Before you begin your marketing or creative process, it is really important to identify what you are trying to accomplish – and what you are expecting from the end result.
During the process, you will undoubtedly receive a lot of unsolicited feedback and personal “opinions” on what you need to do and how it should look. It will be important to evaluate the finished product (or options) against the brand elements and their relevance to the target audience – not anyone’s personal preference.
The most important thing to remember is that you can’t please everyone – so you need to focus on the ultimate target audience.
One of Aesop’s Fables (The man, the boy, and the donkey) clearly illustrates the futility of using a wide feedback loop for your creative decisions.
The fable features a man and his son going with their donkey to the market. As they walk along, a passerby laughs at them, asking what a donkey is for but for riding? So the man lifts his son onto the animal’s back. A little further on, a group of men heckle the boy and curse the young generation that would let their fathers walk while they ride. So the boy gets down and the man starts to ride. But later on, two women pass by and condemn the laziness of the father, forcing his boy to walk in the dust.
So the father pulled his boy up onto the donkey and they both began to ride, until they meet more people who accuse them of mistreating the donkey, forcing it to carry such a heavy load. So they both got down, cut a pole from a nearby tree, bound the donkey’s legs together, slung it over the pole and began to carry the donkey. A little further on, they came to the Market Bridge. The donkey got a foot loose and kicked out. In the ensuing struggle, the donkey fell over the bridge into the river. Unable to free its legs, it drowns.
The moral of the story – “please all, and you will please none”.
Now apply this story to your current marketing or design project. You can’t develop an effective creative solution by following peripheral opinions or by using a committee.
At some point in the process, those responsible have to ignore all of the dissenting opinions and all of the conflicting input, and do something that works for the brand, the positioning and the company reality. And in most situations, that will take courage.
Remember – a brand doesn’t have to work for everyone, just for the desired target audience.