The Inextricable Relationship between Great Strategy and Winning Creative

There’s an old expression “there’s method to our madness” which aptly captures the relationship between a great strategy and winning creative ideas.

Apt, because it rightly recognizes that when the brand’s foundational thinking is solidly authentic, the confidence to express its creatively only grows.

And so, it should come as no surprise then that the best creative minds are strategic, much as the best strategic minds are ever mindful of the creative potential of their strategies.

Great strategy lives at the happy intersection of two things: a brand’s logical reason to believe (its authentic essence) and a brand’s ability to inspire people to act (human essence).  The answer is never one, or the other, it’s always both.  And when you find that leveragable insight that connects the two, the magic happens.

And the smile inducing sales curves are never far behind!

Perhaps this is why a Creative Director I admired always talked about great ideas delivering two gifts; the first gift telling people something unique about the product.  And the second, doing so in a way that tells the customer something about themselves.  Something that challenged them, made them think – or simply made them smile.

The strategic/creative partnership to enable such ideas is even more important in our digital world where anyone is free to grab your brand idea and run with it.

Think about that!

In the old days, the creative department lived inside the agency.  But in today’s collaborative world, the creative department is everybody.  It’s consumers moved to take your idea and parody it.  It’s people within your organization inspired to innovate on the brands’ behalf.  It’s suppliers, so understanding your strategic intent, that they are actually bringing you ideas.

This is what creates true acceleration.  And all because, through an inspiring creative expression of an authentic strategy, you’ve created something people want to contribute to.

We experienced this phenomenon first-hand when we created the “We All Play for Canada” platform for Canadian Tire.  We saw it inspire people to share our Wheels” commercial over 4 million times.  We saw it in dealer participation at record levels.  We even saw it reflected in the company’s stock price.

I’ve always thought of the best creative ideas as intellectual architecture.  They take values and hopes and needs - things we cannot see - and organize them across a solid foundation of authenticity, upon which the creative ideas can build.

The stronger the foundation, the greater heights its creative expressions will take you.

It’s that simple - exactly what makes it so hard.

Catherine Frank and I (ourselves a 20 year partnership of strategic and creative excellence) will be expanding upon this critical relationship between strategy and creativity at a CMA seminar on November 28th entitled “The Strategic Method Behind Winning Creative.”  Having witnessed the Campaigns of the Year, Grand Cassie sales results and Client of the Year honours that have resulted from it, it is a topic we will talk passionately about.

If you are a client feeling there’s more potential in your brand to express its authentic self, a strategist looking for a new perspective on inspiring better ideas, or a creative person hoping to begin your next creative presentation with something more meaningful than “I saw this cool technique the other day”, then click here to learn more.

We hope to see you there.


Neil McOstrich
Co Founder/Chief Storytelling Officer
Cleansheet Communications

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