In order to maintain creative integrity when discussing concept ideas with your client, it's paramount to listen to what they are not saying. The art of listening has long been deemed as the key to success in any sales situation. And that is very true. The same is also true when selling creative and conceptual approaches to marketing professionals.
Developing creative concepts and advertising campaigns makes creative professionals part of the marketing profession. Although, there is a basic difference between marketing professionals and creative professionals. I'd like to be clear before going any further. Being creative or being a marketing professional, are not mutually exclusive. All professions need creative thinkers. However, in the context of this discussion, I am referring to creative professionals who are mandated on a daily basis to develop "creative" approaches to marketing challenges and initiatives. For all you creative types out there, you know that your creative mind works a little differently than most. It operates by thinking in visual and conceptual terms. This does not come naturally everyone. Creative thinkers are able to fit many subtle nuances and pieces of a puzzle together into a cohesive message that resonates to a core audience - all the while, making it easy on the eye!
Far too often when presenting creative concepts and programs to brand and marketing professionals, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain the creative integrity of the program. Here are a few tips to help that process:
Don't take feedback at face value: Often when receiving changes to the creative from a client, feedback is given in the form of direction. For example: Move this up, or move this down. Try to determine what is at the source of that direction. What does the client actually want to achieve?
Be prepared to educate: It's important for those of us who sell and more importantly, develop creative, to have an educational mandate as well. I have found the best results occur after I illustrate or "show" the client direction requested. This is when I show a different creative solution that resolves the issue.
Speak frankly: Far too often, the selling through of a creative takes over the creative integrity. When the creative goes into a direction that it was never intended to, it's success is in jeopardy. The program may also be in risk of not resonating with the intended audience. Clients expect your frankness. In fact, that is why you're at the table.