Dear Proactive Ideas

Dear Proactive Ideas,

I love you. I need you. I know that you come from a place of deep-seated love, passion and commitment. I know that you mean well, but please don’t forget to include me in your process. Pretty please?

Love always,


Proactive ideas are great. They allow creatives to give client unexpected ideas that are not constricted by timing plans and Chase. There are almost no boundaries, which means more room to be creative. Although less room tends to result in better ideas.

Proactive ideas are not meant to be exclusive or removed from the brand and business challenges.

The notion of proactive ideas is that they are not expected, but needed; at least that’s how they should be positioned and presented to clients. I caution against producing proactive ideas for the sake of creativity only.

Proactive ideas reveal one particular thing, a client’s business or brand is being thought about at some point during the day inside an ad agency, without being told or briefed to do so – which is fantastic. But, the reality is that proactive ideas are more often than not, an exercise and an opportunity for creative agencies to win awards.

To better sell your proactive ideas, ensure that your ideas do the following:

  • Make sure that the idea stems from a strategic pain point or challenge
  • The idea is not just a “nice idea” and will win awards – awards are great for everyone, but we all know that the awards are for the agencies
  • Do not surprise the client with big budget proactive ideas – remember that in client’s world, proactive ideas are by default not part of their calendar or fiscal and have therefore not budgeted for them neither financially nor emotionally
  • Have a strategic build into your presentation to show that you’ve really thought about the idea from a business and strategic point of view, and it is therefore not just a Loeries exercise at the expense of client
  • Sensitize client to potential proactive ideas well in advance – make sure that you sell them on the idea of proactive thinking as a business necessity and part of your value add. This will create a certain level of expectation, which will help you sell your ideas better
  • Before you can sell clients on creative proactive ideas, make sure that you deliver on official work. There is not point in you or your agency missing official deadlines, briefs and deliever substandard work, and then trying to simultaneously sell proactive ideas. You will fail. The implication therein is that in order to sell proactive ideas; you need a happy client. Happy clients make for a better and receptive audience to proactive ideas

P.S.: proactive ideas need to be strategically sound, they still need to help the business sell more, increase sales, brand equity, presence, awareness, consideration and the total brand experience.

When producing proactive ideas; ask yourself, what will they do for the business. If the answer is “nothing” or “I’m not sure”; ask the strategist to help you. Chances are, they may be able to tell you what challenges that particular client is facing.

Use your strategist for proactive ideas. It’s called a proactive “idea”, but to sell it, your also need a strategically sound argument. Everything needs strategy.

Hope that this piece added value to your knowledge bucket.

Thank you for reading and share if this piece made your smile, nod, laugh or even disagree.

Bogosi Motshegwa

Brand Strategy Consultant

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