The briefs we are getting from clients increasingly challenge us to achieve more with lower (or even reduced) budgets, and the business environment is tightening all around. The positive aspect of this is that we are driven to change our thinking, especially in how we devise our creative output, by looking at the total sum of the game and how to approach and get attention from our target audiences, but always carefully avoiding eye-catching gimmicky ideas that are lacking in content.
I can't say all creative people in advertising are capable of adapting themselves. But from where I sit, those who can embrace the new tougher climate will go further and get respect from clients and from within the advertising industry. I have noticed many clients love creative people who can talk their language, but of course from their different viewpoint and perspective.
It has always been vital that creative people really understand the total picture for the brand and totally consider the insights and research that are embedded within the campaign strategy at the outset, but now more than ever.
Without this understanding, creative people tend to conceive ideas that are "of the moment" and lacking in relevance, and that don't really get through to the head and heart of the consumer, and those in this category might quickly find themselves out of the hunt. But seriously, it is very important for our whole team to learn from real life feedback, and when I reflect over our less successful campaigns, they've nearly always come about through a lack of market study at the outset to find the key value that can connect us to the consumer's life.
Some times, it is good anyway to struggle hard within the team in a "creative destruction" process to find the idea that can form the market opportunity for the brand to get through. But the idea will be bigger if it contains some big value to connect to life and can subvert the market in some way. Then for sure it's not just a creative gimmick anymore.
Another important aspect of making ideas happen is ingenuity. How can we find a new way or medium to put the idea out there; how can we make one baht look like two baht; how can we turn something upside down to double the impact. Because a great idea can be a product of reason, but also more often is a product of "unreason". This process is notoriously difficult to generate or control and is, I believe, the heart of the balancing act that is producing creative advertising that works for the client.
You yourself don't have to let responsibility for ideas begin and end with your creative agency - you may be missing the larger picture. An example of cross-discipline thinking is where one of our creative people got an idea from talking to a member of a client's sales force.
These are people we always listen to and respect, as they are often the main conduit linking the brand with the consumer, (though even for us, it's not that common to see a creative person holding a constructive dialogue with a salesperson). But, of course, the sales force understands a great deal about their market and are in touch every day with their prospect target. So, in this case, the saleswoman related how she convinced and closed a sale of mascara to her customer by putting over the message
"with this one you can cry hard and you don't mess up your mascara - you'll still be beautiful". We used this idea for the campaign to relaunch the product and widen its market. In this case the idea didn't come from us but we were rather the "idea recogniser".
In conclusion, if client and agency are good partners in studying the market together, in order to gain real meaningful insight and fix a clear strategy, then this is the way forward to create long-term value for your brand and inspire loyalty to it.