The COMPLETE Creative Strategy Guide from Goodo Studios

Here’s the story of how I almost lost a million dollars for my client.

I almost didn’t run an ad we created.

We were on production and the talent was a woman that was a friend of a friend.

Great - not an actress, just a regular person like you and me.

We got to recording the script but she was a bit more tense.

She looked off camera at times.

I was not confident but I thought with the edit we could make it work.

We get the edit back, it still felt stiff, but at the same time, the edit was done well and the script was great.

What was said would impact the viewer.

My team sent it over.

It ran.

It has over a million dollars in spend.

$1,000,000+ in spend.

Goodo Studios has worked with over 100 brands.

I have looked at easily thousands ad accounts.

Studied thousands of ads.

Most failing ads or accounts have one problem.

Bad ideation.

Very rarely is the camera or talent the issue as much as the idea was bad from the start.

In today’s newsletter, I am going deep on ideation and how to make million dollar ads from start to finish.

We have provided a template of EVERYTHING you need to do what we teach.

Creative Strategy Document Template

———————————————————————————————————————————

Preparing for content

Before you jump on Facebook ads library, rip a script off based on something you see, and then go and create, we need to go all the way back to the beginning.

What I am about to share with you is exactly how we help brands with ideation.

You will see how intense and deep we go.

Please do not skip these steps.

You are not cooler than the following exercises.

You aren’t above doing the work.

Doing the work allows you to make great ads.

Don’t assume you already know these things. Take time to actually do each step, you will thank me later.

Product Education

Product education feels obvious, but most people don’t go deep enough.

You need to read everything on the site - I am talking product descriptions and every ingredient.

First, study the product you are going to advertise. The more you know about it, the more likely you are to come up with a big idea for selling it.”David Ogilvy, Ogilvy on Advertising

Learn how the product is made.

Then research everything about this product on the internet.

Any blog, youtube video, or article you can get on the brand or product - read and watch.

Unless you are the founder of the company, you would be surprised how many employees of brands have never done a deep dive on their own product and brand.

Now you want to research this type of product or material outside of the context of the brand.

For example, if you are selling hair growth supplements, you want to research the ingredients separately. You would also want to research hair loss in general.

By the end of this exercise, you should not only be an expert of the product and brand but also the category/industry you are building within.

To review:

  • Deep dive on the product in the websiteRead blogs, articles, Youtube videos, etc. on the brand and product

  • Research type of product or material outside of the context of the brand

Competition

You want to look at competition, not as a way to copy them, but as a way to understand your positioning.

If you copy a brand, it will be very hard to win.

But if you understand where your competitors are, you can find openings in the market, and craft your message and product to fit where no one else is.

Competition is also not just direct competitors.

You can have competitors in different industries or activities that still affect your sales.

This is especially important if you are a first mover in a category. If you are the first, you need to know where consumers are to position yourself properly.

In a table, list out your competition, their website, socials, and ad library.

Then just as you deep dived on yourself, you want to deep dive on the competition.

When you look at competition, don’t look at it from a lens of what to copy, look at it from the perspective of the consumer.

How do consumers perceive this other brand, product, or activity?

What are consumers saying about this competitor?

As you do this, you will start to see how you might start talking about your brand and product to consumers.

To review:

  • List out competition with their website, socials, and ad library.

  • Read everything like blogs, articles, Youtube videos, etc. on the competitors.

  • Research from the consumer perspective - How do consumers perceive this other brand, product, or activity?

Reading Reviews and Surveys

If you have reviews, this is a great place to be able to find customer stories.

Learning how a customer talks about your product is so important.

You can learn a lot by browsing reviews.

Add a CSV file of your review to the template we provided.

You will get a word bubble that will populate most used words.

You can start to find themes that go across many reviews.

In the table you can filter by phrases or words to read the full reviews.

This is invaluable.

Heck save some of these for later - they could become a script.

If you have quizzes and surveys, this is a good place to add that data and review it.

If you don’t find the data from surveys or quizzes helpful, think about refining questions.

SWOT Analysis

The good ole SWOT analysis.

Strengths
Weaknesses
Opportunities
Threats

You can believe you have the best products, but you need to know your weaknesses.

By being honest with yourself, you are better off in how to communicate your product.

Again, do this exercise from the perspective of a consumer.

How do they perceive buying from you?

What will they see as a strength or weakness?

This exercise opens up what you might want to focus on… or avoid.

To review:

  • Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

  • Do this exercise from the perspective of a consumer.

Hesitations and Reasons to Buy

A lot of people just focus on why you should buy their product.

Knowing what are a consumer’s hesitations is a superpower.

Hesitations are hurdles in the journey for a consumer to buy your product.

If you know the hesitations, your ads can speak directly to the hesitations which will allow them to jump over the hurdles faster and become a customer.

You want to be able to have a list of reasons to buy that you can reference as you are building out ads.

This might feel obvious when you read it, but many people have not done these small steps to allow them to be better communicators of their brand and product.

To review:

  • List out hesitations to buy

  • List out reasons to buy

Reference Points

Now we are getting to the true creative strategy.

Everything before this exercise is a primer to get you ready.

Reference Points.

This was built internally at Goodo Studios based on the work of Gerald Zaltman.

95% of human thought is subconscious.

The subconscious does not think in words or language.

It thinks in imagery and emotions.

The subconscious is what makes decisions - buying decisions.

So when a customer tells you why they buy, they aren’t lying to you, but most likely it isn’t the full truth.

It isn’t their fault though.

It is hard to describe everything that happened in your subconscious - again words and language usually never fully capture the emotions and imagery in the subconscious.

Our goal is to go deeper with the consumer.

Our other goal is to connect the subconscious of a consumer to your product.

How do we do that if no one has heard of your brand or product?

A reference point.

Yes, the consumer has never experienced your product, but they have experienced emotions and images in their life.

We need to connect what is familiar (their life experiences) to what is unfamiliar (the product or brand) using a reference point.

Your ads should have one of these reference points in order to give your ad the best shot of winning.

There are seven reference points: Balance, Journey, Transformation, Container, Connection, Resource, and Control.

What you want to do is start to list out under each reference point how you might show and talk about your product in relation to the consumer.

Balance

Meaning: Represents equilibrium or stability. In marketing, it can refer to how a product brings balance or stability to a customer's life. You can also talk about before the product, the imbalance or instability to a customer’s life.

Application: Write out visuals and ideas on how the product can restore or maintain balance, whether it's emotional, physical, or practical.

Examples: Skin was filled with acne (out of balance) // Skin is clear from acne (in balance)

Journey

Meaning: Embodies the concept of a path or progression. It's about the experience or transformation that occurs from start to finish.

Application: Position the product as part of the customer's personal or professional journey, highlighting growth, change, or the process of achieving goals.

Examples: Getting ready for a date with makeup // Finding confidence with clothes that finally fit

Transformation

Meaning: Focuses on change, evolution, or metamorphosis. It’s about a significant shift in state or being. From state A to state B.

Application: This to this. Show how the product can transform the customer's life, situation, or self-perception.

Examples: Before and After // Acne to no acne

Container

Meaning: Represents something that holds, secures, or contains. It’s about safety, organization, or keeping things in order. A container can also keep things out for safety, organization, or order.

Application: Use this metaphor for products that help in organizing, securing, or simplifying life.

Examples: No artificial ingredients (keep things out) // 5 use cases in one makeup item

Connection

Meaning: Symbolizes relationships or links between entities. It's about creating bonds or bridging gaps.

Application: Highlight how the product connects people, ideas, or facilitates communication and relationships.

Examples: Feel closer with your wife after giving gift // Hosting friends and family is at the center with the new dining room table

Resource

Meaning: Represents utility, value, or something that can be used to achieve an end.

Application: Focus on how the product is a valuable resource or tool that can help achieve certain goals or tasks.

Examples: This material keeps your roof from leaking // Finally able to organize your gym bag

Control

Meaning: Involves the ability to influence, manage, or direct. It’s about power, autonomy, or mastery. Before the product, a person can be out of control, lacks mastery, or autonomy.

Application: Emphasize how the product gives control back to the user in some aspect of their life or work.

Example: Confidence after being acne-free (in control) // Never have time to be creative or have hobbies (out of control)

To Review:

By doing this exercise, you start to see the building block of a great ad coming together.

Not all of these reference points will work for your brand or product, but you can see how visuals and lines pop up in your mind.

Beautiful.

Your ads and bank account will thank you later.

Visual References

Too many people look to take a full ad and copy it.

You want to find interesting ideas and visuals from ads and find ways to add that into your ad.

Maybe you liked a hook from one video you saw, but then you are using a framework from a different ad.

The goal is to be saving visuals every day so that you have a swipe file to use. I am using Atria to save ads from Facebook ads library. (not sponsored)

The more ads and ideas you have saved the easier the creation process gets.

To review:

Build a swipe file of ads, photos, and videos.

———————————————————————————————————————————

If you have found this helpful so far and aren’t subscribed to the newsletter, can you take less than 10 seconds to add your email?

This newsletter is free to join and free to leave.

Subscribe

———————————————————————————————————————————

The Perfect Brief

We did all the ground work to be ready to start writing out concepts and briefs for your team or creators.

We don’t work with creators, so I will give you what we do and then after, I will talk about things you need extra for a creator.

What’s in a brief?

At the core of a good brief you need a few things:

  • Angle / Goal of video

  • Script

  • Shot list

  • Visual References + Ad References

My team uses Milanote (not sponsored) but I have seen briefs in Airtable, GDocs, Excel, and more.

Start by making briefs in the software your team already uses.

You can build a format that works for you but every brief needs these four ingredients to find success.

Angle / Goal of Video

Before you even start writing out your script or ideas, you need to answer this one question.

If the viewer can only learn one thing, what is the one thing you want them to know by the end of this ad?

When talking to people making ads, I start with this question.

Usually their answer does not match what the ads are saying.

With one sentence, you will have better success of writing a great ad.

Everything after this should lead back to the answer to the above question.

Script

The highest impact of an ad is the copy / script.

You should not leave that to someone who has not done all of the above research before creating.

Too many people outsource their copy to creators who frankly shouldn’t be writing their copy.

I am not saying that is true for all creators but most of the time when brands are not getting the results they want or even the content they want because the brief was not owned by someone who does the research on the brand.

You need to start with your Hook.

I would spend 5x the time on writing your hook.

Write out multiple hooks… like 20 but pick two.

You shouldn’t rush this part since the hook is the most critical part of the script.

From there you can write the rest of the script. Do not worry about visuals yet.

Here are 12 frameworks you could use:

  • AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action)

  • PAS (Pain, Agitate, Solve)

  • FAB (Features, Advantages, Benefits)

  • USP (Unique Selling Proposition)

  • EMPATH (Engage, Motivate, Promote, Acknowledge, Tailor, Highlight)

  • SEP (Story, Emotion, Point)4Ps (Picture, Promise, Proof, Push)

  • BAB (Before-After-Bridge)

  • PAPA (Problem, Agitate, Persuade, Asks)

  • 4Us (Useful, Urgent, Unique, Ultra-specific)

  • EPIC (Educate, Promote, Inform, Convert)

  • PSB (Problem-Solution-Benefit)

As you write a script, make it clear that what is being said builds the case for the angle/goal of the video.

Once you write the script out, separate it into sections or line by line so you can prepare for the shot list.

Shot List

The visuals of an ad are just the visualization of the script.

What is being shown on screen should be cohesive with what is being said.

That is why I like to create b-roll instructions below each line of the script.

If you want talking to camera, say that for the visual.

If you have great scripts, visuals are a lot easier to think of and build.

Visual References + Ad References

Describing what you seeing in your mind for the ad is hard.

Communicating creative work is difficult.

Visual references allow us to show and talk about what we are looking for.

Give a reference to show the talent on the ad what emotion you want as they talk. The reference could be for the editor on a certain moment. The reference could be to make sure to get the right angle of shot that is requested.

References should clarify and make sure everyone on the team is on the same page.

Briefs for Editors

If you are taking content from a library and mashing it up with an editor, you need to still do the above brief.

Your editor will THANK YOU for having clarity.

They are spending the time wading through a content library, the least you can do is be specific of your vision.

Most of the people frustrated with the content being produced for them comes down to them not being clear on their needs.

The brief is just as much for you to find clarity as it is to give clarity to the people making the ad.

Creators

If you are working with creators here is what I think you need to add on your briefs.

Give them a deck on your brand and product (the research you did above is perfect). The deck should catch a creator up to speed on who you are and the customers they are trying to reach.

You need to give a list of do’s and don’t for their content. This minimizes reshoots or lots of edits. The more you clarify up front, the better results you get later.

Personally, I would give them a built out script to work off of, but also give them the flexibility to riff from the script to make it more natural to them.

But please - give them structure. You should own that part.

This is better for the creator because they should be spending more time on being creative with their shots and acting.

Lastly, give them timelines, specific ways to communicate, and links to upload content.

Bonus Tips on Briefing

Once you write out your briefs, spend some time away, come back, then edit.

Editing can help refine your ideas and make sure you are hitting the goal of the video or static ad.

———————————————————————————————————————————

You can see how much work needs to happen before you even write one ad concept.

I basically gave you everything I have on creative strategy in one spot.

I know so many people will find this impactful.

Forward this email to your Slack, Teams (please no), or wherever you are communicate and I want you to get your whole creative team on this email so you can talk about it internally.

PS. here the resources from the newsletter.

Creative Strategy Document Template

The COMPLETE Creative Strategy Guide from Goodo Studios

Here’s the story of how I almost lost a million dollars for my client.

I almost didn’t run an ad we created.

We were on production and the talent was a woman that was a friend of a friend.

Great - not an actress, just a regular person like you and me.

We got to recording the script but she was a bit more tense.

She looked off camera at times.

I was not confident but I thought with the edit we could make it work.

We get the edit back, it still felt stiff, but at the same time, the edit was done well and the script was great.

What was said would impact the viewer.

My team sent it over.

It ran.

It has over a million dollars in spend.

$1,000,000+ in spend.

Goodo Studios has worked with over 100 brands.

I have looked at easily thousands ad accounts.

Studied thousands of ads.

Most failing ads or accounts have one problem.

Bad ideation.

Very rarely is the camera or talent the issue as much as the idea was bad from the start.

In today’s newsletter, I am going deep on ideation and how to make million dollar ads from start to finish.

We have provided a template of EVERYTHING you need to do what we teach.

Creative Strategy Document Template

———————————————————————————————————————————

Preparing for content

Before you jump on Facebook ads library, rip a script off based on something you see, and then go and create, we need to go all the way back to the beginning.

What I am about to share with you is exactly how we help brands with ideation.

You will see how intense and deep we go.

Please do not skip these steps.

You are not cooler than the following exercises.

You aren’t above doing the work.

Doing the work allows you to make great ads.

Don’t assume you already know these things. Take time to actually do each step, you will thank me later.

Product Education

Product education feels obvious, but most people don’t go deep enough.

You need to read everything on the site - I am talking product descriptions and every ingredient.

First, study the product you are going to advertise. The more you know about it, the more likely you are to come up with a big idea for selling it.”David Ogilvy, Ogilvy on Advertising

Learn how the product is made.

Then research everything about this product on the internet.

Any blog, youtube video, or article you can get on the brand or product - read and watch.

Unless you are the founder of the company, you would be surprised how many employees of brands have never done a deep dive on their own product and brand.

Now you want to research this type of product or material outside of the context of the brand.

For example, if you are selling hair growth supplements, you want to research the ingredients separately. You would also want to research hair loss in general.

By the end of this exercise, you should not only be an expert of the product and brand but also the category/industry you are building within.

To review:

  • Deep dive on the product in the websiteRead blogs, articles, Youtube videos, etc. on the brand and product

  • Research type of product or material outside of the context of the brand

Competition

You want to look at competition, not as a way to copy them, but as a way to understand your positioning.

If you copy a brand, it will be very hard to win.

But if you understand where your competitors are, you can find openings in the market, and craft your message and product to fit where no one else is.

Competition is also not just direct competitors.

You can have competitors in different industries or activities that still affect your sales.

This is especially important if you are a first mover in a category. If you are the first, you need to know where consumers are to position yourself properly.

In a table, list out your competition, their website, socials, and ad library.

Then just as you deep dived on yourself, you want to deep dive on the competition.

When you look at competition, don’t look at it from a lens of what to copy, look at it from the perspective of the consumer.

How do consumers perceive this other brand, product, or activity?

What are consumers saying about this competitor?

As you do this, you will start to see how you might start talking about your brand and product to consumers.

To review:

  • List out competition with their website, socials, and ad library.

  • Read everything like blogs, articles, Youtube videos, etc. on the competitors.

  • Research from the consumer perspective - How do consumers perceive this other brand, product, or activity?

Reading Reviews and Surveys

If you have reviews, this is a great place to be able to find customer stories.

Learning how a customer talks about your product is so important.

You can learn a lot by browsing reviews.

Add a CSV file of your review to the template we provided.

You will get a word bubble that will populate most used words.

You can start to find themes that go across many reviews.

In the table you can filter by phrases or words to read the full reviews.

This is invaluable.

Heck save some of these for later - they could become a script.

If you have quizzes and surveys, this is a good place to add that data and review it.

If you don’t find the data from surveys or quizzes helpful, think about refining questions.

SWOT Analysis

The good ole SWOT analysis.

Strengths
Weaknesses
Opportunities
Threats

You can believe you have the best products, but you need to know your weaknesses.

By being honest with yourself, you are better off in how to communicate your product.

Again, do this exercise from the perspective of a consumer.

How do they perceive buying from you?

What will they see as a strength or weakness?

This exercise opens up what you might want to focus on… or avoid.

To review:

  • Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

  • Do this exercise from the perspective of a consumer.

Hesitations and Reasons to Buy

A lot of people just focus on why you should buy their product.

Knowing what are a consumer’s hesitations is a superpower.

Hesitations are hurdles in the journey for a consumer to buy your product.

If you know the hesitations, your ads can speak directly to the hesitations which will allow them to jump over the hurdles faster and become a customer.

You want to be able to have a list of reasons to buy that you can reference as you are building out ads.

This might feel obvious when you read it, but many people have not done these small steps to allow them to be better communicators of their brand and product.

To review:

  • List out hesitations to buy

  • List out reasons to buy

Reference Points

Now we are getting to the true creative strategy.

Everything before this exercise is a primer to get you ready.

Reference Points.

This was built internally at Goodo Studios based on the work of Gerald Zaltman.

95% of human thought is subconscious.

The subconscious does not think in words or language.

It thinks in imagery and emotions.

The subconscious is what makes decisions - buying decisions.

So when a customer tells you why they buy, they aren’t lying to you, but most likely it isn’t the full truth.

It isn’t their fault though.

It is hard to describe everything that happened in your subconscious - again words and language usually never fully capture the emotions and imagery in the subconscious.

Our goal is to go deeper with the consumer.

Our other goal is to connect the subconscious of a consumer to your product.

How do we do that if no one has heard of your brand or product?

A reference point.

Yes, the consumer has never experienced your product, but they have experienced emotions and images in their life.

We need to connect what is familiar (their life experiences) to what is unfamiliar (the product or brand) using a reference point.

Your ads should have one of these reference points in order to give your ad the best shot of winning.

There are seven reference points: Balance, Journey, Transformation, Container, Connection, Resource, and Control.

What you want to do is start to list out under each reference point how you might show and talk about your product in relation to the consumer.

Balance

Meaning: Represents equilibrium or stability. In marketing, it can refer to how a product brings balance or stability to a customer's life. You can also talk about before the product, the imbalance or instability to a customer’s life.

Application: Write out visuals and ideas on how the product can restore or maintain balance, whether it's emotional, physical, or practical.

Examples: Skin was filled with acne (out of balance) // Skin is clear from acne (in balance)

Journey

Meaning: Embodies the concept of a path or progression. It's about the experience or transformation that occurs from start to finish.

Application: Position the product as part of the customer's personal or professional journey, highlighting growth, change, or the process of achieving goals.

Examples: Getting ready for a date with makeup // Finding confidence with clothes that finally fit

Transformation

Meaning: Focuses on change, evolution, or metamorphosis. It’s about a significant shift in state or being. From state A to state B.

Application: This to this. Show how the product can transform the customer's life, situation, or self-perception.

Examples: Before and After // Acne to no acne

Container

Meaning: Represents something that holds, secures, or contains. It’s about safety, organization, or keeping things in order. A container can also keep things out for safety, organization, or order.

Application: Use this metaphor for products that help in organizing, securing, or simplifying life.

Examples: No artificial ingredients (keep things out) // 5 use cases in one makeup item

Connection

Meaning: Symbolizes relationships or links between entities. It's about creating bonds or bridging gaps.

Application: Highlight how the product connects people, ideas, or facilitates communication and relationships.

Examples: Feel closer with your wife after giving gift // Hosting friends and family is at the center with the new dining room table

Resource

Meaning: Represents utility, value, or something that can be used to achieve an end.

Application: Focus on how the product is a valuable resource or tool that can help achieve certain goals or tasks.

Examples: This material keeps your roof from leaking // Finally able to organize your gym bag

Control

Meaning: Involves the ability to influence, manage, or direct. It’s about power, autonomy, or mastery. Before the product, a person can be out of control, lacks mastery, or autonomy.

Application: Emphasize how the product gives control back to the user in some aspect of their life or work.

Example: Confidence after being acne-free (in control) // Never have time to be creative or have hobbies (out of control)

To Review:

By doing this exercise, you start to see the building block of a great ad coming together.

Not all of these reference points will work for your brand or product, but you can see how visuals and lines pop up in your mind.

Beautiful.

Your ads and bank account will thank you later.

Visual References

Too many people look to take a full ad and copy it.

You want to find interesting ideas and visuals from ads and find ways to add that into your ad.

Maybe you liked a hook from one video you saw, but then you are using a framework from a different ad.

The goal is to be saving visuals every day so that you have a swipe file to use. I am using Atria to save ads from Facebook ads library. (not sponsored)

The more ads and ideas you have saved the easier the creation process gets.

To review:

Build a swipe file of ads, photos, and videos.

———————————————————————————————————————————

If you have found this helpful so far and aren’t subscribed to the newsletter, can you take less than 10 seconds to add your email?

This newsletter is free to join and free to leave.

Subscribe

———————————————————————————————————————————

The Perfect Brief

We did all the ground work to be ready to start writing out concepts and briefs for your team or creators.

We don’t work with creators, so I will give you what we do and then after, I will talk about things you need extra for a creator.

What’s in a brief?

At the core of a good brief you need a few things:

  • Angle / Goal of video

  • Script

  • Shot list

  • Visual References + Ad References

My team uses Milanote (not sponsored) but I have seen briefs in Airtable, GDocs, Excel, and more.

Start by making briefs in the software your team already uses.

You can build a format that works for you but every brief needs these four ingredients to find success.

Angle / Goal of Video

Before you even start writing out your script or ideas, you need to answer this one question.

If the viewer can only learn one thing, what is the one thing you want them to know by the end of this ad?

When talking to people making ads, I start with this question.

Usually their answer does not match what the ads are saying.

With one sentence, you will have better success of writing a great ad.

Everything after this should lead back to the answer to the above question.

Script

The highest impact of an ad is the copy / script.

You should not leave that to someone who has not done all of the above research before creating.

Too many people outsource their copy to creators who frankly shouldn’t be writing their copy.

I am not saying that is true for all creators but most of the time when brands are not getting the results they want or even the content they want because the brief was not owned by someone who does the research on the brand.

You need to start with your Hook.

I would spend 5x the time on writing your hook.

Write out multiple hooks… like 20 but pick two.

You shouldn’t rush this part since the hook is the most critical part of the script.

From there you can write the rest of the script. Do not worry about visuals yet.

Here are 12 frameworks you could use:

  • AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action)

  • PAS (Pain, Agitate, Solve)

  • FAB (Features, Advantages, Benefits)

  • USP (Unique Selling Proposition)

  • EMPATH (Engage, Motivate, Promote, Acknowledge, Tailor, Highlight)

  • SEP (Story, Emotion, Point)4Ps (Picture, Promise, Proof, Push)

  • BAB (Before-After-Bridge)

  • PAPA (Problem, Agitate, Persuade, Asks)

  • 4Us (Useful, Urgent, Unique, Ultra-specific)

  • EPIC (Educate, Promote, Inform, Convert)

  • PSB (Problem-Solution-Benefit)

As you write a script, make it clear that what is being said builds the case for the angle/goal of the video.

Once you write the script out, separate it into sections or line by line so you can prepare for the shot list.

Shot List

The visuals of an ad are just the visualization of the script.

What is being shown on screen should be cohesive with what is being said.

That is why I like to create b-roll instructions below each line of the script.

If you want talking to camera, say that for the visual.

If you have great scripts, visuals are a lot easier to think of and build.

Visual References + Ad References

Describing what you seeing in your mind for the ad is hard.

Communicating creative work is difficult.

Visual references allow us to show and talk about what we are looking for.

Give a reference to show the talent on the ad what emotion you want as they talk. The reference could be for the editor on a certain moment. The reference could be to make sure to get the right angle of shot that is requested.

References should clarify and make sure everyone on the team is on the same page.

Briefs for Editors

If you are taking content from a library and mashing it up with an editor, you need to still do the above brief.

Your editor will THANK YOU for having clarity.

They are spending the time wading through a content library, the least you can do is be specific of your vision.

Most of the people frustrated with the content being produced for them comes down to them not being clear on their needs.

The brief is just as much for you to find clarity as it is to give clarity to the people making the ad.

Creators

If you are working with creators here is what I think you need to add on your briefs.

Give them a deck on your brand and product (the research you did above is perfect). The deck should catch a creator up to speed on who you are and the customers they are trying to reach.

You need to give a list of do’s and don’t for their content. This minimizes reshoots or lots of edits. The more you clarify up front, the better results you get later.

Personally, I would give them a built out script to work off of, but also give them the flexibility to riff from the script to make it more natural to them.

But please - give them structure. You should own that part.

This is better for the creator because they should be spending more time on being creative with their shots and acting.

Lastly, give them timelines, specific ways to communicate, and links to upload content.

Bonus Tips on Briefing

Once you write out your briefs, spend some time away, come back, then edit.

Editing can help refine your ideas and make sure you are hitting the goal of the video or static ad.

———————————————————————————————————————————

You can see how much work needs to happen before you even write one ad concept.

I basically gave you everything I have on creative strategy in one spot.

I know so many people will find this impactful.

Forward this email to your Slack, Teams (please no), or wherever you are communicate and I want you to get your whole creative team on this email so you can talk about it internally.

PS. here the resources from the newsletter.

Creative Strategy Document Template

The COMPLETE Creative Strategy Guide from Goodo Studios

Here’s the story of how I almost lost a million dollars for my client.

I almost didn’t run an ad we created.

We were on production and the talent was a woman that was a friend of a friend.

Great - not an actress, just a regular person like you and me.

We got to recording the script but she was a bit more tense.

She looked off camera at times.

I was not confident but I thought with the edit we could make it work.

We get the edit back, it still felt stiff, but at the same time, the edit was done well and the script was great.

What was said would impact the viewer.

My team sent it over.

It ran.

It has over a million dollars in spend.

$1,000,000+ in spend.

Goodo Studios has worked with over 100 brands.

I have looked at easily thousands ad accounts.

Studied thousands of ads.

Most failing ads or accounts have one problem.

Bad ideation.

Very rarely is the camera or talent the issue as much as the idea was bad from the start.

In today’s newsletter, I am going deep on ideation and how to make million dollar ads from start to finish.

We have provided a template of EVERYTHING you need to do what we teach.

Creative Strategy Document Template

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Preparing for content

Before you jump on Facebook ads library, rip a script off based on something you see, and then go and create, we need to go all the way back to the beginning.

What I am about to share with you is exactly how we help brands with ideation.

You will see how intense and deep we go.

Please do not skip these steps.

You are not cooler than the following exercises.

You aren’t above doing the work.

Doing the work allows you to make great ads.

Don’t assume you already know these things. Take time to actually do each step, you will thank me later.

Product Education

Product education feels obvious, but most people don’t go deep enough.

You need to read everything on the site - I am talking product descriptions and every ingredient.

First, study the product you are going to advertise. The more you know about it, the more likely you are to come up with a big idea for selling it.”David Ogilvy, Ogilvy on Advertising

Learn how the product is made.

Then research everything about this product on the internet.

Any blog, youtube video, or article you can get on the brand or product - read and watch.

Unless you are the founder of the company, you would be surprised how many employees of brands have never done a deep dive on their own product and brand.

Now you want to research this type of product or material outside of the context of the brand.

For example, if you are selling hair growth supplements, you want to research the ingredients separately. You would also want to research hair loss in general.

By the end of this exercise, you should not only be an expert of the product and brand but also the category/industry you are building within.

To review:

  • Deep dive on the product in the websiteRead blogs, articles, Youtube videos, etc. on the brand and product

  • Research type of product or material outside of the context of the brand

Competition

You want to look at competition, not as a way to copy them, but as a way to understand your positioning.

If you copy a brand, it will be very hard to win.

But if you understand where your competitors are, you can find openings in the market, and craft your message and product to fit where no one else is.

Competition is also not just direct competitors.

You can have competitors in different industries or activities that still affect your sales.

This is especially important if you are a first mover in a category. If you are the first, you need to know where consumers are to position yourself properly.

In a table, list out your competition, their website, socials, and ad library.

Then just as you deep dived on yourself, you want to deep dive on the competition.

When you look at competition, don’t look at it from a lens of what to copy, look at it from the perspective of the consumer.

How do consumers perceive this other brand, product, or activity?

What are consumers saying about this competitor?

As you do this, you will start to see how you might start talking about your brand and product to consumers.

To review:

  • List out competition with their website, socials, and ad library.

  • Read everything like blogs, articles, Youtube videos, etc. on the competitors.

  • Research from the consumer perspective - How do consumers perceive this other brand, product, or activity?

Reading Reviews and Surveys

If you have reviews, this is a great place to be able to find customer stories.

Learning how a customer talks about your product is so important.

You can learn a lot by browsing reviews.

Add a CSV file of your review to the template we provided.

You will get a word bubble that will populate most used words.

You can start to find themes that go across many reviews.

In the table you can filter by phrases or words to read the full reviews.

This is invaluable.

Heck save some of these for later - they could become a script.

If you have quizzes and surveys, this is a good place to add that data and review it.

If you don’t find the data from surveys or quizzes helpful, think about refining questions.

SWOT Analysis

The good ole SWOT analysis.

Strengths
Weaknesses
Opportunities
Threats

You can believe you have the best products, but you need to know your weaknesses.

By being honest with yourself, you are better off in how to communicate your product.

Again, do this exercise from the perspective of a consumer.

How do they perceive buying from you?

What will they see as a strength or weakness?

This exercise opens up what you might want to focus on… or avoid.

To review:

  • Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

  • Do this exercise from the perspective of a consumer.

Hesitations and Reasons to Buy

A lot of people just focus on why you should buy their product.

Knowing what are a consumer’s hesitations is a superpower.

Hesitations are hurdles in the journey for a consumer to buy your product.

If you know the hesitations, your ads can speak directly to the hesitations which will allow them to jump over the hurdles faster and become a customer.

You want to be able to have a list of reasons to buy that you can reference as you are building out ads.

This might feel obvious when you read it, but many people have not done these small steps to allow them to be better communicators of their brand and product.

To review:

  • List out hesitations to buy

  • List out reasons to buy

Reference Points

Now we are getting to the true creative strategy.

Everything before this exercise is a primer to get you ready.

Reference Points.

This was built internally at Goodo Studios based on the work of Gerald Zaltman.

95% of human thought is subconscious.

The subconscious does not think in words or language.

It thinks in imagery and emotions.

The subconscious is what makes decisions - buying decisions.

So when a customer tells you why they buy, they aren’t lying to you, but most likely it isn’t the full truth.

It isn’t their fault though.

It is hard to describe everything that happened in your subconscious - again words and language usually never fully capture the emotions and imagery in the subconscious.

Our goal is to go deeper with the consumer.

Our other goal is to connect the subconscious of a consumer to your product.

How do we do that if no one has heard of your brand or product?

A reference point.

Yes, the consumer has never experienced your product, but they have experienced emotions and images in their life.

We need to connect what is familiar (their life experiences) to what is unfamiliar (the product or brand) using a reference point.

Your ads should have one of these reference points in order to give your ad the best shot of winning.

There are seven reference points: Balance, Journey, Transformation, Container, Connection, Resource, and Control.

What you want to do is start to list out under each reference point how you might show and talk about your product in relation to the consumer.

Balance

Meaning: Represents equilibrium or stability. In marketing, it can refer to how a product brings balance or stability to a customer's life. You can also talk about before the product, the imbalance or instability to a customer’s life.

Application: Write out visuals and ideas on how the product can restore or maintain balance, whether it's emotional, physical, or practical.

Examples: Skin was filled with acne (out of balance) // Skin is clear from acne (in balance)

Journey

Meaning: Embodies the concept of a path or progression. It's about the experience or transformation that occurs from start to finish.

Application: Position the product as part of the customer's personal or professional journey, highlighting growth, change, or the process of achieving goals.

Examples: Getting ready for a date with makeup // Finding confidence with clothes that finally fit

Transformation

Meaning: Focuses on change, evolution, or metamorphosis. It’s about a significant shift in state or being. From state A to state B.

Application: This to this. Show how the product can transform the customer's life, situation, or self-perception.

Examples: Before and After // Acne to no acne

Container

Meaning: Represents something that holds, secures, or contains. It’s about safety, organization, or keeping things in order. A container can also keep things out for safety, organization, or order.

Application: Use this metaphor for products that help in organizing, securing, or simplifying life.

Examples: No artificial ingredients (keep things out) // 5 use cases in one makeup item

Connection

Meaning: Symbolizes relationships or links between entities. It's about creating bonds or bridging gaps.

Application: Highlight how the product connects people, ideas, or facilitates communication and relationships.

Examples: Feel closer with your wife after giving gift // Hosting friends and family is at the center with the new dining room table

Resource

Meaning: Represents utility, value, or something that can be used to achieve an end.

Application: Focus on how the product is a valuable resource or tool that can help achieve certain goals or tasks.

Examples: This material keeps your roof from leaking // Finally able to organize your gym bag

Control

Meaning: Involves the ability to influence, manage, or direct. It’s about power, autonomy, or mastery. Before the product, a person can be out of control, lacks mastery, or autonomy.

Application: Emphasize how the product gives control back to the user in some aspect of their life or work.

Example: Confidence after being acne-free (in control) // Never have time to be creative or have hobbies (out of control)

To Review:

By doing this exercise, you start to see the building block of a great ad coming together.

Not all of these reference points will work for your brand or product, but you can see how visuals and lines pop up in your mind.

Beautiful.

Your ads and bank account will thank you later.

Visual References

Too many people look to take a full ad and copy it.

You want to find interesting ideas and visuals from ads and find ways to add that into your ad.

Maybe you liked a hook from one video you saw, but then you are using a framework from a different ad.

The goal is to be saving visuals every day so that you have a swipe file to use. I am using Atria to save ads from Facebook ads library. (not sponsored)

The more ads and ideas you have saved the easier the creation process gets.

To review:

Build a swipe file of ads, photos, and videos.

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The Perfect Brief

We did all the ground work to be ready to start writing out concepts and briefs for your team or creators.

We don’t work with creators, so I will give you what we do and then after, I will talk about things you need extra for a creator.

What’s in a brief?

At the core of a good brief you need a few things:

  • Angle / Goal of video

  • Script

  • Shot list

  • Visual References + Ad References

My team uses Milanote (not sponsored) but I have seen briefs in Airtable, GDocs, Excel, and more.

Start by making briefs in the software your team already uses.

You can build a format that works for you but every brief needs these four ingredients to find success.

Angle / Goal of Video

Before you even start writing out your script or ideas, you need to answer this one question.

If the viewer can only learn one thing, what is the one thing you want them to know by the end of this ad?

When talking to people making ads, I start with this question.

Usually their answer does not match what the ads are saying.

With one sentence, you will have better success of writing a great ad.

Everything after this should lead back to the answer to the above question.

Script

The highest impact of an ad is the copy / script.

You should not leave that to someone who has not done all of the above research before creating.

Too many people outsource their copy to creators who frankly shouldn’t be writing their copy.

I am not saying that is true for all creators but most of the time when brands are not getting the results they want or even the content they want because the brief was not owned by someone who does the research on the brand.

You need to start with your Hook.

I would spend 5x the time on writing your hook.

Write out multiple hooks… like 20 but pick two.

You shouldn’t rush this part since the hook is the most critical part of the script.

From there you can write the rest of the script. Do not worry about visuals yet.

Here are 12 frameworks you could use:

  • AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action)

  • PAS (Pain, Agitate, Solve)

  • FAB (Features, Advantages, Benefits)

  • USP (Unique Selling Proposition)

  • EMPATH (Engage, Motivate, Promote, Acknowledge, Tailor, Highlight)

  • SEP (Story, Emotion, Point)4Ps (Picture, Promise, Proof, Push)

  • BAB (Before-After-Bridge)

  • PAPA (Problem, Agitate, Persuade, Asks)

  • 4Us (Useful, Urgent, Unique, Ultra-specific)

  • EPIC (Educate, Promote, Inform, Convert)

  • PSB (Problem-Solution-Benefit)

As you write a script, make it clear that what is being said builds the case for the angle/goal of the video.

Once you write the script out, separate it into sections or line by line so you can prepare for the shot list.

Shot List

The visuals of an ad are just the visualization of the script.

What is being shown on screen should be cohesive with what is being said.

That is why I like to create b-roll instructions below each line of the script.

If you want talking to camera, say that for the visual.

If you have great scripts, visuals are a lot easier to think of and build.

Visual References + Ad References

Describing what you seeing in your mind for the ad is hard.

Communicating creative work is difficult.

Visual references allow us to show and talk about what we are looking for.

Give a reference to show the talent on the ad what emotion you want as they talk. The reference could be for the editor on a certain moment. The reference could be to make sure to get the right angle of shot that is requested.

References should clarify and make sure everyone on the team is on the same page.

Briefs for Editors

If you are taking content from a library and mashing it up with an editor, you need to still do the above brief.

Your editor will THANK YOU for having clarity.

They are spending the time wading through a content library, the least you can do is be specific of your vision.

Most of the people frustrated with the content being produced for them comes down to them not being clear on their needs.

The brief is just as much for you to find clarity as it is to give clarity to the people making the ad.

Creators

If you are working with creators here is what I think you need to add on your briefs.

Give them a deck on your brand and product (the research you did above is perfect). The deck should catch a creator up to speed on who you are and the customers they are trying to reach.

You need to give a list of do’s and don’t for their content. This minimizes reshoots or lots of edits. The more you clarify up front, the better results you get later.

Personally, I would give them a built out script to work off of, but also give them the flexibility to riff from the script to make it more natural to them.

But please - give them structure. You should own that part.

This is better for the creator because they should be spending more time on being creative with their shots and acting.

Lastly, give them timelines, specific ways to communicate, and links to upload content.

Bonus Tips on Briefing

Once you write out your briefs, spend some time away, come back, then edit.

Editing can help refine your ideas and make sure you are hitting the goal of the video or static ad.

———————————————————————————————————————————

You can see how much work needs to happen before you even write one ad concept.

I basically gave you everything I have on creative strategy in one spot.

I know so many people will find this impactful.

Forward this email to your Slack, Teams (please no), or wherever you are communicate and I want you to get your whole creative team on this email so you can talk about it internally.

PS. here the resources from the newsletter.

Creative Strategy Document Template