The words ‘template’ and ‘creative’ might seem like natural enemies.
Many a marketer’s or designer’s instinctive reaction will be that any sort of template will stifle creativity. Surely the very idea of a template approach will constrict your imagination?
Where is the originality in something created from a mould?
But should we change our thinking? Do templates have their place in creating marketing materials?
Why is there a fear of conformity in marketing creative?
By its very nature, creative collateral – advertising, brochures, proposals, flyers, presentations – is just that: ‘creative’.
The idea of crafting something engaging is conflated in our mind with the concept of producing something novel.
But does brand new always mean best?
Are we in danger of wasting our time by re-inventing the wheel, when in a fact an approach based on existing principles might be just as good, if not better?
Marketing today is more data-driven than ever before. This means that we know what works – and can use the information at our fingertips to refine our approach. Social media data, for instance, enables you to identify at a glance the content that engages your audience.
Once you have this insight, why would you waste time starting afresh when you know the winning formula to replicate?
What you produce - managing a wide range of materials
Part of your challenge is the wide range and large volume of collateral you produce. Brochures, flyers, placemats, digital advertising like banners, online ads or emails, proposals and sales documents – there is no end to the materials Marketing teams get involved with.
Sometimes, new materials are produced as a response to people not being able to find an existing document. Best practice digital asset management can help you hugely here, saving time and money across the business.
But when there is a genuine need for new collateral, it invariably adds to the Marketing team workload. Publishing engaging content means writing the best copy, creating winning designs and of course, if you are governed by a regulator like the FCA or SCA, ensuring what you produce complies with regulatory standards.
So, anything that can help has to be a good thing, right?
Why templates aren't the enemy
Against this background, a template approach looks increasingly appealing. Why?
- Templates ensure brand consistency, and maximising the role of the brand was one of five differentiating factors identified in a review of 2018’s best global brands.
- You can create professional, accurate documents without needing a designer – a big plus in today’s time-pressed, resource-scarce world. Templates can include tools that manage fonts, layout and colour palettes, ensuring a professional, on-brand result.
- You can import data easily, making it quick and simple to build accurate documents, whether factsheets, sales proposals, Key Information Documents or other assets.
- They can enable you to create branded charts and tables with one click – saving you time and ensuring an engaging result.
- If the template tool you use includes a content library, you can insert pre-approved content straight into your documents. This reduces production time and minimises your risk of breaching regulatory requirements.
- Knowing that your design is taken care of means you can focus on your copy, writing engaging content that your Compliance team can approve first time.
- By producing compliant documents first time, you speed the approvals process by minimising rework and reviewing.
Creativity and templates - no longer mutually exclusive
It’s clear, then, that templates can support marketing creativity, rather than stifling it.
Enabling you to focus on content that will really capture the imagination of your audience, and speeding the production process while ensuring a professional output. And of course, building in regulatory compliance, reducing your risk of breaches with FCA or other rules.
If you would like to read more about how you can produce compliant presentations, in particular, you can download our tipsheet on creating compliant PowerPoint presentations. It’s free and you can download a copy here.
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