Have you heard the one about the client who was showing comps of outdoor boards to strangers on an airplane?
It’s no joke. It was one of my clients.
And there was the other client who always had to get his wife’s opinion.
Sadly, creative is frequently judged by its likeability.
But there’s a better way to do it that does not involve popularity.
Options are Good
It’s a time honored tradition.
The creative team develops several great options.
The team narrows down the strongest ones to present to the client.
Then the client selects the one to produce.
Regardless of if it’s the internal team narrowing down from ten options or the client choosing between three options, people will be making judgment calls.
It’s what the judgment is based on that will determine the success or failure of the creative.
We Choose What We Like
We all do it.
We make decisions choosing this over that.
Sometimes we do it without even thinking much about it. Other times we research the heck out of it, comparing all the features.
But oftentimes, it just comes down to what we like better.
Unfortunately, creative is not any different.
Clients (and us) have a tendency to respond to the one that they like the best.
Or they start asking other people which one they like …. even strangers on an airplane.
Not only does this make it harder to decide, but this method does little to ensure the success of the creative execution.
Two Factors More Important than Likeability
Before considering the likeability of the creative execution, the first thing to consider is the creative strategy.
It’s what the creative team was told to execute against.
It’s what the creative must accomplish to be successful.
So ask yourself how well does each creative option accomplish the creative strategy.
The second important question is does it appeal to the target audience.
Odds are you are not the target audience … nor is your client.
It’s important to put yourself in the shoes of the target audience, and everything you know about them … everything the research tells you about them.
And judge whether the creative execution will appeal to them.
Answer these two questions to narrow the creative down for your client and you will make the decision easier for your client.
Frame the Discussion
When it’s time to present the creative to your client, be sure to set the stage properly.
Take the time up front to remind the client of the objectives of the creative and who it is targeting.
Emphasize the creative strategy so everyone is on the same page and ready to review the creative through the appropriate filter.
Then when the discussion turns to comparing the options, make sure the comments are geared toward the audience and the strategy.
If the client is talking about his favorite, it may not be the best execution for the best results. It will be important to bring the comparison back into the proper context.
There’s Always an Exception
Keep in mind though, if all of the options are judged to be equally effective in appealing to the target audience and communicating the creative strategy, then the most popular option may be selected.
Or better yet, do some testing to remove all the guesswork.
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