Creative concept and ideas
Has it ever happened to you that you started working with the intention of preparing a concept for your campaign, but could not find the right idea? Did you expect the idea to appear on its own? In fact, the process of developing your creative concept must be based on research and understanding of your key customers, communication channels and, most importantly, the goals you want to achieve with the concept.
A creative concept is the thing that helps you define the essence of your message. It is the basis for all your content and summarises everything you want to communicate. It is a tool that allows you to effectively convey the message of your campaign to your target audience.
How do we build a creative concept?
No matter what creative challenge you are taking you, quality research is the first and most important step in the process of developing your idea. For starters, you can check how your competition solves similar challenges. Thus, you will see what works for customers and what does not, and will be able to avoid similar mistakes yourself. At the same time, you will gather more information on your key customers, get to know them better, and thus more easily develop a concept that will address them. Of course, you want to be better than and as different from your competition as possible, so use their concepts only for learning, and never copy them.
It is also important to avoid guesswork and forecasts. Your concept must be based on high-quality research and facts. Data can be gather using surveys, in-depth interviews with stakeholder and observations of the current situation. This allows you to find the real problem – and only then can you offer a high-quality creative solution.
DEFINING THE PROBLEM
Once you’ve gathered enough information, try to define the problem you are attempting to solve. In doing so, consider the draft you received from the client, but try to keep in mind that you are the one with a broader picture and a view from the outside. You have done the research and you may also discover that the real problem is somewhere else entirely. Ask yourself, what challenges you will face in communication? Why does the client need this campaign and what is its goal? Wherein does the problem truly lie? Or, who has this problem? What are we expecting from the target customers at the end of the campaign? Our concept has to answer all these questions.
FREE TIME IS IMPORTANT
Many creatives claim that they come up with the best ideas when they retreat to nature, engage in sports or some other hobby. Allow all the information gathered to be mixed with your know-how and experience. Of course, this only applies if you have previously done high-quality research and gathered all the necessary information.
You know the facts, you have gathered enough information about the problem you need to solve… now you need ideas. If you work with a team, you can do this together. Gather as many interesting ideas as you can, link them together, and remove the ones you don’t find useful as soon as possible. This step requires maximum creativity.
Ask yourself, is the idea appropriate? Is it interesting, different and innovative? Will it match the client’s other communication? Will it work well in all segments of the campaign? What about on different communication channels? Is it even viable – how difficult will it be to implement? Keep your deadline and available budget in mind.
PLAN, DRAWINGS AND CONCEPT
Once you find the right idea, you can also start looking for the right images and the right tone of communication. For example, at this stage, an illustrator or designer will sketch, experiment and try out different techniques. He will explore some suitable options that they find interesting and familiarise themself with the challenge also from an artistic point of view. They will explore the shapes, choose colours, and develop a suitable style using quick sketches.
Only when you explore several options with sketches and find a suitable idea for implementation, do you start implementing your idea. This way, you can lay out the whole concept consistently and at the same time avoid unnecessary corrections, thus saving valuable time.
How to find good ideas?
For good ideas, we need creativity – a trait that is highly sought after in today’s world. Can it be developed? Or does it all depend on an individual’s personality?
How are creative ideas formed?
Ideas are, in fact, connections of different concepts into some new mental creations. We could say that creative ideas are the result of a kind of searching for a way to reach a goal. A composer is looking for a way to express their thoughts through song, a scientist is trying to explain some natural phenomena, and a designer is trying to improve a certain product with their design. In all cases, it is a matter of solving a problem or finding a way to reach the desired goal.
Very creative people think differently
We have a box in front of us, which we want to turn into something new. An averagely creative person will search for an idea related to the current function of this object. Maybe they will make several smaller decorative boxes, repaint it and rearrange it into a toy box, use it for a flower stand, or create something they have already seen in the past or in school as a child. Such ideas may still be creative, but they stay within the box. Such a person will associate the object with their memories, while their dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for rationality, analysis, and speech, will censor all crazy, strange ideas. But it is precisely these ideas that can prove to be the most interesting and creative.
On the other hand, a person with above-average creativity will look for ideas in a much broader sense, activating many more of their brain connections. They will think of all the things that the averagely creative person thought of, and much more. They will think of all sorts of boxes, how it would be like to hide in it, what it would be like to throw it in the air or set it on fire. They will also think of other varied objects that could be linked to the box in some way. While they are toying with all these idea in their mind, they can come up with all sorts of ordinary and crazy ideas. At the same time, their dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is not as active, so their self-censorship is reduced. They will not reject crazy ideas and will not be afraid of other people making fun of them. Above-average creativity is therefore the result of different connections in the brain.
Can we improve our creativity?
Who we are and how we think is actually a very big part of who we are. If we could radically change our thinking, it would probably mean that we become a completely different person. So you would also lose our positive characteristics. An uncreative accountant could thus lose their accuracy and the knack for numbers.
Nevertheless, we can slightly improve our process for generating creative ideas by learning from highly creative people. When such a person is looking for a creative idea, their thoughts will lead them to a variety of concepts that may not even be related to each other. Their idea will not occur because of the large amount of ideas they can generate, but because of the way they look at the problem and all the things their brain connects it with.
Allow us to help you with a few tricks:
- When you can’t find the right idea, open a thesaurus and choose a random word. Then try to connect your problem to that word. This will establish new connections with the goal – something that creative people do naturally.
- Go for a walk in nature, visit an exhibition or a theatre show, read a book, creative new connection in your brain, and allow them to connect to the problem you are trying to solve.
- Distance yourself from your goal and look at it from a different perspective.
- Give different instructions to the filter in your brain. Consciously reject conventional ideas and give an opportunity to those most bizarre and different.
- Never look for the best idea, as this will only limit you. Your ideas become even more conventional, and self-censorship becomes even stronger as you look for what has worked in the past. Specifically, we consider good ideas those that have already proven to be successful.
An individual’s creativity therefore depends on how their brain connections work. We can not change how these connections work, but we can learn to give a change to different, crazy, unconventional ideas, instead of rejecting them as soon as they appear.