Creative Strategy Checklist Vol1: Creative & Audience

In the world of digital advertising, creating ads that truly resonate with audiences is a constant challenge. While many know the basics of creative strategy, there are lesser-known strategies that can significantly boost ad performance. In this blog post, we explore these nuanced strategies tailored for designers, creative directors, project managers, and copywriters.


This first version of our checklist focuses on strategies that revolve around crafting compelling ad concepts and fostering meaningful connections with consumers. Read on to discover more details about our favourite strategies for audience engagement and creative concept development, or directly download a printable version of the checklist to read at your own convenience.

👉 If you are rather interested in techniques for leveraging data insights to refine ad strategies, you should check the second version of our checklist Data-Driven Optimization and Ethical Advertising Practices.

Audience Understanding & Engagement


Deep Audience Psychographics

Emotional Triggers

Identify and leverage the specific emotions that drive your audience's behavior towards taking action.

Cultural Nuances

Tailor your messages to fit cultural references and norms of your target segments to increase relatability.

Emotional Connectivity

Evoke Emotion

Ads that connect on an emotional level can be more memorable and effective. Use storytelling, imagery, and music (for video and audio ads) that resonate emotionally with your target audience.

Align with Audience Values

Understand the core values and beliefs of your target audience and reflect these in your creative to deepen the emotional connection and relevance.

Leverage Psychological Principles

Utilize the Principle of Scarcity

Highlighting limited availability or a limited-time offer can create a sense of urgency and encourage quicker decision-making.

Apply the Rule of Reciprocity

Offer something of value for free (e.g., a sample, a piece of valuable information) to foster goodwill and increase the likelihood of a future transaction.

Incorporate Social Proof

Use testimonials, reviews, and influencer endorsements to build trust and credibility.

Sensory Engagement

Incorporate Multi-Sensory Elements

Beyond visual and auditory elements, think about how you can engage other senses in digital environments. For instance, describing a sensory experience in detail can evoke imagination in a viewer, creating a more memorable and engaging ad.

Utilize Haptic Feedback in Mobile Ads

For platforms that support it, incorporating haptic feedback (vibrations that accompany mobile ads) can create a more immersive experience and increase engagement.

Cultural Nuances and Localization

Consider Cultural Context

What works in one culture may not work in another. Tailoring your ad creative to reflect local customs, language nuances, and cultural contexts can significantly improve its effectiveness.

Localize for Language and Slang

Beyond translating text, adapt your message to local dialects, slang, and cultural references to increase relevance and resonance with the audience.



Advanced Creative Concepting

Utilize Psychological Principles

Apply principles like the scarcity effect, social proof, and the principle of liking to make ads more persuasive.

Narrative and Storytelling

Craft stories around your brand or product that resonate on a personal level with your audience, making use of storytelling arcs that evoke empathy or excitement.

Innovative Visual Strategies


Create visuals that capture attention in the first 2-3 seconds, focusing on dynamic, surprising elements that break the scroll.

Color Psychology

Apply color psychology to influence perception and behavior subtly, choosing colors that align with the emotional tone of your message.

Advanced Copywriting Techniques

Sensory Words

Incorporate words that evoke sensory experiences, making your ad copy more vivid and memorable.

Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO)

Use DCO to dynamically change ad content based on user behavior, location, or device, making each ad more personalized and relevant.

Strategic Use of Colors

Understand Color Psychology

Different colors evoke different emotions and reactions. Tailor your color choices to align with the message and action you want to provoke. For example, blue can evoke trust and security, while red can stimulate urgency and excitement.

Ensure Color Accessibility

Make sure your color choices are accessible to all users, including those with color vision deficiencies. Contrast ratios should be high enough to ensure readability and visual effectiveness.

The Power of Visual Hierarchy

Control Eye Movement

Use visual hierarchy techniques to guide the viewer’s eye towards key elements, such as the value proposition and CTA, in a deliberate order.

Employ Size and Contrast

Make important elements stand out by varying their size and contrast relative to other elements in the ad.

Get the checklist printable format!

Vol. 1

Creative & Audience

Creative Strategy Checklist
Author avatar
Thomas Charisis
Thomas has worked in digital marketing for 11 years in client, agency and client-side roles. Former Senior Growth Marketing Strategist at Ladder (Publicis, UK), Thomas now spearheads Digital Strategy at Massion. Technology & data science enthusiast, Thomas has recently acquired an MSc in Data Analysis & Decision Making.