People often want to know where ideas come from. As if there’s a magic formula that once you’ve said it out loud you can go punch into a machine and hey presto, there’s your next winning campaign. Well try programming this into a machine: ideas come from imagining yourself as the target audience. That’s what creative directors do. We’re chameleons, we’re method actors. We make a pile of all the stuff we know about marketing and response and brand and product and timings and environment and all the other programmable stuff, and then set it to one side. And we think about people.
What distinguishes us is our ability to empathise, to imagine, to feel what the target audience would feel. And to express it. And we do it because we can tune in, examine our own motivations, our own fears, and use them to discover what’s really going on with our target audience. And then once we’ve learned how to box, or gained 50lbs for the part or just imagined ourselves as a 17yr old getting his first car or 65 year old without a pension or maybe an IFA struggling with regulation – then through osmosis, by staying in character, the ideas start to come.