November 29, 2012
The Top 10 worst types of Advertising clients. Don’t be one of these?
The best clients respect the process, the agency and their own judgment. And yet, most Brand Leaders under-estimate the role the client plays in getting to great creative. As a Brand Leader, if you knew that showing up better would get you better advertising, do you think you could? Or are you stuck being one of these types of Clients?
I come at this from the vantage of a fellow client. I’m not an Ad Agency guy, never having worked a day at an agency in my life. But I’ve seen all these types of clients. I’d like you to laugh a little and think “hey I know that guy”. But I’d also like if you see a little of yourself in a few of these and if you’re into personal growth and improvement, challenge yourself to get better and stop being that guy.
I get asked a lot: “So what is it that makes someone good at advertising?”. I always think people are looking for some type of magical answer, but the answer I give is always very simple yet if you think about it very complex: “They can consistently get good advertising on the air and keep bad advertising off the air”.
Most Brand Leaders under-estimate the role the client plays in getting great creative. If there are 100 steps in every advertising development stage and you show up OK at each step, how are you possibly thinking you’ll end up with a GREAT ad at the end? Did you ensure that your team has a very tight creative brief that’s based on insights and instincts? Were you fully engaged and motivating to everyone that touches the brand? Were you a proactive decision maker who provided necessary challenge and direction in the spirit of making the work better? Did you push it up and through the system and gain approval from management?
Here are the 10 Worst Types of Clients
#1: “You’re The Expert”:
While intended to be a compliment to the Agency, it’s a total cop-out! You really just give the agency enough rope to hang themselves. As a Brand Leader, you play a major role in the process. You have to be engaged in every stage of the process and in the work. Bring your knowledge of the brand, make clear decisions and steer the work towards greatness.
#2: “I never Liked the Brief”:
These passive-aggressive clients are usually insecure about their own abilities in the advertising space. They keep firing their agency instead of taking ownership, because it’s easier to fire the agency than fire yourself. A great Brand Leader never approves work they don’t love. If you don’t love the work, then how do you expect the consumer to love your brand?
#3: Jekyll & Hyde:
When Brand Leaders bring major mood swings to the Ad process, it’s very hard for the agency. The worst thing that could happen is when your mood swing alters the work and you end up going into a direction you never intended to go. Brand Leaders have to stay consistent so that everyone knows exactly who they are dealing with.
#4: The Constant “Bad Mood”:
I’ve seen clients bring the death stare to creative meetings where hilarious scripts are presented to a room of fear and utter silence. Brand Leader must motivate all those who touch their brand. Be the favorite client that people want to work for. Advertising should be fun. If you are having fun, then so will your consumer.
#5: The Mystery Man that’s Not in the Room:
When the real decision maker is not in the room, everyone guesses what might please that decision maker. As a Brand Leader, you have to make decisions that you think are the right thing, not what your boss might say. Make the ad you want and then find a way to gain alignment and approval from your boss.
#6: The dictator:
Revel in ambiguity and enjoy the Unknown. Great ads ‘make the brand feel different’. If we knew the answer, it wouldn’t be different, would it? If a Brand Leader comes in with the exact ad, then it’s not really a creative process, it just becomes an order taking process. When you TELL the agency what to do, there is only one answer: YES. But when you ASK they agency, then there two answers: YES and NO.
#7: The Mandatories:
Clients who put 5-10 Mandatories on the brief forces the agency to figure out your needs instead of the advertising problem. You end up with a Frankenstein. My challenge to Brand Leaders is if you write a very good brief, you don’t need a list of Mandatories.
#8: The Kitchen Sink.
The “just in case” clients who want to speak to everyone with everything they can possibly say. If you put everything in your ad, you just force the consumer to make the decision on what’s most important. When you try to speak to everyone, you end up speaking to no one.
#9: Keeps Changing Their Mind:
Advertising is best when driven by a sound process. It’s creativity within a box. And if the box keeps changing, you’ll never see the best creative work.
#10: The Scientist:
Some clients think THERE IS AN ANSWER. And the world of SEO and Digital seems to be encouraging this mindset more than ever. Where you might see precision, I see navel gazing. Be careful of navel gazing analytics. You might miss blue-sky big picture or the freight train about to run you over. As a Brand Leader, you can’t always get THE answer. Too much in marketing eliminates risk, rather than encourages risk taking. That only helps you sleep better, but you’ll dream less.
You likely have the best intentions for your business. And you likely believe that having a good relationship with the agency is crucial and you work at it. But if you suffer from any of these, you might be holding back your contributions into the process.
Here’s a presentation on How to Be a Better Client
Other Stories You Might Like
- How to Write a Creative Brief. The creative brief really comes out of two sources, the brand positioning statement and the advertising strategy that should come from the brand plan. To read how to write a Creative Brief, click on this hyperlink: How to Write a Creative Brief
- How to Write a Brand Positioning Statement. Before you even get into the creative brief, you should be looking at target, benefits and reason to believe. To read how to write a Brand Positioning Statement, click on this hyperlink: How to Write an Effective Brand Positioning Statement
- How to Write a Brand Plan: The positioning statement helps frame what the brand is all about. However, the brand plan starts to make choices on how you’re going to make the most of that promise. Follow this hyperlink to read more on writing a Brand Plan: How to Write a Brand Plan
- Turning Brand Love into Power and Profits: The positioning statement sets up the promise that kick starts the connection between the brand and consumer. There are four other factors that connect: brand strategy, communication, innovation and experience. The connectivity is a source of power that can be leveraged into deeper profitability. To read more click on the hyper link: Love = Power = Profits
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ABOUT BELOVED BRANDS INC.: At Beloved Brands, we are only focused on making brands better and making brand leaders better.Our motivation is that we love knowing we were part of helping someone to unleash their full potential. We promise to challenge you to Think Different. We believe the thinking that got you here, will not get you where you want to go. Our President and Chief Marketing Officer, Graham Robertson is a brand leader at heart, who loves everything about brands. He comes with 20 years of experience at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke, where he was always able to find and drive growth. Graham has won numerous new product and advertising awards. Graham brings his experience to your table, strong on leadership and facilitation at very high levels and training of Brand Leaders around the world. To reach out directly, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @grayrobertson1
At Beloved Brands, we love to see Brand Leaders reach their full potential. Here are the most popular article “How to” articles. We can offer specific training programs dedicated to each topic. Click on any of these most read articles:
- How to Write a Brand Positioning Statement
- How to Write a Brand Plan
- How to Write a Creative Brief
- How to create a Brand Strategy Road Map
- How to Judge Advertising
- How to write a Mini Creative Brief
- How to Think Strategically
- How to Build a Media Strategy
- Brand Love = Power = Profit
- How to Have a Successful Marketing Career
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This entry was posted in How to Guide for Marketers and tagged in ABM, ad age, Advertising, agency, be a better client, brand leader, brand manager, brand positioning statement, briefs, client, cmo, consumer marketing, CPG, creative teams, digital, Social, vp marketing.
Graham Robertson is one of the voices of the modern brand leader. He started Beloved Brands, knowing he could make brands better and brand leaders better. Graham believes passion matters in marketing, because the more loved a brand is by consumers, the more powerful and profitable that brand will be. Graham spent 20 years in brand management leading some of the world’s most beloved brands at Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, General Mills and Coke, rising through the ranks up to VP Marketing. Graham played a major role in helping Pfizer win Marketing Magazine’s Marketer of the Year award. He has an MBA from the Ivey Business School, ranked the #1 International business school by Business Week. As a Brand Coach, he can help you create a winning positioning statement for your brand, write a brand plan everyone can follow, find advertising that drives growth and train your team of Brand Leaders on everything marketing. The client roster for Beloved Brands includes the NFL Players Association, Reebok, Pfizer Capital One, 3M, Sun Products and Earls. Graham’s weekly blog (beloved-brands.com) has a vast following with over 3 million views, and his public speaking appearances inspire brand leaders to love what they do.View more posts from this author