Creative Strategy is a lot like Pizza.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. We all agree with this notion that it takes time to create something great — and while it’s good to keep your perspective on the end goal, let’s not forget the second half of John Heywood’s notable words,
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour.
And there it is, emphasizing the thoughtful steps necessary in creating a successful end result. So why is it we’ve removed the second half of this phrase? Well, nobody wants to think about the work. It takes a dedicated team of thoughtful, agile, and motivated people to pull off a successful project. Time is important for great creation, but even more so focused energy and strategic planning is how you ultimately achieve creative solutions as great as Rome — or I don't know, since we’re talking about Italy, how about pizza?
Who Wants Pizza? Everyone.
Pizza is wonderful. Another thing about pizza is it doesn’t magically appear in front of you or fall from the sky into your lap (wouldn’t that be great). Whether you’re ordering out, popping a frozen pie in the oven, or making it from scratch, there are people behind the pie taking the necessary steps and actions in order to to place that perfect slice into your hand. And when you really dig deep and think about it, creative strategy is a lot like pizza.
When creators approach a project, they must first think of who they’re making it for, — the ole ‘know your audience’ as they say — the problems that need to be solved for, and the unique desires of that particular audience. These questions will ultimately set up the fundamental building blocks for any creative project.
First, we must break down the audience. For instance, you wouldn’t make a hearty meat lovers pie for a group of hungry vegetarians, and you probably wouldn’t order twelve grilled pizzas with balsamic, onions, gorgonzola, and arugula to satisfy the cravings of a group of picky preteens. And why would someone want pizza in the first place? It may seem like a silly question, but let’s talk about it. They’re probably hungry you’d think, but maybe there’s more to it. What if the feeling of nostalgia was overwhelming them, and they miss the pure satisfaction of smelling the aroma of a freshly baked pie after moving from Naples to LA.? Or how about those picky kids? They’re most likely at a birthday party, eager to hang out with their friends and eat free food they don’t hate chomping on. These are both very unique situations, audiences, and scenarios that must be approached differently in order to fulfill each of their needs.
When Do They Want It? Now.
The pressure is on to give your audience their fix. After analyzing their specific problems and needs, you must now think about how to deliver. For pizza, it can simply be just that, delivery. Given time allocation, this may be your only option. If you waited last minute and didn’t plan, all you can do is hope that the pizza arrives on time and is decent enough for the pizza indulgers. Now, thinking about it… wouldn’t you rather have a thoughtful plan to exceed those expectations?
What if you gave your audience a better, more satisfying option that not only met their needs, but enhanced their overall pizza eating experience? Of course, this approach would take more time, thoughtfulness, and energy than simply picking up your phone and ordering from your local pizza joint. However, if you have agile people dedicating the necessary time and energy, it could be one of the best pizza experiences ever.
Let’s go back to those preteens — what if instead of ordering out, you created a fun pizza bar? Every kid is now handed the opportunity to create their very own personalized pizza. You’ve solved the problem of picky eating and replaced it with a unique and fun experience with positive outcomes that exceeds your audience’s expectations. This process may look something like creating a thorough grocery list, someone going shopping, another setting up the pizza bar, baking each pie without burning them, and cleaning up the mess ultimately spending more time, money, and energy to bring to life.
...but isn’t it worth the satisfaction? Is not witnessing the pure joy from typically hangry preteens worth the extra time? Isn't focused energy and strategic planning necessary to not only meet your audience's needs, but exceed them? Yes, the answer is yes.
Final Pizza Thoughts:
We are constantly faced with creative challenges, and it’s our duty to solve them through strategic creative planning — because without that, we are not truly serving our audiences. We must put the time in to create solutions for people and reject convenience simply because it is easier to visualize the outcome and get there faster. Just like mouth-watering pizza, creative solutions don't magically appear in front of you, or fall from the sky into your lap. We must put in the work and build a strong foundation to achieve great results. Great work comes from thoughtful, agile teams dedicated to their audience, solving for their unique problems, and exceeding their expectations.
Now who wants pizza?