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In light of hosting The One Club’s Portfolio Night at our office last week, we figured what better time to refresh everyone’s memories on how to review creative ideas objectively and constructively, rather than irksomely—especially if you’re not sure how you feel about the word “irksomely.” (Or the fact there’s no ketchup bottle visual.)

After all, we know that reviewing new marketing ideas, taglines, copy, packaging designs, storyboards, social content, website redesigns, or new product names is a lot like approving a name for your child (that someone else came up with).

We will rarely fall in love with it right away. The best we can do is agree upon the thinking behind it. Because the natural next step is to ask the target what THEY think and/or feel.

Remember, your consumers are the ones who need to fall in love with it and act (in a way that’s measurable, of course), not you.

To help you, we’ve listed out four questions to ask yourself when reviewing and approving creative ideas.

1. Is the work on strategy? Review the brand brief, the net impression, and brand style and voice guidelines. Does the work live up to it? Is it on brand? Do we think it will solve the business or marketing challenge? How will we know? If you can’t answer that… CMO you later, my friend. 

2. Overall, what’s my impression of the work? Ask yourself: if this brand campaign/eNewsletter/influencer tweet approached me on the street, how would it come across? Charming? Funny? Self-absorbed? Dull? Cerebral? Scattered? Would I be delighted by this encounter, or annoyed and immediately hit “unsubscribe”?

3. What is the blah blah of this category? What is our competition saying/showing? What are the common themes, so we can make sure we don’t blend into a sea of sameness. If everybody’s zigging right now, maybe we should zag? Right, Captain Obvious?

4. Would anyone care, would anyone share? Is the idea surprising, relevant, newsworthy, and simple? An idea is strengthened by everything that is removed from its execution (not added to it). Is there anything else we could remove here? Will it rise above not just other ads, but everything that’s competing for your attention right now: Kim K. throwin’ shade at Jack in the Box on Twitter, Friday Happy Hour, The Raptors, your mom’s txts, Lil Nas X surprising Lander Elementary kids in CLE, etc.

Good luck rising above, folks. Thanks again to all The One Club Portfolio Night Cleveland participants who came by last week, whose ideas were definitely reviewed like a “bro.”

Have a creatively inspired weekend, everybody!

-Your creatively in-tuned friends at Brokaw

Four important questions to ask yourself when reviewing and approving creative ideas.

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