Creative people are typically problem solvers. We non-creatives tend to think they stare at a blank page as if a Sisyphean obstacle. But they’re creative. Their brains boil over with ideas. They love a blank page/screen.
Strategists think we help creatives by giving them direction. Stimuli. A subjective hand. Well, more often than not they don’t want it.
I recently sat through a Sweathead preso where Aisha Hakim, a creative director at 72 and Sunny, told hundreds of planners not to write longwinded briefs. In fact, she said don’t write briefs at all. She doesn’t use them. I get her POV. The longer the wind, the more the blank page isn’t blank. Confusion may reign. Her advice, if I got it correctly, identify a problem, explain why you’re the solution, and drop the mic. Let the creatives go.
Is there a happy medium? Yes. It’s called the client. Creatives in advertising or do have a daddy. The client. The person who approves the work. Without a client and money to spend a creative is an artist.
So, sell the brand strategy to the client well before the work begins. Prepare the client for a value proposition that is business-winning and make sure they believe it. It is about them, after all. Then let them be the arbiter of the work. Brand planning must take place up stream.
Don’t tell creatives how to do their jobs. Share the business winning framework with them, give a hint or two, then get out of the way. Let them thrive. And let the client be the client.