Our Creative Agreement has nine distinct sections. Let’s take a quick look at each of them.
What is the business objective of this deliverable or set of deliverables? For example, “Create a new brand identity for Vera Reed’s Vegan Restaurant.” This is a functional objective.
The poke is the initial pain point or spark of ambition that sets the client in motion. For Vera’s restaurant, it may be “A desire to profitably share a life-long love of plant-based cooking.”
Situations usually give rise to problems or opportunities. In this second step, we always take the negative path: “What is the problem here? What do we need to solve? What’s getting in our way?” Why not “go positive?” Because even with a great opportunity, effort must be expended in order to capitalize on it. Describe that effort briefly. Our restaurateur Vera is located in a place famous for steaks and barbecue: For her business, the problem sounds like, “Vegetarian food in this locality is perceived as “healthy but boring,” or even in an adverse political light.”
This element of the Agreement is probably the most tricky to figure out. This is the pivot point of your situation. You’re attempting to capture a behavior-based reality that you can flip to your brand’s advantage. What is it about the current situation and the problem that it poses that affects human behavior? What behavior do you wish to change? What strength or capability do you wish to exploit? In Vera’s case, its “Ardent meat-eaters often find Vera’s cuisine surprising, fulfilling, and delicious.”
This is our “functional solution” for the problem. How can we take what we know from The Perception, and use it to achieve our goal? Here’s an example from Vera Reed’s Vegetarian Restaurant: “Vegetarian skeptics think they know all they need to know about vegetables. Vera’s will incorporate surprise and discovery in flavorful ways to make converts.”
Now that you’ve described the problem and the functional approach, how are you going to render it? What’s the concept around it? Vera’s functional solve says they’ll introduce vegetarian food in a way that incorporates “surprise and discovery.” What does that look like? What does it sound like? Here’s a possible way to capture that: “Vera’s brand will utilize the darker, richer colors of nature, and a sense of sensuality, intrigue, and secrecy to convey the undiscovered nature of vegetarian cuisine to those who have rarely tried it.”
Sum it Up
The Creative Agreement is usually used as a kickoff or instructional document for creative team members. It’s their blueprint, along with strategy documents, used to create everything from brand materials to websites to social media content. The “Sum It Up” section pushes the ship out to sea, and it should do so in the right direction. This is your chance to set the flavor for the creative. The biggest challenge with this section is that clients often think it’s recommended copy. It isn’t! It’s only intended to capture the spirit of the creative output to come.
This area provides space to list all of the tactical deliverables that should fall under this creative approach. If you are part of a team obligated to develop a new brand, and subsequently a new website and social media content, you’d want to list those here.
Although a positioning statement is its own exercise, including an approved positioning here can be invaluable for copywriters and designers producing the work. It’s also helpful for clients to refer to when evaluating work during presentations. So often, positioning statements and other strategic work gets completed but not utilized as the tools they were meant to be. Including a positioning statement here allows it to fulfill one of the reasons for which it was created.