Choosing the Right Creative Concepts for your Micro-Business

Have you ever looked at the ideas provided by your graphic designer or advertising agency and not known which to choose? We often pick the most visually appealing one, but we really want the approach that will most effectively present the right image for our micro-business, communicate our proposition most effectively, and ultimately generate most sales.

The steps below will help you decide. They can be used whether it’s a new website, logo, leaflet, advert or business cards.

Although these steps will help enormously, there is one major additional point that needs to be made clear: your thoughts on the item are irrelevant. Instead, you have to put yourself in the customer’s shoes – what will they think of it? You might like pretty pink flowers, but if it doesn’t create the right image in the minds of your prospects, it will fail.

Does it reflect what you asked for?

The design you’re looking at can only ever be as good as the information given to the designer. If you don’t like the designs, it might be because you didn’t provide the right information originally, or weren’t clear yourself on what you were really looking for. Read Briefing a Design Agency for further guidance on this.

If the design has met the brief but it’s not actually what you’re looking for, you’ll have to ask the designer to do something different. But remember that it’s better to do this now, rather than after you’ve produced it.

Does it clearly explain your Unique Selling Points (USP)?

The USPs should be clear from the concept. If you have a choice of designs, select the one that most clearly demonstrates the benefits your product or service gives to customers.

If the piece doesn’t seem to convey your USP then it might be because you haven’t clearly understood it yourself. If so, read Unique Selling Points for hints and tips on how to identify a USP and make it effective.

Does it convey what you want the customer to do – and why?

The purpose of your marketing is to create some kind of reaction. It might be a purchase, an enquiry or to seek more information. It may even be to add something to a debate or spread knowledge. These aims are all fine – just make sure the item makes clear what it is you want the reader to do. And give them a reason to do so.

If you want them to buy now, say ‘buy now and get a discount of XX%’. If you want them to visit your website, say ‘visit our website and sign up for our newsletter’ and give them the web address in big, clear letters (or an obvious link to it in online items).

What was your initial reaction?

Whatever it was, it will probably create the same reaction in other people who see it. If you thought the colours were a bit garish, so will some of the recipients. Don’t ignore this initial reaction, as it’s the only chance you’ll get to experience it. Newspaper adverts and direct mailing items only have seconds to attract someone’s attention, so this initial reaction is hugely important.

What’s your gut feel?

This doesn’t mean you should make the decision based purely on instinct. Producing an effective piece will need time and attention to detail. But if something is nagging you – good or bad – you need to explore what it is and take appropriate action.

Now you’ve answered these questions – but from the potential customer’s perspective rather than your own – you’re ready to select the design you want to proceed with.

There are other decisions to make, e.g. colours, fonts, actual words etc., but the steps above are the fundamental starting point.