The Why Test is an exercise in being purposeful. It’s a gut-check way of asking yourself: What does it all mean, why does it matter, and who cares? I try to do the Why Test at each step of the creative process, and especially as a project nears completion.
It all starts with the brief, distilling the client need and understanding why the product or service will actually matter to the customer. This may seem obvious, but skip this step, and you compromise your ability to write a razor sharp brief. The brief, after all, has the final say on whether the creative is on-point. If the final creative output doesn’t stand up to the brief, and I can’t confidently answer the three-part question that opened this post, then I stop what I’m doing and rewind.
Why stop? Because all I would be doing is adding clutter to an over-cluttered, over-saturated advertising landscape. If the creative doesn’t resonate, it will end up in the landfill — both figuratively and in real life. And I don’t want to be in the business of wasting my client’s money on messages that don’t sell, and especially not in the business of sending direct mail straight to trashcans or brochures straight to landfills.
Hopefully, I’m not telling you something that you don’t already know to be true. It’s just something easy to forget — especially in the face of tight deadlines, agendas and internal/external pressures. That’s why it needs to be an ongoing practice, a daily thought-routine. Personally, this practice gives me satisfaction in my job, and it hopefully makes me a better partner to my clients.