To be great, design needs a vision that pushes it forwards and keeps it focused. This vision is the combination of the brands positioning and it’s ambition. Expressed by an individuals creative philosophy which is the thing that (should) differentiate one agency from another.
Which is why the most important question a client can ask an agency is, ‘what’s your creative vision?’
Great digital creatives need to hone their own uncompromising philosophy or vision for digital creative design. And this is personal. It comes from experience and gut instinct. It is the one thing that can’t be written into a design program. And it will drive them to excel, to innovate, to avoid creative becoming formulaic. It will keep them up at night thinking about the work, because it is their own value system at play. This philosophy is the bar the designer sets themselves. This combined vision, the vision for the brand and the designer’s own vision, needs to be bought into, and it becomes the benchmark against which you judge the work.
The brand vision is obviously unique brand to brand and even project to project. For what it’s worth, here’s my creative philosophy, which has served me well, and you’ll see this in our work.
Customers don’t want to do what we want them to do. They won’t even do what they say they want to do.
They may come to a website looking to buy an ISA. They’ll find every reason not to buy. They may have set their heart on a new Citreon C4, but when it comes to actually paying, they’ll look for reasons to do it tomorrow. They may visit you looking for answers to a problem they’ve got, they may be just as relieved to throw their hands up and accept it’s just beyond them, today.
So if we want them to do what we want them to, they need tangible reasons to do so
If we want them to share their data with us we need to demonstrate the real, genuine value of sharing data with us. And if we want them to buy now, we need to make it easy for them to do so. Because they won’t read our copy, they won’t watch all of our video, they won’t even make it to the end of our headlines and what they do take in, won’t be absorbed in the linear way we imagine.
And here’s another thing. They aren’t as excited about digital technology as marketers are, in fact they are either so comfortable with it they are unimpressed, or they are a bit suspicious of it.
As marketers we have been dreaming of the possibilites that digital technology can offer us for decades. Even before there was such a thing as digital media.
And most importantly, everything a customer does, or we ask them to do, says something about them.
So imagine I’m your customer. if I’ve chosen to opt into boring emails, what does that say to me about me?
If persevere with a website that is confused and leaves me feeling lost, the small voice in the back of my head tells me that I don’t feel I deserve clarity.
If I can’t drive my own journey that means I don’t trust my own judgement.
If I share dull content in social media, how is that building the brand of me?
If I’m engaged with a brand that doesn’t bother to get to know me as an individual, that means I don’t believe I deserve better.
Asking the question ‘What does this say about me?’ ensures our designers stay customer focused. It means asking pertinent questions of the creative solution like ‘ what does the customer value’ and ‘who does the customer want to be?’ and most importantly, ‘why would a customer do this?’
‘What does it say about me?’ is a CRM philosophy. If customers see our digital experience adding real value, because we are enabling them to be who they want to be, they’ll see us as a credible source, and not only will they come back, they’ll tell their friends.
So what’s my vision for great digital design?
Simple. Be human.