How to evaluate creative ideas
When so much pressure falls on having an original idea, it can be hard to know which one to pursue when there are lots of options on the table.
One of the hardest things for a client to do is to respond to the ideas that a video agency has pitched. So how do you evaluate these ideas to see whether they’re right for your brand?
We share 7 questions to ask yourself when appraising creative ideas:
1. Is the idea on brief?
A good place to start is assessing whether the idea is on brief. By this, we mean does the idea directly relate to the message you want to communicate.
Let’s imagine we’re Nike for a moment, and we want to create a ‘Just Do It’ ad to inspire young people to strive to be the best that they can be. That’s the brief, which can be executed in a million different ways: like the ad with LeBron James, or the one with Serena Williams. Whilst these ads are executed differently, they both relate to the same brief and the same overarching goal.
So take a moment to make sure that the creative idea is responding to your brief. If it doesn’t, take a moment to check in with your brief to make sure that it’s as clear as it can be.
2. Does it communicate your key message in a simple way?
Make sure that the idea isn’t too complicated, you don’t want your audience to walk away scratching their heads wondering what that was all about. If the idea needs to be explained, or doesn’t come across straight away, then your message might get lost on your viewers.
3. Does the idea tell audiences something about your brand?
Think about whether or not the idea connects on an emotional level with your brand. Does it inspire positive feelings towards your brand, and does it align with your brand tone of voice?
You want to make sure your brand is authentically represented, and the video is endowed with your values and culture, to make sure that viewers learn something about who you are and what you stand for.
4. Does the idea relate to your target audience?
Who are your target audience and is this idea relevant to them? To make sure that your video is durable, it must be rewatchable and shareable. That means making sure that it relates to your target audience and entertains them. Think about what emotion you want them to feel. Does this idea offer them something to take away?
5. Is the idea distinctive?
When thinking about how to evaluate creative ideas and pitches, it’s worth asking yourself if the idea is distinctive.
Is the idea original, and does it stand out against your competitors?
In a cluttered social media landscape, will something about this idea grab viewer attention?
Has it been done before, and will the idea remain salient after multiple views?
6. Is it deliverable?
Time to think more practically. Is the idea actually deliverable in terms of budget? Whilst practicality can often stifle creativity, it’s important to look at the bigger picture and find creative solutions. It’s also worth assessing whether or not the idea is campaignable and if you’d want to put media spend behind it.
7. What is your emotional response to it?
Finally, it’s important to establish what your gut reaction is. Do you like the idea? Does it resonate with you? Does it make you feel queasy or unsure?
Talking to your agency
To get a deeper understanding of the origin of each idea, it’s worth asking your agency:
- Where did the idea come from?
- How did you come up with it?
- Why do you think it will be successful?
Their answers will help you ascertain whether or not they’ve fully engaged with your brand values and understand what you want to communicate. It’s essential to make sure that you and your agency are aligned when it comes to what constitutes “a good idea”. Their answers may also unlock some new ways to further develop or improve the ideas they’re pitching, and give you an indication of which ones they are the most passionate about and think are the most promising.
If nothing feels right, perhaps they need to go back to the drawing board and come up with some more ideas. Or maybe the brief needs to get fleshed out some more. Either way, keep an open mind and remember that coming up with creative ideas is not a science. However much we would all love to have an ‘idea machine’ that reliably churns out infallible ideas – creative thinking comes from making connections between abstract notions like brand values and culture, and conceptualising them into tangible stories that evoke emotion. If the right idea hasn’t been found yet, more connections need to be made – which just means they need to continue to delve into your brand and your key messaging.
Put your feet up
Once you’ve selected an idea, it’s time to turn it into a reality. Now it’s time to relax and acknowledge that you’ve done everything you can to nurture the idea and let it flourish. Your agency will be there to help you take the idea from concept to completion.