There is a simple and effective criterion that should guide the development of any creative concept for a brand.

That simple criterion is this: a creative concept must do useful work.

That is, it must help the brand achieve its marketing goals.

If the concept doesn’t help the brand achieve its goals, then the concept is nothing more than a vanity project that wastes money and doesn’t get anything done—kinda like Jeremy Renner launching an app (a real thing that happened!)

But how do you know whether a concept will do useful work for your brand? 

To answer that question we use a scorecard called The Marketer’s Guide to Judging Creative Work:

This scorecard is an interactive slide.

It’s designed to help you ask the right questions of about any concept that lands on your desk—ad campaign, content, event series, whatever.

By asking those questions, you can shepherd the concept from off-base to home run.

If you’re working directly with creatives, use the scorecard to help set the brief. These criteria are what we use internally when we develop our work.

If you’re comparing concepts from multiple agencies, use the scorecard to present a common language for comparison, and to sell your preferred concepts within your org.

Give it a shot! I hope this is a useful tool for you and everyone you work with throughout this new year.