Creative PR idea, as well as in the world of the start-ups, does not mean anything by itself. Business applicable idea which provides excellent results – well, that is something different.
To have any chance of getting some quality PR ideas, it is necessary to define what is considered “quality”. The definition of criteria by which we will judge an idea is a precondition for a good project assignment, agency meeting, brainstorming or project evaluation.
It is essential that everyone involved in the process (client, agency, PR, accounts…) have the same and crystal clear criteria according to which we judge an idea. Usually in the idea-creating process (campaigns, PR activities, whatever you name it) we all get through a “green light” phase in which all the ideas are valuable to bring them out and talk about them. The “red light” phase is critical during which we reject all ideas that do not completely fit into the project assignment.
The main idea-filters (after they fulfill the ones in the project assignment) are:
- whether it is practically feasible (within the budget)
- whether it is useful for target achievements
Competitions: creativity without goals and budgets
Imagine a tender to select a PR agency in which the client had not defined the budget. Or even worse: a client wants to be showered with creative ideas, even though he has no money, but wants to see our creativity. The result of such competitions are frustrated agencies which have spent their time, hundreds of unpaid work hours trying to grasp how much money the client might invest, and clients who are surprised with the costs of the presented ideas. It would be simpler to write in the project task that the budget is limited (specify the extent) and that you want to see if something could be done within that limit.
Creative PR candidates applying for a job
The reverse situation occurs in our job competitions: the point of the tasks that candidates need to solve is to grasp whether they can propose and carry out a campaign that will achieve a specific communication goal. It is ridiculous (in fact, mostly offensive), when some of the candidates think we want to steal their ideas. Come on, people, focus: it is not difficult to create a campaign – it is difficult to defend it. To prove that it is practically feasible and that it will achieve goals, that is the hardest thing. If you manage to defend the idea – we’ll be happy to hire you.
Why great PR projects are not attractive?
Project evaluation is a different kind of story. Imagine all those beautiful one-minute videos in which creative agencies present examples of their campaigns. Well, in public relations this is not the case. We do not devise campaigns to be “creative”, whatever that means. The main thing is that they are feasible within the limitations (and there are always limits) and fulfill the goals. The problem is that for demanding communication projects you should never reveal what were the circumstances, targets and resources. So, the attractive one-minute video is out of the question.
What are your experiences? Which filters for creativity do you use in order to ensure the goal achievements?