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Why Creative Discovery Sessions Matter and How to Conduct One

By Jenna Bruce on Fri, Jul 17, 2020 @ 02:25 PM |


What is the real point of advertising? On first thought many business owners might say, “To generate revenue.” But that’s not the actual reason we advertise.

Advertising is ultimately what connects your brand with consumers. Your ads, whether print or digital, are bits of creative messaging that guide your target prospect through your overall sales funnel, persuading them little by little to trust you and, yes, to finally give you their hard-earned money.

In reality, this is no easy task. Connecting with consumers, who are bombarded nearly 24/7 with brand messaging, isn’t a magic trick. It’s a process – a little bit science and a whole lot art. In fact, advertising mogul William Bernbach believed that advertising is persuasion, and that persuasion is not a science but an artform. Therefore, advertising is the art of persuasion.

Again, many marketers focus on numbers and give little attention to their creatives. But it is the creativity of your ad that will ultimately persuade people. Consumers aren’t moved to action through cost points and product descriptions; they are moved with emotions that speak to their lives and pain points.

And this is where creative discovery sessions come into play. Through the discovery session, marketers can deeply understand their own brand, their advertising goals, and the audience they are trying to connect with. Only by completing this process can you hope to develop campaigns with the highest chance of succeeding.

If you’ve never conducted a creative discovery session, here are some things to keep in mind:

Answer Some Important Questions

You need to be armed and ready when you go into a brainstorming session. Be sure to answer the following questions prior to starting:

WHY are You Conducting the Session?

What is your overall intent? Are you focusing on rebranding? Are you updating old creatives? Are you trying out new channels? It’s not enough to simply convene in your conference room, eating copious amounts of carbohydrates you ordered in from your local coffee shop. You’ve got to set your intentions before going in.

WHAT are Your Goals?

Whatever intentions you came up with in your first question, these should now dictate your overall goal with your creatives. For instance, you may want to generate one new multi-channel creative concept. Then again your goal may be to come up with 25 new static image ideas or outline an explainer video script.

The second WHAT to keep in mind during your session is WHAT are the constraints or parameters you are working within? You may need to answer a questions like, “WHAT is our budget and will it allow us to have a professional photographer take 25 branded images, or do we need to go the stock image route?”

HOW Long Should Your Discovery Session Last?

The answer will differ for each company. We typically spend anywhere from one to five hours with our clients. Creative sessions can be very fun. But be sure not to let other tasks fall by the wayside.

WHO Should be a Part of These Sessions?

You’ll want to get a diverse set of perspectives for these creative discovery sessions. It’s a good idea to have someone who represents the C-level players as well as a member to represent your various departments. You never know where that bright idea or amazing concept will come from. Just be sure the people you invite are all on the same page when the session begins.

Once you have answered all of these questions you’re ready to begin brainstorming. Here are some things to keep in mind to help you successfully maneuver through your session.

What is Your UVP?

Your unique value proposition is what sets you apart from your competition. What is the actual value your brand and product or service offers consumers? What emotional effect (if any) does your brand have on your audience? How are you better than your competition? Be as specific as possible.

Get Visual

When your discovery team has agreed on your UVP, it’s time to think about how you can best communicate your value visually. You can use videos, static images and even GIFs in your marketing. Just be sure whatever you choose aligns with your UVP and your overall ad goals.

Study Your Past

It’s always a good idea to look through some of your top performing ads to see what insights you can uncover. What ads performed the best? What creatives worked with different audience demographics?

Get Inspired

There are many brands out there that are creating compelling ad campaigns. What ads have you responded to lately? Look in magazines, newspapers, Facebook ads and banner ads. Have everyone on your team bring in ads they got excited about.

Make Smart Choices (and Take a Vote)

The brainstorming has been fun, but now you’ve got some important decisions to make. Which ad concept(s) will you get started on and which will you table for now? Let everyone on your team vote for the concept/strategy that excites them the most.

You will most likely find after a vote you are still left with the top 2 or 3 ideas. That’s fine, simply select the one that most aligns with your goals/intentions as well as fits into your constraints and parameters.

Final Suggestions

The entire key to these brainstorming sessions is to balance the freedom of your imagination with practicality of budget and other resource constraints. If you prepare your team beforehand, set goals and intentions, redefine your value proposition, and aren’t afraid to borrow inspiration from other brands, you stand an excellent chance of creating an ad campaign that delivers.

Need some help with your creatives? From concept to market, we can help you with every stage of the creative process. Call or email us today and let’s get started.

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