Perhaps you’ve heard the apocrypha attributed to Michelangelo regarding his sculpture, “David.” Supposedly, he stated that the statue was already there, perfect, inside the marble, and that all he had to do was chip away the parts that didn’t belong.

Metaphorically speaking, that’s also necessary to create a great  positioning and/or strategy–to strip away the parts that don’t belong and to uncover the perfect form with which your product or service can be displayed.

While I’ve always put a premium on good clean design, breakthrough copy, and fresh, memorable ideas, I consider a brilliant strategy to be the single most critical component of the creative process.

Great strategies come from uncovering amazing insights and hidden truths. For example, the insight that the processor inside the computer is the important part, not the name on the box. Result: Intel inside.

Hidden truths abound. It’s simply a matter of chipping away falsehoods and assumptions to reveal them. For Wesson Chicken Baking Sauce, for instance, we discovered–and then cheerfully admitted–that without some help, chicken was boring. This led to a hugely successful and award-winning creative campaign.

I utilize a unique six step process of ideation I called the i-Steps:

  • Immersion: Learning everything we can about you and your competition
  • Insight: What is the need-state of the target? What single thing do they care about? What hidden truth can we reveal?
  • Inspiration: Develop and perfect ideas that are disruptive, relevant, fresh and memorable. Lots of ideas. Because design without ideas is merely decoration.
  • Input: Since communication today is a dialog, it’s important  to build feedback into the creative process.
  • Integration: Ideas work harder and cost less when they have a unified look and feel, regardless of the media.
  • Implementation: Although “God is in the details,” I like to employ a redundant system of quality checks, just in case the Supreme Creative is busy.

At the end of the day, I love the business I’m in–imparting vital information in innovative ways, stimulating imaginations as well as sales, increasing a brand’s like-ability, and influencing social behavior to improve the quality of life.

Stripping away everything else, that’s essentially what Freyer and Friends does .