The inspiring art of planning and creativity

What is the key to a successful planning-creative relationship? What alchemy do you need, when do you compromise and how do you find inspiration? We explore, with the help of a new 'pop-up' agency, how Pinterest is the perfect playground for the planner-creative director dynamic to fire...

The inspiring art of planning and creativity

Developing a clear, clean vision of brand and culture requires a strong relationship between creativity and strategy. Hanisha Kotecha and Nik Roope from Reset Sessions offer their collective insight…

A creative thought might spark a strategic question and a strategic insight might spark a creative thought. It’s like our nervous system that is made of sensory and motor networks. Your senses work in tandem with your actions, they’re not two separate systems, but a single integrated one.

Our best ideas have arrived through strong dialogues between strategic and creative leads. But we’ve never met a great creative director who wasn’t also strategic and vice versa. A strong relationship between a strategist and creative is extremely important. Challenging problems need creative thinking and a strategic plan of attack.

An idea that might fly on one platform, might die on the other. It’s not that useful to lump social media together because the role, function and value of each key platform is so different for brands. Each platform has its own specific architecture, demographic, behavioural tendencies and its own spirit and atmosphere.

Pinterest is more positive than other platforms. The participatory nature of exchanges and the shared interest in inspiration keeps the spirit on positive tracks. So not only is it a powerful means to engage with users where there’s a high product relevance and deeper connection, it’s also in a context that is a happier place. That association has to be an advantage to brands who want to align with positive human traits.

The point of Pinterest is to participate as a brand, not just drop indiscriminate messaging into the mix.

The optimal outcome is an idea that can bend and flex and allow it to engage each platform’s strengths. That’s one of the great challenges for brands. There are still too many brand ideas conceived for a linear narrative that simply don’t lend themselves to meaningful, interactive and effective platform deployment. 

There’s a lot to learn about the culture, behaviour and architecture inherent in the platform. It's a great insight tool in its own right. The strategic and creative partnership is important here because of the need to both embrace the complexities and nuances of Pinterest, while understanding audience needs whilst using the platform.

From the first spark of inspiration to the realisation Pinterest offers a way be part of the customer’s reality. It’s the dream for brands, although the doctrines of classic advertising storytelling prevent many from seeing it, let alone harnessing this fantastic opportunity.

Pinterest allows brands to interact with customers naturally, but the consequences are a completely different emotional imprint and intellectual matrix of associations, which leads to better recall and consideration.

Advertisers are very wedded to telling one, compelling story across all channels based on some very outdated doctrines and creative indulgences. But what Pinterest offers is to be part of millions of different, more relevant, relatable and far more compelling stories, with brand at the heart. 

We’ve used Pinterest for many years building presences for the likes of Plumen (pictured below). It’s given a lot of insight into the power of this more positively engaged, participatory community. But having to creatively handle this gear change means the treasure-trove of brand building opportunities that Pinterest offers isn’t always harnessed fully. 

Pinterest is a lot more like search than social feeds. While some users use the platform for pure recreation, most use it for inspiration, to plan activities, projects and purchases. For brands, there’s a chance to be part of all of these levels of the funnel, as potential customers identify the pertinence or reliance of products in their pursuit of their ideal interior, themed birthday party spread, holiday wardrobe etc.

Plumen weaves their products into a mass of activity around lighting products, as objects of desire in their own right and as ingredients for interior trends. Once the product has been woven into all these related stories, they surface in textual and visual searches and lead to additional distribution on the platform through re-pins but also referral traffic to the e-commerce site. 

And Pinterest has a long tail of organic visibility. Unlike other platforms, every asset that drops onto Pinterest boards becomes part of a living archive, always just one search away or perhaps something Pinterest Lens might surface in a visual search. Brands are building a campaign – but you’re also creating a persistent presence.

Pinterest would feature in strategic plans for certain categories where the connection between inspiration and purchase intent is clear. Any food, travel, fashion, cosmetics, automotive, interiors, architecture, craft and so on. But the strategy would need to show a specific engagement idea and plan for Pinterest, rather than "we could also run these ads we made for TV or another platform, on Pinterest".

People want more from the brands they purchase. People expect transparency and want their favourite brands to take a stance on the things that matter. Brands have always been a way to say something about ourselves – which is why, no surprise, there’s been a huge rise in ethical consumption and making better choices with our spending. People are literally voting with their wallets.

The three keys to a successful strategic-creative relationship. Respect: for each other’s opinions, time and expertise; aligned values: so you’re driving towards a greater goal and purpose together, enabling you to overcome obstacles as you progress; openness: being able to challenge each other and share ideas and thoughts without the fear of judgment.

If you compromise your values, you’ll run into trouble. But if you compromise your views to help build a participatory culture, then this can be a really positive way to behave. It will invite more openness and respect from your team.

Kotecha and Roope's 'pop-up’ consultancy – Reset Sessions – helps brands adjust quickly in these uncertain times. To unlock the unique benefits they’ve discovered for creative execution on Pinterest, access the Creative Agency Advertising Guide here.