Category Archives: Creativity

Creative Process: How Do We Find Ideas

Creativity is described as generation, development and transformation of ideas that are both novel and useful for solving problems. It is vital for the progress of humankind, our lives, our work, our existence.

We in agency use our creativity each and every day. All creative industry people are doing it. We create ideas. We create solutions. We find new ways, new relations and new connections from what we have in hand.

But it is interesting that we don’t think too much about how we do it. How do we use our creativity and find ideas? What is the process behind it? Or do we even have a concrede process during this phenomenon. Is there a linear process / assembly line to craft great ideas?

I sincerely believe that each and every creative has different kind of approach to creativity with a unique way of doing, technique, routines or stages. Our minds are following a very complex and non-linear path during creative process. It is nearly impossible to standardize this frustrating period. However I also believe there are some fundamental possible stages of this journey which roughly explains the state of mind in creative process.

If you spend more time with these concepts and understand the patterns of thinking and your creative abilitiy, you will be more productive and happy. So lets think about “how we think” now.

The most significant theory of creative process is written by Graham Wallas, in his book “Art of Thought” in 1926. Yes, again, in 1926. He was a sociologist and political scientist. it is natural that creativity was a topic among scientists and artists, since the world met with advertising as a complete study and formation only in 1970s.

Wallas describe the famous 4 stage creative process in Art of Though:

1.Preparation: The problem to be solved is carefully analyzed, all information gathered, current situation considered.

2.Incubation: The consideration of the problem is internalized. You get away. You let your subconscious to handle it and let ideas develop.

3.Illumination: A moment of insight and optimism. Or a A-Ha! moment. The mind flows from subconscious to conscious. You see the light.

4.Verification: Solutions are tested. You refine it. Polish it. And try to validate with 100% conscious practice.

The most significant aspect of this model is that, Wallas states the idea finding moment is a result of a subconscious efforts during the whole incubation stage. According to his theory, we let go of the problem, go away from it, and do a lot of other stuff while our subconscious is starving and chasing the right idea. If you think of your own creative process I can’t say he is wrong.

Think you get a brief. You gathered all information, read, questioned, analyzed, argued and chat. Then you let it go and turned back to your daily routines. Now it is time for subconscious do the job. You go to lunch, you walk the street, you surf the net, you chat with friends, you go to a movie, you read a book, you cook, you sleep, etc etc. Then after a certain point you come up with an idea! This is what happens to most creatives right?

What I don’t agree with this 4 stage model is that Wallas describe it as a linear path. To me it is not working that way. For myself, I can suddenly go back to preparation stage while I am in incubation, or I can just jump forward to illumination stage while I was talking with colleagues about something in incubation.

Creativity is about finding connections in a way others can’t see. It is about observing and finding new relations over something. The process is very complex and sometimes seems very individual. On the other hand advertising is totally collaborative business which makes you create ideas together with your colleagues most of the time. So each agency have their own path to the right idea. Sometimes it goes linear, sometimes non-linear.

There is also another phenomenal model of creative process from and advertising man; James Webb Young. In his famous book, “A Technique for Producing Ideas” (1939) he also described a 5 step model for creativity in advertising. Very similar to Wallas’s model.

1.Immersion: Gathering raw material and information through background research and immersing yourself in the problem.

2.Digestion: Taking the information, working it over and wrestling with it in the mind.

3.Incubation: Putting the problem out of your conscious mind and turning the information over to the subconscious to do the work.

4.Illumination: The birth of an idea – the phenomenon, “Eureka! I have it!”

5.Reality or Verification: Studying the idea to see if it still looks good or solves the problem, then shaping the idea to practical usefulness.

These models just give a perspective of how our minds are working during creative process. Of course it is not a magic trick or assembly line solution. It can never be. Rather than that, they can stimulate our way of thinking about “thinking”. And it is a good thing.




The Epic Bullshit: Traditional vs Digital

The easiest and superficial way to solve complex problems is to label them. Because labelling is easy, and it is like sweeping issues under the carpet. It does not require deep insight or intellectual effort.

When internet and digital media evolves, marketing industry quickly labeled the new advertising world: The distinction was clear (al least for them): Traditional advertising vs digital advertising. To me this was a hopeless and futureless distinction to overcome the complexity of tremendously changing landscape.

Coming to present, It is crystal clear that this kind of distinction is useless and it is just for lazy marketers and advertisers who are willing to survive by doing mediocre business. Now it is time to take the challenge and build a real holistic approach to marketing ecosystem. And this new era is about digital, screens, experiences and of course creativity.

Since we live in digital, and consume media through screens, it is pointless to name it as digital. It is just advertising. It is digital by default. Don’t even bother to name the obvious.

Media consumption has fundamentally changed. Today 90% of media interactions occur through screens. In a new multi-screen and connected world there are different devices, platforms, channels. So both media and advertising is about living in digital and screens.

By the way, TV also became digital via evolving device complexities, hardware technologies and user behavior. TV can also be interactive through user interface and user experience. For instance we watch Apple TV with a user experience with it. We can choose which content to view, when to view, in which device to view, etc. Other example is Netflix. We watch content on TV as an on demand media with internet streaming. We can interact with content, interface, or even play games within TV. The difference between PC mouse and TV remote is narrowing! I call TV the largest screen.

On the contrary, only 10% of media interactions are non-screen, which are mainly radio, outdoor and print. That means people should stop the debate of traditional vs digital. Rather than that, we have to focus on building stories and experiences which can Iive among multiple screens and change human behavior. We have to solve not only “business problems” of our clients but also “experience problems.”

This is what advertising stands for in this era. It is not traditional nor digital. It is what it is. 







Why I Don’t Use The Word “Original”?

I don’t use the word “original” in creative business. There is no such thing as “absolute originality”  neither in advertising nor in culture. At least not in a commonly used sense of it: “think, do or create something never exist before”. How could a person create a completely original piece of work from nothing? World does not work that way, right?

Originality does not exist in our lives either; people, culture, language, literature or history. All are a result of connections, combinations and interactions of old ideas, previous evidences and proven facts. We as humankind rise on our shoulders and it is valid for marketing and advertising business.

If our ideas are not original then what it is? Creative industry people combine and connect existing things, ideas or thoughts in a novel and unusual ways. We find new angles and approaches to problems in an inspiring, independent and individual manner.  So the ideas we create at the end is different, novel, unusual and useful. And I refer it as “fresh” ideas. But not original. It is a mix, combination or connection of existing things in a different way. It is about linking known stuff in an unknown way. So we find surprising, interesting, out of box solutions to marketing problems in a fresh way which I believe is still the foundation of advertising.

Be fresh, create fresh.


Reklam Ajansında Çalısmayı Neden Çok Seviyorum?

Yaratıcılık dünyamızı şekillendiren ve anlamlandıran yegane olgulardan. Dünyadaki her buluşun, gelişimin, kültürün, ilerlemenin, sanatın, büyümenin ardında yaratıcılık yatıyor. Bununla birlikte işi sadece yaratıcılık olan endüstriler de var. Mesela bizim sektör: Reklam dünyası. Reklamcılar, iletişimciler, yaratıcı ajans insanları. Ben kısaca reklamcılar diyeceğim bizim bu ekibe. Hayatını yaratıcılıklarını kullanarak kazanmaya karar verecek kadar cesur bir seçim yapmış, kafası çalışan, üreten, yetenekli, iletişimi bilen bir avuç insan topluluğu.

Genel olarak yaratıcı endüstriler çoğu insanın mutlu olabileceği bir alan değil. Neden mi? Düşünsenize, her yeni güne uyandığınızda yeni bir şeyler yaratmak zorundasınız. Her gün. Yarattığınız şeyleri insanlara beğendirmek zorundasınız. Her gün. Yarattığınız şeylerle insanların, markaların, şirketlerin problemlerini çözmek zorundasınız. Her gün. Tüm bunları iyi yapmak zorundasınız. Her gün. Üstelik farklı endüstriler ve farklı markalar için bunu yapmak zorundasınız. Ve başarılı bir işin henüz keyfini süremeden önünüze gelen bir sonraki zorlu göreve konsantre olmak zorundasınız. Sürekli bir belirsizlik hali. Bir gün göklerdesiniz ertesi gün zeminde. Sürekli bir jet lag durumu. Zor.

Madem bu kadar zor, neden bu mesleği çok seviyorum? Anlatayım.

Öncelikle bu topluluğun ortak özelliği zorlu bir meslek seçmiş olduklarının bilincinde olmalarıdır. Bu benim hoşuma gidiyor. Cesaret ister çünkü. Çünkü altında bir kendine güven ve fark yaratma çabası vardır. Sürüden ayrılan kişidir reklamcı. Mutsuz kalabalıklara katılmak yerine mutlu olacağı iş için mücadeleyi göze alan kişidir. Ve yine bu seçimde büyük bir özgüven yatar. Aklına, fikrine, yeteneğine, üretme gücüne inanç yatar. Her gün yeni bir şey yaratma ve hayata geçirme baskısına meydan okuma vardır. Hayata karşı bir duruştur. Kendine duyduğun güvenin manifestosudur bu meslek seçimin. Benim bu mesleği çok sevmemdeki en büyük neden bu kişisel duruştur. Bu duruş sevilmez mi?

Bilmeyenler, ajanslardaki rahatlığın, eğlencenin vs genç insanları çektiğini düşünür. Çok sığ bulurum bu yorumları. Yukarıda anlattığım hayata karşı temel bir bakış vardır esasen altında. İçi doludur bu tercihin. Bazen gençler bile farkında olmaz bunun, sonradan kavrar, anlar, anlamlandırır. Dünyayı değiştiren şeylerin fikir olduğuna inanç vardır. Üretmeye dönük bilinç vardır bu seçimde.

Gelelim diğer nedenlere. Reklamcı insan bilir ki başarıyı fikirleri, ürettikleri ve yarattığı katma değer ile yakalıyordur. Yani ne kurumsal politika, ne başarılı mail atma teknikleri, ne kurumsal konumlandırma, ne de patronla ilişkiler. Bunlar sökmez bizde. Başarıyı hakkıyla kazanıyordur. Yaptığı iş ortadadır. Bence bu büyük bir motivasyon. “İnsan” dediğimiz varlığın doğası gereği. Bu gerçek için mesleğimi seviyorum.

Sonra yine bu reklamcı bilir ki fikirleri değerlidir. Saygı görür. Her şeyden önce fikir değerlidir! İster yeni mezun olsun ister kreatif direktör, bilir ki fikrin nereden nasıl geleceği belli olmaz. Fikrin, üretmenin, katma değerin rütbesi, kıdemi olmaz. Bu özgürlüğü seviyorum.

İşin bir de gelişim boyutu var ki söylemeden geçilmez. Reklamcılar zorlu ve yorucu zihinsel faaliyettedirler. Bu zihinsel çaba hiç bir sektör ile kıyaslanmaz bile. O yüzden güçlendirir reklamcıları. Kısa zamanda çok mesafeler kat ettirir; hem kişisel gelişim olarak hem de mesleki birikim olarak. Bu fırsatlar bolluğu bizim mesleğin en çarpıcı özelliklerinden.

Ve aslında toplumun geneline subjektif gibi görünse de, aslında reklamcılık çok objektif bir iştir. Verilen emek, harcanan zaman, bulunan fikir, üretilen iş kabak gibi ortadadır. Üretmek de reklamcıya büyük keyif verir, iş hazzı verir; onu hayata ve mesleğe bağlar. Bu bağ bu mesleğin en tatlı aromasıdır. Yaşayan bilir, sever.

Art direktör, metin yazarı, sosyal medya uzmanı, stratejist, yazılımcı, müşteri temsilcisi, yöneticiler, herkes.. Reklam ajansındaki herkes bu yaratma ve üretme sürecinin merkezindedirler. Ve bir şeyleri hayata geçirmenin verdiği haz bu insanları ayakta tutar. Ben tüm ajans insanlarına, kendilerine bu kadar güvendikleri ve yaratmayı seçtikleri için büyük saygı duyuyorum. Hele ki genç insanlara. Saygı duyduğun insanlarla çalışmanın huzurunu seviyorum.

Gelelim diğer bir nedene. Tamamen kendin olarak davranıp, kendin olabildiğin; yeteneklerin ve birikimin ile kendini ispat edebildiğin meslektir çünkü. Rol yapmana lüzum yoktur. Ayrıca hayata bakışın, gözlemlerin, dünyayı algılayışın, hobilerin, okuduğun kitaplar, izlediğin filmler, bunların hepsi işinde büyük bir girdidir. Yani başkasının hobi diye yaptığı şey senin için aynı zamanda mesleki bir gelişimdir. Kullanırsın çünkü onları. İçgörüleri, fikirleri, çözümleri, stratejileri bunlarla beslersin. İlgi alanların ile mesleğin birbirine yakındır. Kurumsal hayattaki çoğu insan gibi iki farklı dünyayı kalın bir çizgiyle ayırmak zorunda kalmazsın. Tek bir hayatın vardır. Gerçek bir hayat. Onu yaşarsın. Ben bu gerçek hayatı yaşamayı seviyorum.

Ve hayatta çok zor olan her şeyin çok güzel olduğunu biliyorum. Tıpkı bizim meslek gibi.

Tüm “yaratıcı ajans insanlarına” sevgilerimle.

NO MORE Real-Time Marketing Fail Attempts Please

Over the past years, real-time marketing emerge as a popular and shinny buzzword among marketers and advertisers. It is more than a buzzword, an effective social media marketing tactic actually. Some few brands explored it very well and gained the fruits of higher engagement, fan growth and popularity. Oreo, DiGiorno Pizza, Nintendo gave some of the best examples of it. However, nowadays the trend is backwards due to misunderstanding and senseless overuse of it.

The most successful real-time marketing  actions are the ones unexpected, sincere, smart and on-brand! They have to be an instant response from a brand, but in a relevant & meaningful context. But here is the bad news! Many brands started to jump into it in nearly every event. And unfortunately, most of them are NOT clever, well-executed, on-brand. Because it can not!

Now there are dozens of real-time marketing attempts from various brands, whatever the topic is. Most of them are waste of time, done for being done and executed poorly. We all know that brands want to reflect their spontaneous identity and hint they are “up-to-date”, “in the conversation”, “on the same topic”. However it is not a necessity to jump into each & every topic for each brand. At the end of the day, real-time marketing should be sincere and spontaneous. It is a powerful tool drives great social reach. So use it wisely and true to itself. You don’t have to get something to tell for each social media meme.

Here are my advices:

– People want to hear from their friends about what’s going on that moment, not from every brand. Know to be out.

– Some brands attempt to utilize the topic in favor of a promotional content. Don’t do that.

– Most brands are pushing so hard to create a relevant connection, and it becomes artificial. If you don’t have the authentic connection with the topic, don’t intervene.

– Please don’t make it a competition among marketers/advertisers. It is about your consumers, not about being on marketing blogs with a pointless tweet.

Lastly, let me share with you a very clear-cut thoughts about the subject;

“The Oreo tweet was a great idea for a marketing execution, but it doesn’t mean it’s a great idea for a continuing strategy —  often marketers mistake seizing a moment in one instance and take that as how to execute in further events, but you can’t plan and manufacture that kind of serendipity,” said Matt Britton. So true!  “Brands declaring they are planning real-time marketing initiatives during high-profile events is the modern-day equivalent of saying ‘we’re going to make a viral video’– it’s poor form and 99 percent of the time it falls flat.” said Scott Monty, Ford’s global head of social media. Period.

Next time, enjoy the show, the event or the game going on. You can be out for that moment. No big deal. Really.

By the way, here is a showcase of fail real-time marketing attempts. It is fun, check it out.

Organic Reach Is Over. What About Now?

You thought you have fans and your earned media so far. Sorry but it is not working that way anymore. They are only reachable through advertising.

Marketers put effort and energy on social networks mainly for reach. But now organic reach is over. Paid posts are necessary for reach. Unpaid posts are out. Facebook already announced that organic reach will continue to significantly decrease.  As Facebook officially stated in June 2014, then in November 2014, newsfeed is a very competitive place. And right community management and robust ad planning is essential. According to Ogilvy report for instance, large pages has reached only 2% of their fans organically in February 2014.

This is so nature of Facebook business. As I always say; Facebook is a huge media company with a great consumer data to be sold to marketers.  Do brands really think they use these social networks for free and engage with their fans as they wish?  Or believe that Facebook is here only for building more open and transparent communication opportunity with the vision of more connected world. This was quite an utopia. Shareholders and investors put great pressure on Facebook executives for growth and ad revenues.

How to adapt to these changes?

So what to do now? Let me summarize how brands can utilize their strategies on Facebook under these new circumstances. I put down 7 watch-outs:

1- Organic reach is over, orient yourself. Adapt your relationship marketing efforts.

2- The fans you thought you have are not yours. Admit it. They are users of social networks with all user data. Look for alternatives.

3- It is not about “publishing” any more. Stop posting a lot of contents. Facebook doesn’t want to be a publisher. Do not think that people will always see what you post.

4- Focus on creativity. Avoid overwhelming and pointless ordinary content work. Content managers are overload to prepare hundreds of contents which are reaching 1% of your audience. This is not right. Give them space to craft less but more creative, quality and relevant content or various content projects.

5- Allocate “always on” media budget and optimize. Don’t make unpaid posts. It is waste of time, energy and effort. Use relevant Facebook ads and optimize them real-time. Observe community preferences and behaviors and adjust your contents & ad plan accordingly.

6- Brand advocates will find you. It is still very important to have your brand presence in Facebook. The real dynamo of your brand’s voice, the advocates, will remain to search you. Find you on Facebook. Make sure your page is always on and engaging.

7- Build customer services on Facebook. It is not about pointless publishing. But it is always about customer services, added value services and online presence. So prepare widgets, apps or functions on Facebook for your customers. Integrate your business needs into it. They will come and engage with it.

To conclude, online community management efforts are not about posting any more. It is more complicated. Get used to the new dynamics of social networking sites and adapt your social strategies.

What is next?

Lots of brands put these social networks, mainly Facebook, as the center of their online community efforts. However I must say this is going to change. Brands need to put efforts to create a value around relationship marketing in a way it can control data, behavior, reach and experience. And this is only possible to move to the stage of brand owned platforms: branded communities.

This is an alternative approach for building online communites comparing to social networking sites. I will write about it in a next blog post. 

Take care.

Idea Writers!

Copywriters do not only write copy. They find ideas, craft them and extend accordingly. Besides they have to consider relevant connections for the right idea. So it would be right to call them “Idea Writers” instead.

And it is not just a headline and body copy! Or a slogan, tagline, radio spot script.  It is much more complicated and diversified. There are social contents, conversations, mobile apps, advergame contents, songs, retail experinces, microsite copies, video scripts, banner scripts, a tweet, anything.. It is complex.

I have a more important question on this subject. Do only copywriters write by the way? Of course Not!

 The agency people regardless of their departments or titles, are supposed to craft ideas and write them in our daily routine. A strategist, a copywriter, an account person, a content specialist and also executives: We are all idea writers!  This is what we do and meant to. It might be in hundreds of different forms: idea presentation, scenario, social media content, client presentation, scatch on board, headline in Evernote, mechanism on your notebook, meeting note, or even an e-mail sent to colleagues or clients.

 We keep up writing, inspiring and collaborating. That is why I prefer to call all creatives as idea writers.

 Since creative industry is evolving, creatives should extend their playgrounds. Recently I found a good read, with a focus on new realities of brand creativity business. The Idea Writers by  Teressa Iezzi, editor of Advertising Age’s Creativity made me think on this subject.. Check it out

Consumers Don’t Only Consume!

Why do we keep saying “consumers”? Consumption is only a part of what consumers do! Now, they don’t only consume but they create, participate, curate. So I would prefer saying “people” or even “human” instead.

Drivers of User Generated Content

What we all know about new marketing landscape is people took over the control. And everybody is talking about the content and contribution which consumers create: User Generated Content. My question is; for an average user, what is the motivation to create a brand relevant content?

Lately I read the book “Advertising Transformed” of Fons Van Dyck, also the founder of Think BBDO. He mentioned a research which identifies the 4 main drives of UGC. They are;

1. Co-creation

2. Empowerment

3. Community

4. Self-concept

Co-creation:  This is more about feeling attached to the brand so you want to be a part of it via your contribution. It states all situations where consumers collaborate with company or brand. They are interested in because consumers regard themselves as a valuable and integral part of the brand.

Empowerment: Now consumers are in charge! Many consumers no longer want to be influenced by marketing and advertising, preferring instead to take control of decision making process. They use the internet and their own content as weapons to put pressure on the marketer and advertisers to take account of their wishes.

Community: This is more about belonging  and socializing. UGC offers consumers the possibility to express themselves through sharing idea and experiences with the other community members.

Self-concept: People try to express themselves and distinguish themselves from others by the choice of brands they make. As Fons Van Dyck states in his book, “Self-concept builds a bridge between the imperfect ‘me’ of the present and the perfect ‘me’ of the future.”

Since marketers and advertisers run after UGC, it is important to analyze and build a road map to generate a positive process from consumer’s creative contributions and energy. It is great for a brand to team up with their consumers while creating engaging brand stuff. However it is also a ticking bomb which the brand has no control ever.

Make Your Brief Inspiring!

Brief should be brief.

A good brief is the key factor to get a good creative. Everybody agree with that, right? However a few really gives that importance in brands and agencies. What I often see is, briefs are written just for being written. Some people see it a boring procedure, or just a paperwork to fill in the blanks. Sorry for that.

Normally, a brief is a thought exercise. A reflection of the business problem, insights and understanding of the necessity. It requires a strong strategic approach and inputs for right communication path. Brief should be inspiring! Strong brands know this process and puts huge amount of energy to create the right brief together with their agencies. And they get the great creative accordingly, not a surprise.

Each brand and agency has its own brief formats, more or less the same. But approach is more important than the formats. Because formats don’t inspire great communication. Formats don’t inspire great briefs too. At the end of the day you need more or less these basics with insightful inputs;

  • Key fact
  • Business/Marketing Problem
  • Objective
  • Key Benefit
  • Support
  • Audience/Tone
  • Competition
  • Mandatories

However, this shouldn’t be an information overload. Brief should contain insight rather than lots of unnecessary information. Information should be filtered carefully. So distinguish the difference between orientation and brief! Most of time a paperwork comes as a brief, which is actually a detailed orientation to the brand with lack of simplicity, insights and direction.

A brief should really be brief. It is all about the famous saying; “I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one.”

This is the golden rule of creative process.

For conclusion I also listed some of basic questions from different brief approach of agencies, just to give an idea;

  • What key business challenge dose the brand face?
  • Describe the audience
  • Why aren’t they doing what we want them to do?
  • Why should they?
  • Describe the brand character that we want?
  • What must the solutions include?
  • What is the question we need to answer to complete this assignment?
  • What is the most relevant & differentiating idea that will surprise consumers or challenge their current thinking of the brand?