Advertising agencies often treat clients like they’re customers at a fast food restaurant, waiting to place an order at the drive-thru. But waiting for a client to tell us what they want is a missed opportunity for growth and innovation. We need to know our client’s business as well as they do: their products, way of doing business, customers, competition, everything down to the type of paper towel they have in the breakroom. Only then will we be able to plan a strategy based on what they need and not what they think they want.
Planning a campaign strategy starts with comprehensive research to develop a measurable goal. While it’s often easy to set a goal, if there isn’t a strategic plan, then the goal is nothing more than a wish. Every client wishes they could increase the ringing at the register, but without strategic insights, they’ll have just as much luck guessing their Happy Meal prize.
Finding the unique truth about a company is a tricky business as many companies seemingly offer the same thing. The auto insurance industry is a perfect example. Most look the same on paper, but by highlighting one key aspect of what they do, that company appears different and
memorable. So how can insurance companies profit while also carving out a brand image for themselves? By putting a stake in the ground of their offering through thoughtful messaging and campaigns. They all may twist the facts on how they can save you money, but they captivate their audience by demonstrating a unique proposition of service, ease, convenience, local versus national, or an area of specialty. Being “on message” in a fresh way is what makes a campaign stand out in any industry vertical and be successful.
Our job is to get to the root of why people care enough about a product to pay attention to and investigate it. Starting with an authentic truth about a brand is always a good place to begin. If there is something honest, true, and unique about the offering, you won’t need to hire a celebrity or license a tired old 80s tune to deliver the message. Because as much as I like Ozzy’s “Crazy Train” it still never made me want to check out the Mitsubishi Montero.
To test a campaign strategy, it’s often helpful to analyze the end result of an ad that was produced, distributed, and tested. The better and more effective the ad, the easier it can be to reverse-engineer the strategy. As crazy as GEICO gets with cavemen and camels, it all boils down to “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance” and that it’s so easy that even a caveman could do it.
Too often ads fail to get recognized because they try to say too much. Marketing experts estimate that Americans are exposed to over 4000 messages a day, which means you have to work really hard to capture anyone’s attention. Start with a well thought out strategy, determine your stake in the ground, keep the ideas short and sweet, and keep those old songs on Dad’s playlist.
Jac Mansour | Chief Creative Officer
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