In actual fact, they start out as two totally different beasts. Thinking creatively should be the first step in reaching your target audience and is only effectively done by creating a strategy and concept together.
Is it easy to create a concept? Not really. Creation of a concept requires experienced strategic and creative talents, and, contrary to the beliefs of many small businesses, its value is not measured by the time taken to develop it because it’s actually a form of intellectual property. Therefore the cost would vary from agency to agency and market to market (similar to creating a logo and a brand). Obviously, it’s important that it’s done by the right people, so that the investment enhances the brand equity. Essentially the business needs a clear and sharp message before it will work for it across all media. Having a 30-second TVC and/or radio commercial can make great sense but it needs to be part of an entire concept.
As an example, the most recent Coles concept with the slogan “Down, down...” has helped it to beat its rivals. Coles deserves a big ‘tick’ for a good concept and another tick for synergising all its outputs to that simple concept – and, of course, a final tick because it worked! You can be certain those ideas weren’t charged by the hour. Finally, design. This is the creation of each of the marketing deliverables, and is charged on hourly rates. Great design backs up the creative with clever and memorable imagery that forms an iconic link to the core idea. Unfortunately, a lot of advertisers believe the graphic design process is where the advertising process starts. In actual fact this is the exciting bit at the end where a good graphic designer really brings it all together.
In summary, don’t be scared to tackle the creative beast. Give your approach good thought with the right people, and then deliver it with a lashing of clever design. Above all, enjoy the process.