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Creative success is never an accident.

Creative success is never an accident.

Do you remember what it was like to take a road trip before our smart phones came along?

No? Well, I do. I remember having to pull out an actual map or road atlas to chart out a path. I remember my mom pouring over the TripTiK Travel Planners she ordered from AAA. She would measure distances and use actual math to calculate how long it would take us to reach our destination.

It took time. It took planning. And if our family didn’t invest in both, we could waste gas and money or even end up lost.

Our client’s campaigns are much the same. Without an effective road map, your marketing dollars could be wasted and your message lost.

The good news is, we love a road map as much as we love the trip itself. We call it creative strategy. It’s the act of not doing what our clients want, but determining and delivering what they need, and then crafting a plan for getting them there.

It begins with a conversation. What are your communication objectives? Who is your audience? How will you reach them? How do you want your audience to feel about your message? What decision do you want them to make? How will you know you've been successful?

You may come to us seeking a type of video, but after answering our questions and allowing us to provide strategic options, we may decide what you have asked for isn't what you need.  Perhaps it’s an animated Twitter campaign. Perhaps it’s a series of shareable cinemagraphs for Instagram. Or it could be a multipronged campaign with several distribution channels.

Whatever we suggest, you know it will be something tailored and laser-focused on your specific objectives. Every campaign we deliver is unique, because every client is unique.

Here’s an example. We recently worked with the National College Access Network on an effort to communicate with members of Congress about the need for a shorter Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. The form helps students—both undergraduate and graduate—determine their eligibility for financial aid. The form is notoriously long and tedious to fill out, which can make it difficult for students and their families to accurately complete the form.

But in an age of information overload, how does someone grab the attention of a busy member of Congress in a meaningful, effective way?

Short answer: Twitter.

As the most widely embraced social media platform in Washington, D.C., we knew a direct-to-Twitter campaign would park NCAN’s message in front of the right people. But we also knew that for the message to get impressions, it had to be completely visual since many people opt out of audio on social platforms.

In the end, we designed a series of spots featuring a student and an adult (either a parent, guardian, or guidance counselor) identifying the barriers for filling out the FAFSA. Instead of dialogue—which would require audio—we used graphics above each character’s head to show their inner dialogue.

Our client reports early success of gaining traction in conversations among lawmakers, and the organization plans to ramp up the campaign through 2018.

That is creative success. That is the power of strategy. It’s not an accident–it’s what we do.

Just like Mom taught me.