“I don’t like it”
Evaluating something that someone else made is easy right? You hear a song and it either appeals to you or it doesn’t. It doesn’t matter how long the musicians worked on the song or what their intentions were when they wrote, performed, recorded and produced it… the fact is, you don’t like it and that’s all that matters.
Did you ever think that maybe the song isn’t for you?
I’m willing to bet that, if you’re reading this blog, you probably don’t like many- if any – of the current top ten songs but they’re still top ten songs. They aren’t for you. You aren’t the target of that music. Our first reaction to our first encounter of anything is very personal and very primal. It has to be because we look at things through our own eyes.
The trick however, especially when evaluating communications that are intended for specific groups of people is to be completely objective– to separate ourselves from any preconceptions and personal preferences and aversions.
As a critic of commercial creative, you have to measure the value of the message from the perspective of the audience for whom it was intended!
Easier said than done, we know.
Here are some tips that can help you be objective, and ultimately more effective, with your brand’s communications as you evaluate creative projects like advertising, web sites, logos, copy writing, signs and more:
✔ Does the creative address the correct target?
Often times brand owners are not even part of their own potential market segment.
It’s important to look at creative through the lens of the actual audience.
✔ Does the creative address established criteria?
Prior to developing criteria your brand should develop a marketing mission and positioning statements
that define all creative projects henceforth.
✔ Will the creative evolve with the brand?
Can you envision the creative presented growing and succeeding with effective support and promotion? Often times knee-jerk reactions to creative are regretted years later when identities or campaigns turn out to be wildly successful.
✔ Does the design adhere to the brand standard?
If there is a guide that defines brand art, color, typography and style, does the project you’re
evaluating follow those rules? If it doesn’t, is there a good reason?
✔ If there is no brand standard, is the project creating one?
If no formal or informal style guide exists for the brand, then is the project that you’re evaluating sufficiently organized enough to develop a standard for future projects like this or even for an entire campaign or brand?
✔ Does the project exceed market and competitive research examples?
Hopefully you’ve looked at what the competition is up to in your market and beyond before uttering the words, “I don’t like it.” A real objective analysis will actually compare the creative using an existing barometer of success or failure. If it’s far superior to a successful brand’s similar offering does it really matter that you personally dis-like it at first blush?
✔ Does the project effectively advance the brand?
Does the work that you are evaluating successfully bring the brand to another level? Does it surpass what has been done previously by the brand in similar efforts? If it far surpasses earlier creative by the same brand, does it really matter that your initial emotion wasn’t love?
✔ Is the goal reached?
VFC is an objective-focused agency and we’re of the opinion that all creative should be developed with a specific goal in mind. Before we begin the development of any creative we author a creative brief that, among other things, defines a goal. If the creative successfully reaches the goal for the brand, does it really matter that anyone on the planet Earth doesn’t like it?
If you’ve hired a professional, like VFC, to execute the creative then it’s very likely that there is a reason why they’ve done things the way that they have and sometimes it’s just best to trust the pros. Do you inject a lot of opinion into the way the landscapers landscape your office, the plowman plows your drive or how the plumber plumbs your pipes?
In the end, VFC recommends addressing each project with your most thoughtful objective critique and that you offer careful, detailed feedback that is accurate for the project, or your project could end up like this.
Backed by years of solid agency experience, Virtual Farm Creative, Inc., specializes in executing complete branding campaigns from a 150-year-old, high-tech renovated farmhouse in the heart of Chester County, Pennsylvania. Focused on reaping results for clients, Virtual Farm’s services include strategic marketing, advertising and branding featuring the development of Internet presences, multimedia presentations, sales and promotional materials, corporate identity, copy writing, original illustration, collateral and commercial photography. For more information call 877-GROW ART or visit Virtual Farm Creative, Inc. on the web at www.virtualfarm.com.