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Get Your Story Straight! | Guest post by Jan Sheeley from GA Creative

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Today’s consumers are exposed to a whirlwind of marketing campaigns – via the Internet, social media channels and e-mail, not to mention all of the advertising mediums that don’t fit neatly onto a computer or mobile phone. With each campaign, a company is working to further define its brand and differentiate itself from the competition. Yet, these companies frequently falter with their core message, muddying it with a lack of clear direction and challenging consumers to interpret what should be obvious. In today’s world of constant white marketing noise, the key to success is to get your story straight right at the beginning, before one pencil touches the copywriter’s paper or one key stroke is made on the designer’s computer.

The most effective way for marketers to truly connect with their audiences and achieve outstanding results on a project is to start with a strong creative brief that elaborates a well-defined strategy. A tighter and more defined strategy will provide the opportunity to create an outstanding campaign. While some creative minds feel that tight strategies limit the creative process, binding them before the process has even begun, the contrary is actually true. A clear and precise strategy will offer an open door to “big ideas,” allowing the creative team to concentrate on sharing the right message and not wasting time by dividing up efforts in multiple directions. Simply put: the idea is to define the strategy before executing the creative.

So how do you build a strong strategy? Looking at the definition is a starting point. Create an outline of what messages should be conveyed, to whom and with what tone. This provides the guiding principles for copywriters and art directors who are assigned to develop the creative content. Within the context of the project, any marketing tool that is then created should conform to that strategy and align with the defined messaging. This process goes by many names, but “discovery” covers the meaning exceedingly well. It is not an easy process, but hard work for any team.

After all, if you do not know who you are talking to, what they want to hear or when and where they want to hear it, how can you create anything?

Jan Sheeley, Director of Business Development for GA Creative
Jan works with GA clients to indentify business-building opportunities. With more than 15 years of experience in branding, advertising, and direct response, she quickly understands clients’ business objectives and helps clients prioritize initiatives. With an unwavering focus on campaign results, Jan delivers business insight on meeting sales and financial goals. Her work has earned local and national awards.

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