by Rebecca Kappel, Strategy Director
Creative strategy is a lot like moving a couch
No, really, stick with me.
Can you move a couch by yourself? No.
Can you push a couch through a doorway that’s too small? No.
Even if you are really strong? Still No.
Can you move a couch without knowing where you are moving it to? No.
Is everyone strong enough to carry a couch? No.
Do you sometimes have to take the legs off the couch, even if it’s a hassle? Yes.
If you don’t have the right screwdriver and you cut the legs off the couch to get it down to the basement, do you then have to prop it up on bed risers and every time you go to move it, you have to re set up the risers? Yes. (What, TMI?)
Teamwork makes the dreamwork, as they say. Bringing together different perspectives and experiences ALWAYS yields a better result. It’s sometimes uncomfortable and scary, and omigoshiwishicoudljustgetitdone, but your solo product will NEVER be as good as what your team can produce. At Jager Boston, we rely on our varying skills and perspectives. We call it collective genius and we believe so strongly in it that we reorganized our structure to make the best use of that genius. Every client and every project benefits from the minds behind our brand and digital strategy, creative development, and content generation teams.
Can you push a couch through a doorway that’s too small? Even if you are really strong?
Force can only get you so far. Full knowledge of the parameters and desired results of a project are what determines a truly successful outcome. Even the most brilliant creative won’t move the needle if its not laid in front of the right audience. Our brand and digital strategy teams use thoughtful precision to determine the who, what, where and why for our clients. And then our creative team recovers that couch. (What? Too literal?)
Can you move a couch without knowing where you are moving it to?
It would be really, really stupid to pick up a couch without knowing where you were setting it down. Your would be exhausted before you were even halfway done. Knowing what determines success before you start a project is critical. That definition of success can be as small or grandiose as it needs to be. For a postcard advertising an event, success can be defined by event attendance mapped to a unique URL on that card. For a large scale brand campaign, success could be measured by multiple Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and overall market share growth measured by preference and awareness surveys. No matter how big or how small, this definition should guide both tactical strategy and creative execution.
Is everyone strong enough to carry a couch?
I wouldn’t ask my mom or my middle schooler to pick up the other end of my couch, no matter how much I dearly love them (middle schoolers- ugh). Picking the right partner, with the right capabilities, is critical to achieving your best execution. That word “partner” is really important. A partner is invested in the business. When any employee becomes a partner in a company, their perspective changes. They are more likely to have a full understanding of the greater good, sacrifice their own agenda, and remain conscious of the bottom line. This is how we approach client relationships at Jager Boston, as true partners.
Do you sometimes have to take the legs off the couch, even if it’s a hassle?
It would be SO MUCH EASIER if you didn’t have to unscrew all of those legs and then reattach them ten minutes later. But without that step, you would accomplish nothing. A willingness to let go of pre-existing opinions and assumptions allows for freedom of strategic and creative thought. Take a step back. Pull things apart. Ask why. Maybe we can’t effect change. But maybe we CAN. And, hey, sometimes the legs break off the couch. Sometimes you have to head in a direction you didn’t expect or don’t even agree with. Reanalyzing and reassessing should be part of every project. Something not working? Fix it.
If you don’t have the right screwdriver and you cut the legs off the couch to get it down to the basement, do you then have to prop it up on bed risers and every time you go to move it, you have to re set up the props?
Long boring story. To summarize. If you don’t do it right the first time, you’ll spend the next few years wishing you did.
Of course, this theory only works if you truly understand the purpose behind both the “yes” and the “and…”. As they say, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Give and take goes hand and hand with creative development. And when that is well managed and friendly, the end product is focused, beautiful and effective.