If you’re looking to develop your first creative campaign, this article is for you. I remember how lost I was when I first started doing it. To begin the topic, I would first like to define what stands behind the word “creative campaign.” Now, just to be sure, when I’m talking about that syntagm “creative campaign”, I want to be sure we’re on the same page about its meaning. A creative campaign is a form of an in-depth brief. Here at Kontra agency, we like to call it “Creative mass” as well. 

An image of a creative hand made camera out of cardboard illustrating a creative mass

A creative campaign is a form of an in-depth brief, a form of creative mass, as we like to call it in Kontra agency

A creative director is a person who usually manages & leads a creative campaign, and it’s traditionally created for one of two reasons: 

  1. Either a client your agency’s already working with asks for it or
  2. You create a creative campaign as a part of the preparation for a sales pitch

It’s one of the things which must be done while preparing a pitch. Besides a creative campaign, for a complete pitch, your team will need to create an elaborate timeline, budget distribution, and other technical specifications. But, right now, I want to introduce you to several tips & tricks. These will help with managing effective creative campaigns or creative concept as some call it. 

#1 Where to start? 

The first thing to bear in mind while creating a creative campaign is the most important thing about it. And that’s WHY are you doing it? The answer to this question can’t be: “Because someone asked/ordered me to.” It should be something like: “I want to raise brand awareness for my (or my client’s) brand.”

Now, another thing to bear in mind is that that brand awareness campaigns are the easiest to conduct. If your targeted audience sees the content you created for some number of times, your brand awareness will go rise. On the other hand, if you want to increase sales, your concept should be a lot more sly. A fun, exciting idea just won’t suffice here. 

An image of couple of avocados, illustrating a begining

Sometimes, it’s hardest to know where to begin

But in that last sentence is also the answer to the question of this subtitle. You should start with the idea. That idea can be one of two things: 

  1. An already prepared idea that needs adjusting to your brand or country
  2. A completely new idea you’re developing from scratch. 

The first case generally happens when we’re talking about a big brand with an international presence. If that’s the case, your job is considerably eased because it’s a lot harder to miss the essence of the brand for which you’re creating the campaign. Now, we’ve reached PROtip #1: Get to know the brand before you start doing something resembling a creative campaign. So, if you find yourself amid the first case, you’re in luck. All you need to do is develop a creative concept based on the audience for which your preparing the concept. And here, we have a PROtip #2: Be sure to know your brand’s audience. Although that’s a more straightforward case, it not to underestimate, not by any means. 

#2 No such thing as two same examples

Finally, we reach the second case. I’ve already talked about how there’s no ultimate originality in my previous blog post. But, what this latter case requires is a new, fresh “topic” your audience will be interested in, and engaged with. Again, the big idea for the creative concept shouldn’t be developed if you (and your team) are not entirely familiarized with the brand you’re aiming to represent. As I already stated in the PRO tip #1.

An image of two avocados representing difference between two different avocados

There’s no such thing as two identical examples

I’ve been in a situation where I was working for a multinational company which had everything strictly regulated. I mean, everything. They’ve sent us around seven different guideline books with every single detail precisely defined. I’ve never seen such a thing before. The reason I stated this example is because something similar can happen to you, and your team as well. This is the part of creative work where you need to be precise and analytical. Just as if you’re working your company’s bills. In these cases, your creative potential will truly be challenged. On the other hand, if you get the opportunity to do basically whatever you want, make sure you seize it and enjoy. 

#3 Width is the key

Before I move on, I would like to state that creative campaign (or concept) is not a final product. A creative campaign represents the overall idea. That idea should be unique to the extent that you can draw all sorts of different pieces from it. So bear in mind my next PROtip #3: When forming the idea, make it a more general one. I can imagine this tip needs some practical explanation.

An image of couple of objects illustrating the idea versatility

Make sure your idea is versatile, don’t limit yourself from the start

So here it is: If you’re trying to create a creative concept for, let’s say, a furniture company. The goal for that company might be, they want to characterize their brand as if they’re specialized for families. They might produce other furniture as well, but they’ve noticed a market opportunity for home furniture designed for new, young families, and that’s how decided to communicate their brand for the following time. Now, if your idea is something that can be tied to the word family such as “love”, you will have a lot fewer problems later on. But if you decide for your idea to be something a lot more specific such as, let’s say, fine craftsmanship (of that furniture), everything you will communicate through your campaign will have to be connected to that, fairly narrow idea.  

Ok, this idea is a pretty straightforward one, but I think you get the gist of it, and that’s most important for now. 

#4 Creative campaign. Why Bother? 

With the arrival of digital marketing, everybody got the opportunity to advertise. I’m talking about advertising on social media, of course. How much does it cost? You can find that out through one of our previous blogs. Although social media advertising prices vary, the overall cost is still similar. Social media advertising is still pretty much affordable.

An image of a bunch of food illustrating all sorts of different ideas

It doesn’t matter what you come up with, as long as it brings results

So, if we take into account that everybody can advertise, a lot of companies actually will. What does that mean for you? It’s going to be that much harder to swim out from the crowd. That’s where a creative campaign comes in. These kinds of campaigns are usually called SBCC campaigns which stands for “Social and Behaviour Change Communication. They are designed precisely for that, for creating the consistency of communication across the channels you’re planning to use. We will all rarely forget a campaign we thought was fun and clever. And if you ask me, it doesn’t matter what you come up with, as long as it brings results. 

#5 Who’s in charge? 

Now, the essential trait of any sound creative campaign is for it to be organized appropriately. Usually, when you’re looking to host a more elaborate creative campaign, it’s advisable to include as many different people as possible. And in the situation in which you have a team of people working on a project, somebody should organize and lead them. That someone is usually what you would call a creative director. It’s the task of a creative director to manage the people, and maybe even more importantly, the steps of reaching the final shape of a creative campaign.

An image of a lot of different vegetables illustrating people of different profiles

Try to develop your creative concept with as many different profiles of people as possible

Now, since I already mentioned people, I will give you another PROtip #4: Try to construct your team out of as many different people profiles as possible. Especially today, when the majority of marketing campaigns are, at least partly digital, you should, for example, have a person familiarized with the details such as web processes. Technical requirements of your idea as well. And thus, we reach another PROtip #5: Even the best idea is unusable if it’s not executable. General obstacles are: 

  • exceeding the budget
  • overestimating your team’s capacity
  • overly complicated concept
  • too complicated technical conditions
  • the tight schedule for campaign preparation
  • not enough time to display the idea in the time provided for the campaign

#5 Time, prerequisites, technicalities 

The prerequisite for any creative campaign concept is a creative brief. The creative brief is a short (usually not longer than two pages) written document. A creative director is a person in charge of developing a creative brief. Either that or the client. In both cases, the client should give some input on what did they have in mind. What do they want? The brief a creative director delivers is based on that input.

An image of an avocado pit, half the avocado, and a whole avocado as a illustration of a creative brief and creative campaign.

The prerequisite for any creative campaign concept is a creative brief.

When it comes to the time frame, a creative campaign development could last anywhere from a couple of days up to two months. That part depends on the size of the campaign, a number of channels and platforms, and of course, the efficiency of the creative director and his team. If, on the other hand, you simply don’t have the people, and resources to conduct all of this, you can turn to professionals

In my next blog post, I will guide you through the steps of developing a creative campaign. 




Tibor Trupec

Music and travel enthusiast. Creative Director at Kontra & the blog editor. Through his years-long experience, he's been working with clients such as Jameson, Absolut, Goodyear, Karcher & many more.