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Creative Consulting... Skilled Planning for a Great Return

By: Brian Lehmer at Lehmer and Associates

Submitted on Sat, Feb 2nd, 2008 4:26 am

When it comes to design and copywriting services there is vast potential to boost profits and an equally vast potential to waste your money.The key to unlocking the profitable side of creative work lies in an often overlooked resource.The marketing design consultant.

In this document I prefer to call that person a creative consultant, because, we are talking about much more than design, we are talking about creative writing and production as well.

With the help of consulting, the communication of your message will carry more appeal and help build or establish brand loyalty.The primary job of the creative consultant is to help you maximize the return on your investment.

Small projects, such as logos, or direct mail pieces benefit in a big way from creative consulting, but as branding and promotional projects increase in scale, the benefits of a creative consultant become even more pronounced.

Unless you have experience in creative direction, dividing your creative services up between several designers and writers will most likely kill your chances for a stellar performance in promotional marketing.Most larger scale projects will involve multiple designers or writers which is why the benefits of managed creative services become more apparent as the scale of your project increases.

The return on your promotion is typically increased by hiring a firm that manages or provides in-house talent across the gamut of creative services, but don't throw out the possibility of hiring a skilled creative director as a consultant to bring together an entirelyfresh outside team of talented designers and writers.Especially whenthe impact of the contentis extremely crucial, as would be the case when your competition has gone all out to give their product or service a very strongly branded identity, forcing you to compete at their level or raise the bar.

If you approach hiring creative services from a contract labor mentality, typically offering the work to the low bidder, you are throwing money down the drain.It is a case where what is cheap is not necessarily inexpensive.Not that you shouldn\'t be frugal. The thing is that frugality should be the job of your creative consultant - to the degree that you advise them to be.In business, you know that cost is always measured in terms of return.With a qualified creative consultant you can set your marketing budget to the maximum advisable level and be confident that you will see the kind of dollar for dollar return that a smaller budget could not achieve.If you don't hire a consultant, you're better off not spending big money (relative to your business) in promotional marketing.

Getting What You Pay For and Then Some

No matter how much or how little you want to be involved in the direction of your creative services, be prepared and willing to take advice.If you aren't you'll probably end up getting ripped off without knowing it.If you don't end up getting advice from the firm you hire for creative services, you shouldn't be paying them - or at least not very much.I guarantee you that there are plenty of students of design and writing out there willing to do as much for free just to get the experience.

When the time comes to put the design and copy into production, having a single creative manager handle the processes will ensure that quality and consistency are achieved.For example, printing is a complex piece of the creative puzzle.It not simply a matter of taking your project to the printer and asking how quickly they can get it done.The materials, the settings within your creative documents, and the proofing of the final product all require intense consideration.The same principle applies to sign construction, embroidery, selection of voice talent or actors, technical implementation such as web programming, and nearly every other area of creative production.

Remember, in creative services you are paying for results, not just an identity.When you take this approach you will maximize your chances for getting those results and be building a very durable brand identity that will resonate in the minds of your target audience for a long time to come.

About the Author

Brian Lehmer
Lehmer and Associates

Brian Lehmer is a founding member of the award winning Lehmer & Associates LLC where he currently serves as an illustrator, brand consultant, and project manager.

Prior to this Brian Lehmer served as a creative director and analyst on numerous projects while employed in California.

Brian now works remotely from his home in the scenic Ozarks of southern Missouri. He credits much of his continuing success to the help and support of his wife Olga and their three children.

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