to buy a product. It may be correlated with the decision, but it doesn’t cause it. We realised that the causal mechanism behind a purchase is, ‘Oh, I’ve got a job to be done.’ And it turns out that it’s really effective in allowing a company to build products that people want to buy”Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School Professor.
Basing your consumer profiles on demographics alone is a sure fire way to get them wrong. Being a certain age doesn’t dictate the ‘job’ for which you need to ‘hire’ a product or service, but your need state might.
Two people within the same demographic could buy one brand of cereal bar, as Mark explains, but for very different reasons; one buys it because they’re busy and need to skip lunch, one buys it for a protein hit after a workout. They have different need states.
Looking at the Jobs to be Done of your product will allow you to produce creative assets that speak to the psychographics of the target consumer, going much deeper than their age or gender, to the desires and attitudes that actually make them buy.
If you don’t know why your consumers buy your product, or products like yours, then you’re in the dark, and you can’t create successful marketing campaigns. The first input of consumer data in the creative process enables you to learn: what is the purpose of the campaign? Who is it for? What motivates them? And who else has done this well?
#7 – Validate with purpose
It’s little use asking “Do you prefer this or that image?”, as so much feedback is subjective. What you really need to know is whether the campaign is reaching the purpose you set out for it.
Are you creating an asset to improve clicks / sales / positioning / virality / education / awareness? These are all completely valid goals, but without clarity on which you’re aiming for you could be optimising your asset for the wrong reasons and jeopardising your success.
Structure your survey to produce data that directly correlates to the purpose you set out in the first place; questions assessing positioning will require more qualitative data than questions around whether or not a consumer is likely to click on your advert.
Associating the correct questions with the correct overall goals will allow you to validate whether your asset isn’t just nice, but whether it’s likely or unlikely to actually achieve its business purpose.
#8 – Use consumer insight to manage risks
While some virality is a good thing, you want to avoid being ‘that brand’ that has to apologise to the press for getting things horrendously wrong.
Be sure to test your assumptions with consumers, who might see your creatives in an entirely different light to your team or the business at large.
It’s possible to avoid the mistakes Dolce & Gabbana recently made in China, which practically forced them to exit the market entirely, by pre-testing creatives within the intended market. Those flawed D&G creatives will have passed through their own approvals process, highlighting the importance of including in your own process the opinions of the people for whom the creative is designed.
#9 – Measure your success
You’ve optimised your creative to reach a certain goal, now it’s time to assess whether you met it.
As Mark explains:
“If someone comes along and says, “Well, did that work?”, you can say “Yes, if you mean it raised awareness” or “Yes, if what you mean is that the market is more educated” and, crucially, “here’s the proof”.”
The key is to be as specific as possible, only then will you understand the changes you can make in order to shift the needle.
When you understand why things work, and what it is about your consumers that the creative resonated with, success becomes repeatable.
#10 – Repeat the cycle to keep growing
Learn about your consumers (on a deeper level than just their demographic details), validate your ideas with the purpose of the campaign in mind, and then measure the achievements so that you can repeat your success again and again.
Introducing consumer data into each stage will optimise your creative to resonate with the people for whom it’s intended, as well as streamlining your own process, mitigating risk and increasing the business returns tenfold.
Data is foundational in giving you control over your creative success. Whether that’s internal data (briefs, approval processes and tracking conversations), or consumer data (used to uncover what resonates with your target consumers and why), without knowing why you’ve had success in the past, you won’t be able to repeat it in the future.
Understanding your internal processes can highlight the areas to be streamlined, ease the pressures on your creative team, and free them up to do their best work without distractions.
The project management tools Bynder offer are perfectly suited to help streamline your creative processes, driving up productivity without sacrificing output quality.
Meanwhile, understanding what the consumer wants and needs can spark creativity, and optimise your assets to achieve your business purpose every time.
To discover more about how Attest can help you reach your target consumers at any stage of the creative development process, get in touch with us today.