Theo Erasmus – how to inspire creatives

Theo worked as a high level Creative Director before he switched to Planning. In this session he gives us tips on how to inspire Creatives. Theo has been Strategy Director at Gloo in Capetown, but most recently moved to Cummins & Partners in Melbourne.

Short and Sweet

  • Theo started out in law and journalism before he started his ad career as a copywriter. During his first 10 years he worked his way up to Executive Creative Director and then switched to Planning as it was an opportunity to look at advertising in a different way.
  • His experiences in the creative department have been beneficial for his strategic approach, knowing how creatives think and where they start their thinking. As a result Theo is naturally inclined to think more with the left side of his brain and frame big problems in a more emotional way.
  • His observation is that many strategists start too early with a structure and therefore don’t take many interesting potential thoughts and insights into consideration. Instead of looking at advertising as inspiration Theo recommends to find interesting stories and cultural insights beyond the business.
  • Whilst desktop research is really good for cross referencing, 9 times out of 10 real inspiration for creatives comes from an anecdote. And the only way to find those is to go and talk to people.
  • He recommends to hold off with too many business problems and numbers too early in the process as it can quickly kill creative’s enthusiasm. Instead the most inspiring thing you can do is to make your target audience tangible and create empathy for them.
  • Final tips: 1. Learn some other skills beyond the one standard way of thinking. e.g. Creative and Strategy. 2. Present the people the creatives need to talk to in a way that makes them really tangible. – If you can tell the story about the people so the creatives think I really want to solve the problem for them, thats by far the most inspiring thing you can do.

Some Statements we liked

“If you can tell the story about the people so the creatives think I really want to solve the problem for them, thats by far the most inspiring thing you can do.”

More about Theo Erasmus

A recent article about Theo. And find him on Linkedin.

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