How Your Marketing Creative Impacts Your Marketing Strategy

How Your Marketing Creative Impacts Your Marketing Strategy

Your marketing strategy drives your marketing creative. Not the other way around. However, creative is vitally important to your marketing plan’s execution. The most unique strategy in the world is meaningless unless the creative pops and sizzles.

So how do you strike the right blend between creative and strategy? We asked Jim Foley, On the Mark Strategies creative director, a series of questions when it comes to that issue.

  • How does strategy drive creative?

Without strategy you are really just creating graphics for the sake of creating graphics. It becomes more of a beauty contest or about pretty pictures. If you define your strategy well your creative should be the execution of your strategy.

  • How does creative impact the strategy?

Creative is the execution of the strategy or information gleaned in strategy sessions. Therefore you circle back around to utilizing the creative to further develop the strategy. Quality creative that pops will also help your overall brand strategy. For example, if your strategy is to increase consumer engagement then having unique and clear creative will better connect your brand with the consumers you are trying to reach. People don’t necessarily ‘connect’ with logos—they connect with people—but logos and cool creative can illicit strong emotional reactions.

  • When designing websites, what are three key elements financial institutions must consider?

The first thing is to remember that the majority of your users are coming to your website to login to their accounts. Therefore, cross-selling your services in that environment is beyond important. Second, you need to create the corporate brand vibe that allows a potential customer to understand you and how you are different from other banks or credit unions. Third, keep your website focused. It has to be easy to navigate and easy to get to resources whether you are on a laptop or mobile device. Websites sometimes start simple and then end up confusing consumers because financial institutions put so much information into it. You must make your website usable and relevant.

  • What is the right blend between creative and strategy?

They are 50/50. They are the ying and the yang. Together they form balance. When you do one more than another you are out of balance. If you use too much creative without enough strategy you may not hit your goals and objectives. Conversely, it may be pretty but it might not get the results you are seeking. If you are too research driven but your graphics are dull and boring then you are not going to attract the attention of those you are seeking.

  • When you are creating a campaign how do you take strategy into consideration?

There are different parts of your strategy: target audience, message, reactions you are trying to gain from the end user. The creative has to follow those objectives or they will not be as effective. As Steven Covey once said, “you begin with the end in mind.” That strategy quote also applies to creative: your creative should start with the overall strategic goals and objectives of the particular campaign.

  • How do you bring brands alive creatively? How do you take the research and brand strategy information and develop a unique and impactful look for clients?

Through visual cues such as fonts, colors, and images. All of those items play a huge role when it comes to communicating your brand. For example, when we are helping clients with branding projects we use a mood board exercise that helps guide the creative direction. That exercise—which involves you creatively and visually describing your credit union or bank—brings colors and graphics into executing the brand based on your strategy.

If you are interested in better connecting your marketing or branding strategy with your creative efforts, On the Mark Strategies can help you do just that. Contact Mark at 214-538-4147 or e-mail

The Value of Off-Site Strategic Planning

The Value of Off-Site Strategic Planning

The office. For many workers, this is the place you get to around 8 AM and don’t leave until 5 PM (or after) every day, pretty much five days a week. Love or hate it, the office is the place many of us spend the majority of our time any given day.

While having a job and an office to go to every day is a terrific thing, familiarity can breed contempt. That’s why it’s important to consider moving your strategic planning session off-site rather than hosting it somewhere at your credit union facility.

Here are a few additional reasons why taking your strategic planning meeting off-site is a good idea.

  • A new location will generate new ideas. Sure, not every credit union is going to send its management team to the Bahamas, but even going to a conference room across town gets you out of your familiar surroundings and can help attendees develop new ideas.
  • A new location will lessen distractions. If you keep your strategic planning meeting at your credit union facility, odds are you encounter daily interruptions. Instead of devoting themselves to contributing to the strategic planning session, attendees are tempted to spend time checking emails, returning calls and interacting with other employees. When you take your strategic planning session off-site, these distractions aren’t nearly as much of an issue.
  • A new location will build camaraderie. Since you are meeting at the credit union, you are on anyone’s pre-designated “turf.” Office location, seniority and old-fashioned territoriality are no longer a factor. Every strategic planning session attendee, from the first year rookies to twenty-plus year veterans, are on the same playing field.

While taking your credit union strategic planning session off-site generally comes with an increased investment and requires additional time and planning, the above reasons (and many more) offset those expenditures. When you’re talking about something as important as your growth and development plan for the next five or ten years, a relatively small matter like an off-site session makes good sense.