Digital strategy is an ever-evolving process; something we’re always striving to be better and more efficient with. Deeper insight leads to stronger strategy; and both push for higher campaign ROI. The latest conference we attended at the 4A’s Learning Academy had some great takeaways on strategy. The presenter, Jurene Fremstad, shared thoughtful recommendations, especially when it comes to collaborating with clients for the best outcome.

The Path to “Aha Moments”

One of the topics focused on the most was that information doesn’t mean insight. From point A to point B there has to be work, and potentially bad ideas, to get to those amazing “aha moments.” That doesn’t mean data doesn’t help, it just means that’s not all you need. When the whole team works together, and shares info, the real ideas begin to form.

Client & agency collaboration helps bridge the knowledge gap, and allow the creative team to have good, innovative ideas.

1. Keep it Brief

Creative briefs are often anything but brief, and for no good reason in many instances. Lengthy descriptions, using business buzzwords and over-descriptive problems can lead to more confusion than information. Think “we’re looking to raise sales among women” vs. “moderately declining numbers within our targeted demographic have led us to seek business development within the female audience.” 

Yes, we’ve all been there, and we do all want to be descriptive enough to ensure everyone has a good grasp of the task at hand–but before you send that brief to the team, try asking yourself, “Could it be more brief?”

2. Limit Requirements

Within the brief itself, a simplified ask is always helpful to cultivate more creative and insightful solutions.

The more requirements given, the more people feel confined in the solutions they can offer. Instead of pushing someone to find strategic results, you may be limiting them to standard answers that easily fit into a long list of requirements.

3. Ask & Answer

Questions are a strategist’s superpower! Asking useful questions can unlock everything needed to find strategic answers, and positive results. The hard part about questions is knowing which are the best to ask. Interrogating may seem like a strong word, but the best way to understand the client ask is to ask lots of questions and get in-depth answers.

This process is definitely a team work item. Framing questions correctly is the agency task, and providing thorough answers is up to the client. And there may be multiple rounds as new ideas and new research is surfaced. Don’t feel like this should be limited only to the start.

4. Research, and More Research

To quote the conference directly, “Research [is] a tool that strengthens all of your brains.” When timelines are tight, research is something that doesn’t always get the time and effort it deserves. 

A simple way to keep research at the forefront of strategy is to do a quick assessment of what types would be useful for a project. Is this something that needs primary research, or is secondary research readily available? How can qualitative and quantitative data each help with insight and ideas?

A good process needs parameters to ensure efficiency and organization. At the same time, research, facts, and observations should have flexibility to match different project needs and limitations.

Great insight has clarity, meets the project need, and understands why the consumer would be driven to an intended outcome. We’re here to make connections, unlock opportunity, and promote action. In basic terms, strategy meets clarity and makes us all think, “Aha!”

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