At times, advertising seems like a divided field in regards to the type of professionals it employs. Even on the side of advertising creativity, you have the art directors and copywriters whose effectiveness is contingent upon coming up with concepts that are thought provoking and unique, and on other side, the account planners who rely on research and insights to inform and apply structure to the development of the creative idea.
Coming from two different spectrums of the drawing board, there is plentiful opportunity for opposition when it comes to brand and product development. Rather than focusing on the differences in approach, both parties must learn how to blend the evaluation and creative process simultaneously in order to create the ideal environment for an effective creative process. Failure to do so may result in gridlock and uninformed judgment of creative concepts and themes.
In universal terms, analytical and creative thinking utilize problem-solving abilities which rely on different skill sets. Analytical thinking can also be called logical thinking, while creative thinking is sometimes referred to as “lateral” thinking. Others illustrate the point further as being more left-brain (analytical) or right-brain (creative) thinking.
The Application of Analytical Thinking
The most effective brands are those who were conceived through the merge of creative branding ideas and a comprehensive understanding of the research conducted to understand the marketplace, the product and the consumer. Analytical thinking is critical to break down the research into usable insights that will guide the creative process. Only through this type of careful analysis can opportunities be discovered, audience engagement and the correct positioning can be achieved within the competitive landscape of the brand.
Analytical thinkers need to apply their process for the following areas for their skill to be appreciated:
- Communication. Being able to communicate the patterns and solutions that you find in large data sets are a feat unto itself. This takes the form of reporting and presenting your findings and effectively streamlining processes for improved productivity.
- Creativity. Even though we are talking about analyzing, it also takes part of your right-side brain to extrapolate the data that others do not see and then come up with strategic planning to synthesize the process into a new model and accomodate the budgets accordingly.
- Critical Thinking. Part of being analytical is being critical. Critical thinking refers to evaluating the information extracted from the data and then making a decision. These decisions can involve risk assessment and prioritizing tasks accordingly.
- Data Analysis. Perhaps data analysis already sounds like what we have been discussing, but applying your analytical thinking encompasses not just being able to understand data, but being able to apply it to various scenarios.
- Having the right conclusions, means mining from the right data. A good analyzer is a good investigator, separating facts from fluff in your inventory of information from which to draw strategy.
Feed the Creative Process
Since analytical thinking helps feed the creative process by inferring buyer motivations and preferences, creative professionals can walk into the creative development meeting knowing what they want to achieve through a well-crafted creative brief. In turn, time spent developing, testing and evaluating creative concepts can be reduced significantly. A good creative brief produced by the account planner with a firm base on the thorough understanding of the research insights will reduce the likelihood of a contest between creatives and account planners over the creative strategy and executions.
A good creative brief is the ideal love child between creative and analytical thinking. This is why looking at problems or situations from a fresh perspective can provide atypical solutions. In order to feed creative thinking, try using unstructured approaches such as brainstorming. If a structured process is required, then try lateral thinking, a form of structured creative thinking. Lateral thinking changes the frame of reference. Left-brain thinking tries to meet problems head-on while lateral thinking wants to bypass problems completely with a radically different approach.
Maintain a Balance
To ensure analytical thinking and creativity are used harmoniously, creative teams must be able to embrace both areas of the strategy development, research and creative thinking, without stifling either. This includes having a well-rounded creative team, comprised of research savvy account planners and open minded creatives.
Never think of creative thinking vs analytical thinking as a competition for people who think that way, but by challenging yourself to do both while acknowledging that others might have a propensity for one or the other. This kind of empathy for your team members’ abilities allows others to shine and makes you a more valuable asset to any team. For example, if you can tell who is more analytical vs creative, this does not have to be frustrating if it is not who you think – instead, think of ways to present hard data to the analytical thinker and more visual examples to the creative thinker.
Cultivate your Creativity at Florida International University (FIU) and Miami Ad School
The Global Strategic Communications Creative Track program leads to a Master of Science Degree in Mass Communication with a specialty in Creativity, also known as the Creative Track. This program, in partnership with world renowned Miami Ad School, is designed to tap into a student’s creative skills and strategic thinking. Learn how to develop an advertising campaign through the analysis of a brand’s issues with creative solutions that engage consumers at the deepest levels.
The program combines the theoretical and academic courses of Florida International University with creative skills development courses taken at Miami Ad School, learning from instructors that are at the top of their academic and professional careers.
If you are ready to harness your creative ability and strategic thinking, and earn a graduate degree from two top world renowned institutions, contact Grizelle De Los Reyes, Director of the Global Strategic Communications Creative Track program.