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After your strategic marketing goals are set, creating concepts for your latest marketing endeavor can be daunting. A strategic approach, including evaluation, is a necessary path for creative marketing. It’s as important as figuring out why you are doing this marketing piece in the first place.

A creative path takes several steps before arriving at a unique, attention-grabbing concept relevant to your target audience. If overlooked, scope creep and weaker solutions manifest. These are a few steps within the creative process that companies often overlook. Tight deadlines or lack of stakeholder input are often the culprits.

Be a sponge and soak up as much as you can for your particular marketing piece.
The gathering of pertinent information, data and customer insight is crucial to laying the foundation for effective communication. Uncovering key information keeps communication on target with your brand. This discovery process gives you the elements that serve as the particles making up the molecular structure of your brand universe.

Orient your team to the communication challenge with a creative brief.
A creative brief helps the marketing and/or executive team agree and put down on paper the key components to inform the direction of the communications piece. A creative brief should include:
What is the project?
Who is it for?
Why are we doing it?
What needs to be done?
Where and how will it be used?

This strategic tool helps the team stay on target throughout the creative process and serves as an evaluation tool when the concept is chosen.

Let the concepts incubate.
Once you get to the step of roughing out various concepts—born out of the analysis of information gathered—step away from the project. Leave the project for a couple hours. Leave it for a couple days if you have such a luxurious timeframe. Focus on something else for this incubation period. Take a walk, clean, read. This is typically when the “Aha” moment arrives. Either a new killer idea arises or a concept refinement reveals a more brilliant solution.

Neglecting to gather enough information, orient your team and incubate ideas will sidetrack the journey to effective communications. Having a pathway to follow doesn’t kill the creative process; it helps lead your team to the creative spark that makes your visuals and message stand out from other brands.

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