DMG Creative Process: Explore, Create, Succeed

With personal roots in the industry and over 21 years of agency creative experience, Dana Scheidegger, creative lead, discusses the DMG Communication creative process.

Q:  Get us into the mind of our creative team:  What do you need to even start the process?

A:  The first step in the creative process is gathering market research, analyzing target audience insights and understanding the problem or opportunity. At DMG, we put the right team together to articulate the problem, understand the market and our competitive differentiators. From there, we develop an array of creative approaches represented by key words, phrases and visuals.

Q:  Once you have gathered market insights and data, where do you turn next?

A:  Our most effective tool is having the best creative brief possible. We seek to answer:  what is the single most important thing we want our target audience to know or understand? Having a clear and concise understanding of the challenge leads to developing  the right graphics and message.

Q:  No idea is a bad idea. Tell me how you start developing creative ideas. Where do you get these ideas?

A:  Inspiration comes from everywhere and anyone.  We utilize mood boards or an ad lob where we find photos, sketches, graphics or copy that convey a mood or inspire an emotion. We generate visual samples to support the big idea. Another thing we like to do is talk to other creative/non-creative thinkers. Think about how many times you have run an idea past your spouse. They help provide a different perspective to solving the problem – we call it the bounce effect. It’s the same approach to the creative process.

Q:  How do you evaluate creativity?

A:  Stopping power! Relevance; which one motivates you to learn more about the product or service; and overall preference. After testing with our target audience, we make sure the concepts will work across all channels (digital and traditional). We give you an array of solutions, from the more practical to out-of-the-box, but always keeping in mind that we’re typically talking to a farmer or veterinarian.

Q:  How much do you rely on client input?

A:  We’re good listeners. We rely heavily on client input – it’s a good checks-and-balances system to keep us focused. Clients can be privy to information from internal meetings that’s helpful to understanding the true target market and audience. Feedback helps us tweak a visual or even one word in a headline. Insights from our clients are always valuable.

Q:  What if you find that the campaign needs to be changed?

A:  Do you recall readership surveys? I’m not saying they don’t serve a purpose, but in the age of digital and social campaigns, making real-time adjustments to advertising campaigns is of utmost importance. A great campaign or concept should be fluid enough that, given metric analytics, you can adjust based on those results in order to achieve your goals. It’s all about optimizing early and having a flexible enough creative concept to adapt to what the numbers are telling us.

Q:  How do you define success?

A:  At DMG, it’s not about winning awards. The true measure of success is “did we move the needle?” Did we improve awareness and interest and have we helped the client increase leads or face-to-face engagement, depending on the end goal. Since we are a virtual agency set-up, it’s also important that our team regroups post-campaign to discuss key take-aways. Determining what worked and what didn’t work from the very beginning is the key to success for future campaigns.