Marketing is a very interesting and rewarding field that has allowed me to travel, work with other creative people you often see on TV and in movies, and never really feel like I’ve been working, because basically what I do is play with words and ideas. And yes, even after all these years in the business, I’m still active and making a good living at it. It’s a skill that improves with time.

But long ago, I realized that the most rewarding feeling I’ve ever gotten from any of my creative endeavors was when I was helping to promote a good, spiritual concept that could help people in the long run, and not just sell them a product that might make them happy in the short term.

What you do with what you learn here is, naturally, up to you. But if I’m successful, you will be able to use the insights shared to help you communicate better and use your own creativity to raise the level of awareness of what you’re offering.

Okay, that’s the “why” of this article.

Now, here’s “how.” The Creative Strategy – why is it important?

The word strategy is an interesting one. It comes straight from a Greek word meaning “generalship.” It originally meant the art of planning and directing military activity in a war or battle.; now, strategy means any plan designed to achieve a particular long-term aim.

That’s why this business has adopted the word. And long-term in marketing really means long-term. I remember seeing a list in one of advertising’s trade magazines not too long ago, which listed brands that were number one fifty and even a hundred years ago or more, and that are still on top – and it’s because of smart, creative strategic thinking. Ivory Soap, Tide, Coca-Cola and many others are old names that are just as successful today as they were way back when.

Advertising, marketing and public relations agencies spend a lot of time and money developing a creative strategy before they even think about what words, pictures or sounds will go into the message. Why? Because if they didn’t, they could be wasting even more time and money with the wrong message.

Most likely, your creative budget won’t be as big as a national or international advertiser, but you can use the same tool to get to your strategy as they can. And you’ve already paid for it by signing up for this course. You’re about to get more than your money’s worth in this first lesson, because I’m going to share with you my adaptation of the same questionnaire that the big guys use to get to their creative strategy.

When you get to it, it will be a statement – a seemingly simple statement, such as “Air Ukraine brings the experience of the Ukraine to Americans in the air.” (I did work for the U.S. division of an international airline, but it was for a more familiar European destination.)

As I said, it seems like a simple statement. But it identifies the difference between that product and all its competitors. No one else can make that claim.

In the ad world, nothing proceeds until everyone agrees with the statement – client, agency, client’s spouse – whoever makes decisions. And there is an important reason for that. It is because every message, every ad, every radio and tv commercial, every news release, every communication between the client and the target audience will be based on that strategy.

This is known as ‘staying on point’. A far-out creative idea that would be the best commercial ever seen in a Super Bowl broadcast and that would win every major creative award there is, would be never see the light of day if it weren’t “on strategy.” Why? Because it wouldn’t advance the brand, it would confuse the message, it just plain would not sell. This is just as true with ministry things.

You have to understand what advertising and marketing are all about, especially when marketing spirituality. When I lecture, I usually begin with a question that stumps 95% of my audience. “What is another word for advertising or marketing,” I ask. And I see blank stares. The light goes on in those eyes when I tell them the word is “salesmanship.”

That’s what we are talking about. Selling. Advertising – and marketing – is selling, without the advantage of being fact-to-face with your prospect. That’s why you need creativity. Because selling can’t be dull. It is your only chance, and you’re not there to influence the prospect with your personality, so your personality better be in your message.

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