Guest Blog: Creative eloquence will be key to surviving Covid 20-21

Simon Preece, CEO of Bigger & Better Things, shares his knowledge and thoughts on the need for eloquence and collaboration in the creative industry as we move into a new way of working, in our latest guest blog.

One thing I have been reflecting on in this period of enforced isolation is the massive change of work practices that will be required going forward in the marketing and creative industries. The new-normal will be less face-to-face meetings and more remote collaborations via Zoom or whatever your package of choice. Collaboration between creative teams to produce the work for clients and the process of creative review with clients will necessitate everyone having to work much more effectively to achieve great results. We fondly remember the old days when you could pin things up on a wall and point to things while scribbling post-it notes and appraising body language in the room when discussing the merits of the options.

Never has there been such a need for agency people and client marketing teams to be more creatively eloquent than now, and this skill will be much prized in the future. The art of communication and persuasive presentation will be taxed to its utmost in the new world of remote briefings and presentation meetings. People have evolved to become world class at screening out marketing messaging and as designers we have a duty to avoid adding to the mental burden people face, which is considerable at the moment.

Communication is always about how quickly people can just get it, with minimal explanation required. Our starting point should always be: what behaviour are we asking from people? And what triggers do we need to leverage to achieve it? Our briefs, where the visual senses are key, should be distilled into three simple things: what do we want people to see, feel and do? And the more specific we can be the better. Think about what we want people to do, and what might stop them from doing it. Then think about what we can do in our design work to aid simple processing, boost understanding and deliver visual fluency.

How well agencies manage the post Covid-19 crisis will be the same as for us as individuals. Those of us with underlying health conditions will be most at risk and those who do not change and adapt their practices will be more likely to succumb. History has shown us that in previous recessions, those who invest in the right things and take brave, decisive action generally come out stronger. So never has it been more important to do things differently; to be brave and innovative in the ways to seek to gain a competitive edge. Consequently, in my view, improving creative eloquence and the quality of creative output have to become key KPIs for businesses that want to achieve a competitive edge post Covid-19.

The area of behavioural science and the use of neuroaesthetic triggers, combined with evaluation data that can be provided from using the latest neuroscience research techniques, provides an amazing opportunity to help optimise creative delivery in a way that has not been previously possible. Yet our industry is slow to embrace them and is allowing clients to lead the way, when we should be leading.

Only a fraction of sensory information processed by the brain is processed consciously and the truth is 95% of decisions are driven by our non-conscious*. So, as creatives and strategists, we have three key jobs to do.

Firstly, we need to understand how to design communication that triggers understanding and generates the appropriate feelings and emotions required by the brand, in order to cut through, to ensure consideration and memorability.

Secondly, we have to be able to eloquently communicate the creative rationale in a way that is compelling to the clients.

Thirdly — and crucially — we need to equip our clients with the vocabulary and tools to help sell in the work and get more amazing ideas accepted. Ultimately, you need to ensure you can have richer and more meaningful creative conversations. To do this, we need to develop a vocabulary that enables clients to judge creativity with rational objectivity beyond subjective likes and dislikes. Help them present ideas with conviction at a distance from key stakeholders on the board. A better understanding of behavioural science can help us do this.

As we embrace the new-normal, forward thinking agencies and clients will look to invest in learning and development for their teams, to develop and hone their skill sets in the area of creative eloquence and in understanding what genuinely makes design more effective.

* Dr. Gerald Zaltman, Executive Committee of Harvard University’s Mind, Brain and Behaviour Interfaculty Initiative 2003

About Simon, CEO of Bigger & Better Things:

Simon consults with Wrapped’s CEO, Kate, and loves solving business problems by figuring out what makes people tick, and developing brand strategies and communication that changes behaviour.  Skilled at bridging strategy into persuasive creative execution, Simon is helping businesses that are at a tipping point in their development. Simon is an industry pioneer in the application of Neuro-Design, bio-aesthetics and sensory triggers in design, working with clients such as BBC iPlayer. He combines knowledge of behavioural science with the latest neuroscience research techniques to decode what makes brands effective at a non-conscious level. He’s answered questions such as “how do I get my brand to stand out and boost sales?,” How can I help people change their cleaning habits?,” and “How can I get people to notice my advertising?,” delivering commercially effective brand strategies as a result.

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