In this article, I’m speaking with a strategist, author, and professor Douglas Davis, about the creative strategy framework and process for brands and how to bridge the gap between design and strategy.
Now, Douglas Davis has an absolutely stellar career, he’s the principal of Brooklyn based agency, The Davis group, he’s on sabbatical at the moment after a transformation of term, as the chair at Emmy award-winning BFA communication design at New York City College of technology.
He’s a regular speaker at industry conferences, such as how design live and RGD design thinkers and he’s the author of the outstanding book Create A Strategy And The Business Of Design.
So if you want to learn how to fuse creativity with strategic thinking, so you can lead strategic workshops and brand strategy projects from a progressive and super cool New York-based professor and stick around for this article.
The Creative Strategy Framework & Process (With Douglas Davis) [The Video Breakdown]
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Why Brand Strategy Is Important Modern Creatives?
Why do you think it’s so critical, especially in today’s day and age with the creative industry, the way it is. Why do you think it’s so critical for designers to be able to speak business and answer those bigger strategic questions?
Douglas Davis (Summarized)
I personally think that, and this is, again, my opinion. the reason why it’s important for us to understand strategy and to learn businesses, because you never know what part of that negotiation you’re going to be in. You never know when those transitions are going to happen.
And I think. It’s always important to, to really keep in mind, something that I think that some of the university programs fall short in, which is, we’re being asked to solve a business problem with creativity and that creativity has to be on brand, on strategy and on message.
I can wrap this answer up by saying that our clients, our business teammates, they’re not going to learn creative. They’re not gonna learn Pantone colors, and they’re not gonna learn the aesthetic things that we learned. They’re not interested in typefaces. They don’t want to hear the story of how you were inspired whenever you were hiking in Norway or wherever you were, when the inspiration hits you.
They just want to hear what your recommendation is.
And so you have to understand what a business or marketing objectives are in order to, as a creative person often do your analysis. And so that’s the reason why it’s very important to learn and understand how to speak the language of business.
How To Bridge The Gap Between Design And Strategy?
There seems to be a blind spot in the middle which is the brand’s strategy where you both kind of know about it and slowly, the creative starts addressing bit by bit, is that how do you see the creative’s role in bridging that gap to raise that conversation about the brand strategy, even if the client is not?
Douglas Davis (summarised)
In our field, everybody has an opinion and I guess just in the larger, everybody has an opinion, right but our clients pay us for our analysis. And so I think it’s just so important for us as great people, because think about it. Like we all go through as people who are, our superpowers are harnessing our emotions.
Harness what we feel, what we’re experiencing visually, and how that makes us feel.
I guess I would look at what our role is as creative people and say that we are tasked with translating the rational language of business and translating that into the emotional language of design.
So it’s so important for us to understand what those things are. And yes, it’s our role because if you think about us as creatives.
Again, a superpower is that we can harness our emotions, but it’s our worst enemy. Everything about the journey of how you got there. They just want to hear your recommendation upfront and then why.
So the challenge is that if you can’t harness those emotions, if you can’t take control of what you’re thinking and feeling in that moment, when that transition happens and you’re in that room, your work can go down the table And we all walk in, they’re overworked, juggling a whole bunch of projects, and we are emotional people.
So it’s a superpower, but it’s also our worst enemy in terms of that emotional sort of how we feel about fear a lot as a result of that.