Tag Archives: the creative process illustrated

What Project Managers Can Learn From Advertisers

Advertising briefs are a specific type of project with three characteristics:
1. Extreme creativity. The goal with any advertising work is to come up with something sufficiently original to break through all the clutter.
2. Reliance on client management. It is not enough to merely come up with a great ad, but to make sure the client believes in it too.
3. Ongoing iteration. This reflects the creative process where the goal is to sift through ideas to find the highest quality solution before the deadline.

The Creative Process Illustrated by Glenn Griffin and Deborah Morrison, interview leading advertising executives to learn more about their processes. From these interviews a few insights emerge. The best advertisers start by questioning the client’s brief, and working with the client as soon as possible.

“most creative briefs cannot lead to good advertising unless they are developed with input from creatives”

Then the process of creativity has two important aspects. The first is to collect a large number of ideas.

“It’s like the old story about cows that are let out of the barn. The ones that stop at the first grass they come to end up chewing bits of weeds and muddy tufts. The more adventurous cows who make it through the first (or second) pastures find the good, deep, tasty stuff. Just don’t go too far and become roadkill.”

The second is to consume more than you create. Nothing is ever really a bolt from the blue, it more likely combines existing ideas in a new way. The more content you consume, whether through books, blogs or museums, the more ideas you’ll be able to combine into original concepts.

As a project manager, examination of advertising projects is a healthy reminder on the importance of ongoing client engagement and that creativity comes from ‘combining’ a large number of existing ideas and finessing the good ones, rather than any sort of truly unique gift.