Filed under: advertising | Tags: ad, advertising, Big Pharma, brand manager, brands, business week, client, creative, marketing
Every brand manager, marketing director, CMO, account person and creative wants to know - what makes the perfect ad? Is it the headline or the visual? What about that brilliant logo? Maybe it’s the call-to-action or the tagline that keeps them coming back for more? Or that one design element that caused you to stop in your tracks and stand at attention?
Whatever it may be, the folks at Business Week (Steve McKee) have created a simple list to tell you what it shouldn’t be:
1. Boring. Yep, boring. Why do we watch TV, listen to the radio, read the newspaper, or go online? Three reasons: information, entertainment, and engagement. Ads that fail to offer at least two of these three benefits flop.
2. Boorish. You shouldn’t think of your advertising as being about your brand, you should think of it as an extension of your brand (see “A Practical Guide to Branding”). If it’s loud, annoying, insulting, offensive, or self-centered, people will think the same of your products or services (see “The Cocktail Party Test for Advertising”).
3. Safe. If you worry too much about offending someone, you’re likely to not attract anyone.
4. Trying to do too much. The best an ad can do is communicate one single, compelling idea, and in the age of the Internet—when people know they can go online to get all the additional information they need—it’s crazy to ask an ad to do more than that.
5. Fixing a non-advertising problem. A common mistake many companies make is trying to use advertising to fix another problem. It may be faulty or outdated product design, an uncompetitive cost structure, customer service letdowns, or any number of other things. It’s not as if they do so intentionally; it’s just that it’s a whole lot easier to put on a new coat of paint than it is to fix the foundation that’s causing the drywall to crack.
Read Steve’s full list here.
Filed under: advertising | Tags: advertising, agency, big ideas, brand manager, business solutions, client, marketing, relationship, s&r communications group
Something has gone terribly wrong in the agency business. Somewhere and at sometime, some bright account executive from an agency sits across from a client and the client says, “Why don’t you get back to me with some ideas and solutions.” To which the account executive replies, “Sure, we would love to help you out.” Nothing wrong with that, right?
After all, we in the agency business are supposed to be creative and provide strategic and creative solutions for our clients to help them drive their business to ever higher market shares and profits. That is what we do in our business.
Soon after the meeting with the client, the account executive goes back to the agency, gathers the team, and briefs them on the client’s needs. For the next few days, there are agency people gathering research and information; there are other people using that information and insight to determine the right strategy and right message; and there are still other people crafting the information, strategy, and messaging into creative concepts and innovative tactics. Still no problem, right?
Two weeks later, the account executive is back with the client to present the powerful creative concepts, innovative tactics, and magnificent information, rationale, and messaging. At the end of the presentation, the client looks at all of this and says, “Wow! This is really great work. I think you have nailed it!” The excited, wild-eyed account executive puts an estimate for the ideas, strategies, and creative recommendations in front of client. (Mind you, this estimate does not include the full execution of the ideas but just the work that went into coming to this point.) The client, puzzled and confused, looks at the account executive and says, “Why should I have to pay for your ideas? Besides, we are only working on a project basis, and it’s your job to bring these to me.”
Sound impossible or unrealistic? Think again—it happens all the time. So what is the correct approach to this issue?
First, clients should not expect or demand that an agency provide research, thinking, strategy, or anything else without the expectation that they will pay for such effort. An agency has no other product to sell other than their time and thinking. Pharma companies likely look at such a situation in the same way that they look at product sampling. Believe me, those are totally different concepts.
Second, agencies are just as much to blame. For years, agencies have put vast amounts of money into “pitches” and sound ideas—only to give them away to the client. This is both wrong-minded from the pure business perspective, and it is also wrong from the value-proposition side. If you give your hard work away, what does that say about the way you value what you do and what you produce? If it is free, it can’t be worth much.
My conclusion is that clients and potential new clients have a right and a responsibility to know about their agencies, their experience, their creative work, and their strategic ability. That can easily be demonstrated by a good agency. However, when the client asks for business-specific ideas and thinking, they should be willing to pay for that service, and the agency should be willing to charge for the same.
- Dave Recht
Filed under: advertising | Tags: budgets, client, economist, economy, marketing, recession
The economic crisis that has engulfed the headlines and reports of shrinking profit margins have had an immediate impact on the state of the advertising industry. Unfortunately, the automatic response to a recession for many clients is cut, cut, cut. And marketing budgets are the first to meet the chopping block.
So why are marketing budgets the first to suffer when a recession is on the horizon? Because it’s the easy, short-term fix. But do clients realize the long-term ramifications on their brand if the marketing budget takes a drastic hit in hard times? The Economist proposed this question in a recent presentation about managing client expectations during an economic downturn and provides an interesting solution for both agencies and clients.
What do you think? View the presentation here.