What distinguishes the most successful ad agencies? In other words, what qualities do they possess that allow them to make great advertising?

For many people, creativity is one of the first things that jumps to mind. After all, creative minds are behind some of the greatest marketing and advertising efforts. Creativity is a necessary ingredient for eye-catching graphic design, snappy copywriting and witty slogans. However, one of the biggest mistakes is assuming that in marketing, creativity is enough on its own.

Creativity is vital to the success of a campaign, but at the end of the day, you have to think bigger: you have to think about vision.

Okay, so What Do You Mean When You Say “Vision?”

In a nutshell, vision is an understanding of where a company is, where the company wants to be and how it can get there. In other words, vision is seeing what obstacles are stopping a company from growing and how these can be addressed with marketing, advertising and creative solutions.

The first part of vision is understanding what ails a company, or what areas have potential for growth. The second part is understanding how branding, marketing, and advertising can be utilized to solve these problems and accelerate growth. Finally, vision guides creative efforts, helping graphic designers, writers, photographers, and illustrators build a creative campaign that operates in the service of an overarching goal.

Vision Cannot Be Taught

One of the things that makes vision such a valuable trait (and something that only an agency can offer) is that it is not something that can be learned or even taught. Vision is something that you develop after working in the industry for years. It’s not just the ability to look at a company and its marketing campaign’s big picture– it’s the ability to see and recognize problems as well as identify the long-term solutions. Until you’ve been in the industry for a while, it’s hard to recognize what solutions will and will not work for the unique problems that each business has.

Anyone can develop short-term solutions. In order to build campaigns that will have a lasting effect, you need a deep, nuanced understanding of marketing honed from years of experience– you need a vision.


The Difference Between Art and Creative Marketing

The truth is, without vision, you’re moving away from creative marketing and closer to art. While art has its place, creativity in marketing and advertising needs to serve a different purpose.

Without something driving and guiding your creative endeavors, you’re wasting time and energy. Beyond the wasted effort, creativity without vision can even damage your marketing campaigns. If you accept any creative idea for use in your campaign, you risk creating a scatterbrained, confused campaign that sends a misguided message.

In order for your marketing and advertising campaigns to be successful, you need to start with vision. Unless you have a comprehensive understanding of the situation and a road map to the solution, your creative potential will be wasted. However, with vision that has been developed through industry experience, agencies can take creative thoughts and mold them into valuable material for meeting long-term goals and messaging.


Vision Means Understanding and Communicating Your Brand

Vision is also closely linked to your brand. We’ve talked about branding in some of our other posts, but for a quick recap, branding is what sets your business, product and services apart from similar companies. Branding should strongly inform vision, and later, your creative endeavors. Agencies should serve as coordinators of your branding and your creative efforts, keeping everything in line with the long-term vision.

In practice, this means coordinating all your marketing and advertising (slogans, logos, graphic design, copywriting, photography, video, and illustrations) so that everything is a cohesive whole. Through unifying these aspects, campaigns send a strong, clearly defined message to the audience. This also means turning down or keeping out certain creative ideas– someone may have a brilliant idea, but if it distracts from your primary message, it will only confuse the audience and weaken your overall campaign. Your messaging, image, and brand needs to be carefully managed, and this can mean turning away good ideas if they don’t fit your objective.

Once you’ve tied together your creative endeavors, your branding, and vision to guide your campaigns, you will find that everything works in concert to produce something greater than the sum of its parts.


Bringing it All Together

Creativity is a valuable tool. Vision is the ability to recognize when and how to use that tool to meet a company’s needs. Bottom line? Don’t settle for an agency that offers creativity without a greater vision. While creativity is certainly impressive, long-term success and ROI hinges upon an experienced assessment of the situation and a deep understanding of the solution. Here at PGN, we have over 30 years of experience in using inspired, creative work to not only “wow” audiences but also achieve lasting success.

PGN Agency has an extensive track record of bringing our clients returns on their marketing and advertising campaigns. If you would like to learn how PGN can come up with creative marketing solutions to drive YOUR business’s growth, feel free to contact us directly at 248-414-6860. One of our friendly team members will help assess your needs, and put together a game plan for success!