It’s called a brief, so let’s keep it that way.

mens-underwearOkay people, let’s get down to business here. How many of you have written creative briefs for your agency that included page-upon-page of research, data, analysis and much more? I’m assuming most of you. Now, this is NOT a bad thing. In fact, it’s a GREAT thing to provide. So we applaud you for overdelivering on the background info we might need.

BUT… when it comes down to the heart of what you want the agency to deliver for you creatively, it’s best to keep it short and sweet. The immersion is the key area where we intend to learn anything and everything about your brand, business, category and consumer. This is where the data-dump should take place.

Whereas the actual initiative we are working on should be able to be interpreted in one-page or less. References to examples that you’d consider benchmarks are always a plus.

If you do this and hear crickets, then the agency just doesn’t get it and maybe the long-form is necessary. However, more times than not, the agency will appreciate the synthesis of your objectives, and be able to move ahead much more efficiently with the task at hand.

So the next time you’re getting ready to pull the trigger on that brief, try and remember this tip. It will save you time on both ends.

Thanks for reading, and let us know if this was helpful, or if you need help crafting that brief.

Branding is a Matter of Public Opinion

Remember this logo?

The colorful depiction of the 2012 Summer Olympics logo depicted above was infamously met with confusion and controversy and for most, will go down as a major branding mistake.

What was supposed to look like a stylized version of the numbers 2012 turned into a media circus from how people “didn’t get it” to flat out laughter and even a petition of over 48,000 citizens to get rid of the design.

What was the big deal?

Despite the internal support for the design, the masses agreed with Jonathan Glancey of the Guardian art blog, who wrote “The logo fails the Olympics spirit completely. Its component parts are broken apart, while the Olympics are all about athletes, spectators and nations joining together.”

Whether you are a fan of the logo or not, it’s not what we think of our brand that matters but what others believe our brand to be that matters.

Because of all the brand damage and bad press, the Olympic committee started to require Olympic logo designs to follow stricter brand guidelines.

The result has been a more cohesive visual language as illustrated by Rio2016, PyeongChang2018, and Tokyo 2020.

Design is a matter of taste but Branding is a matter of public opinion. What’s your take on this? Leave a comment below.

I think I trust you…

HTSAF_iThinkiA survey* was recently released with two startling statistics that revealed 42% of consumers found brands less trustworthy today, while 48% believed brands can have a positive impact on the world. Now those are two opposite sides of the spectrum if we ever saw one. But more importantly, how do we bridge this interesting divide?

After going through some thoughts about politics they touched on the most interesting path: Understanding the culture of your target consumer and effectively tapping into it remain key. So, building your brand and its identity around a cultural insight is paramount. Find it. Inspire and positively provoke your target with it. Then craft and design your creative campaign around it.

Lastly, be relentless in searching out these cultural insights. Remember, insights are not facts. They are something you discover about your brand or consumers that no one else can own. They belong to you. So say “NO” to the obvious. Reject the ordinary. And, initiate around the extraordinary. So who’s bridging this gap today, you ask? Here are a few off the top of our heads:

  • Subaru — Recognition for LGBT campaign
  • Tesla — Being forthright about their mistakes, and fixing them
  • Chick-fil-A — Authentic and plain spoken
  • Dove — Authenticity and respect through their  “Love the skin you’re in” campaign

What Sparks Our Fire? Waking up everyday searching for insights that emotionally connect brands with consumers.

*The ‘Truth About America’ report from McCann

 

Headline vs Body Copy

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When we see an article, advertisement or even a movie title, our interest is typically based on the headline or body copy. A catchy headline can draw you in to want to experience the body copy, which is the general idea of marketing. This same principle also applies to how we profile the people we work with. Are you a person that just wants the high level facts? Or, are you more analytical and someone who wants all the details? Also a great tool to use for prospecting, and getting to “know” your audience before you engage them. (Psst, agencies, do this when meeting new clients… it will help you determine who you can connect with when in a room.)

It also very much the practice of how we engage with brands that are marketed to us. And as marketers, this is something we must always consider when strategizing around how to connect with our customers. While imperative to a comms strategy, keep in mind that this approach does vary by placement. For instance, at the point-of-sale, it’s all about the headline, a.k.a. an eye-catching design that visually lures you in. But, while a catchy headline may do the trick at retail, most online shoppers want the specifics before they hit ‘buy’. Therefore, body copy can make a world of difference between conversion and abandonment when it comes to digital commerce.

Nevertheless, it’s important to find a balance between the two. To understand the appropriate place to lean at the appropriate time. So, when you’re implementing your marketing communications strategy, think of it as if you were a boxer — determine which blow will have a stronger impact, head or body. It’s all the difference in determining whether you win the bout against your competition, or have to head back to training camp.

P.S.
Me, personally, I’m a headline. I like to get to the point within five seconds or less. So if we ever email, you’ll likely feel that in our exchange. However, this post is more for the body copy lovers out there. Hope you found it insightful and applicable. 

To Serve, or to Sell, that is the question.

As marketers, we are mostly programmed to SELL, SELL, SELL! However, in this day and age, it seems it’s more effective to serve. Recent studies (according to us) show that consumers are more interested in receiving information that will educate and enrich their lives. They want a story. Content. An experience. Something usable beyond just a “buy this now!” call-to-action.

To do this, we must think about our engagement strategy, and look for ways to immerse our audience in the brand, rather than simply sell it. We must tap into the emotional sensibilities, and bring their normal, everyday experience to life in a way that serves a bigger purpose — to create an unbreakable bond, that ultimately results in sales.

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Here are some ways this is being done…

  • Virtual Reality: Create a new world to experience your brand (Check out what Tom’s did)
  • Augmented Reality: Bring the retail experience to life wherever you are (See how the IKEA Catalog enables you to place furniture in your space before you buy it)
  • Bots: Brands becoming personal assistants (Casper gives you someone to talk to on those sleepless nights)

There are many partners out there specializing in these methods (Blippar, LSTNR, Moth+Flame). And if you want to proactively bring new, impactful ideas to your clients and consumers, we suggest you tap into them.

So don’t get stuck in the world of selling. It’s a one-dimensional way to drive engagement and conversions. Change your approach. Be multidimensional, it will serve you well.

What Sparks Our Fire: Taking the initiative to find new ways to turn simple ideas into ones that serve a bigger purpose.