“Should creative teams have complete freedom to explore ideas.”
No, they don’t want a blank canvas.
A “blank canvas” means the creative team has to figure out where to start, where to go, what to say.
Do you think DaVinci could have painted Mona Lisa without a subject from which to work?
The creative team would really like a well-crafted messaging strategy. One that provides insight about the target audience and the situation. A strategy that defines who is the competition for the messaging. One that’s clear about what the creative is intended to accomplish.
It shouldn’t say – “do this.” Those are handcuffs. That throttles creative freedom.
It should describe what’s going on in the target audience’s world that our product or service would impact. It should present a pain point or a desire that the target has that the creative team can work with. It should help the creative understand what is already in the mind of the target about the category we work in. And what perceptual barriers might exist about our offering that the creative might need to manage. It should help the creative understand what is the emotional response desired from the target. And the single most important thing our offering does or has to support that response.
It should also describe the business situation that is behind the need for the creative and what you hope to have happen when the target sees/experiences the creative.
Do those things well, offer them with thought, provide the creative team a story about the target and situation with those elements, and you will have the guidance for which a creative team thirsts. Not a blank canvas. A canvas with the subject matter from which to work in front of them
Create opportunities for better creative. Go to Get Better Creative and learn about the workshop where, in one day, your team will become marketing communications rock stars. Talk with Dave Hamel, Principal of Get Better Creative and lead of the American Marketing Association’s “Successfully Managing the Creative Process” about how creative strategy gets you better creative: Dave@getbettercreative.com 312.623.5567