As a freelance Creative Director, I get to see my share of creative solutions. Over the past few years I have noticed that the single most important component to great creative is Courage. At many agencies I have encountered the “it’s only a good ad if the client buys it” attitude. Although that may feed the bottom line, it will never take your agency to the next level.

Recently, at one agency I took the client brief and re-wrote it. I actually wrote 2 creative briefs. In the first, I treated it like the agency normally did. It wasn’t really a creative brief as much as it was a production brief. With the other creative brief I treated it like is was a new client. My briefs were then distributed to the 2 creative teams at the agency.

The results: group one working as they always did, produced a campaign on target with the client brief.

The other group pushed themselves (thinking it was a new business pitch for a client with very high creative standards). They created a new campaign that provided a completely new creative stance and executions. The result: the client was suffering from shock and awe after the presentation.

The lesson learned : agencies need to develop a more courageous response to client demands. Don’t just give the same solutions over and over. Be brave, try something “out of left field”. It will say something special about your agency and it will give your creatives the chance to demonstrate their Courage.

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