As the Brand Leader, you play the most crucial role in getting amazing Marketing Execution. Keep in mind that an OK agency can do great work on a great client. But a great Agency can fail with a bad client. In that regard, the client matters the most. If you knew that being a better client would make your execution better, could you actually show up better? The biggest challenge for most Brand Leaders is to stay focused on your vision at every stage, always inspire and yet challenge.
It can be a very complex process. Make sure you run the process before it runs you.
Here are the 10 steps in the creative Advertising process that you need to manage:
- Strategy Pre Work: This is the homework you do before you even write the brief. Go deep on finding the consumer insights and consumer enemy. Understand the brand positioning, the Big Idea and then lay out a Brand Concept. From your Brand Plan, and then know how the overall brand strategy plays out into the Brand Communications Plan. Only once you have all the homework done, should you take a pen to the creative brief.
- Focused Brief: Sitting with your Agency, map out a Creative Brief that will create the right box that the ad must play. From your homework you should have a tight objective, insights, strategic desired response, knowledge of what main benefit will resonate and what support points (RTB) should move forward into the advertising.
- Creative Expectations: It always surprises me that the first time Brand Leaders meet the creative team is at the first creative meeting. This seems like an old-school way for the Account team to control both the client and the creative team. However, I believe the best advertising is highly personal. You will need a personal relationship with the creative team. Just after signing off on the brief, you should request to meet the creative team to help convey your vision, passion, strategy and needs to the team. This is a great chance to inspire and push for great work.
- Tissue Session: When you have a completely new campaign or one that has a high risk to it, I would recommend having a tissue session before the creative meeting. This is where the creative team can present 10-20 ideas that are not really fully flushed out. It is a good chance to focus the team, either encouraging them to keep exploring further or talk about how it might not fit. Focus on big ideas, push for better.
- Creative Meeting: How you show up as the Brand Leader at the first creative meeting can make a huge difference. Think of it like a first date. You have to stay positive and only focus only on big picture. You will need to give direction and make decisions. However, do not use this time to add your own solutions. Don’t get too wrapped up in the details as there is plenty of time to keep working those. Stay inspiring as there is a long road ahead of you.
- Feedback Memo: We recommend that you work it out with the Agency ahead of time that you will give a feedback memo 48 hours after the creative meeting. This gives you the chance to gather your thoughts, balancing your instincts and your strategic thinking. In the memo, you can ask or clarify the details that you did not talk about in the creative meeting. However, even at this stage, you should avoid giving YOUR specific solutions. Use the feedback memo as a chance to create a new box, that continues to evolve from the creative brief.
- Ad Testing: The use of Ad Testing can depend on how timing, budget or degree of risk. Where you have a new major campaign, you should potentially test 3 ideas that you feel have the best chance to project your brand positioning, communicate the main benefit, break through with consumers and motivate them to purchase. You can use either qualitative focus group style feedback that will help your instincts, or quantitative testing that will replicate how it might do in the market. However, you should use testing to confirm your pick, not make your decision.
- Gain Approval: Even though we have this as the eighth step, you should keep your boss aware at each stage, especially the creative brief and first creative meeting stage. They should be aligned with the feedback you give. However, you will still need to sell in the Ad. Be ready to fight any resisters to make it happen. With every great ad I ever made had a share of resistors. However, with every bad ad, I seemed to be the only resistor trying not to make it.
- Production: The production process can be a very complex project. Remember that you have zero real expertise in this area. Don’t even pretend you do. Stay engaged, listen and make decisions. Your main role is to manage the tone to ensure that it fits with the brand. First, you always should deliver as close to the original spot that was approved. Think of this as the base version that you know your boss will approve. Once you get that, you can then explore how to make it even better. I always thought that we should get more than we need, just in case it looks different by the time we get to the final edits.
- Post Production: As you move to the post production stage, you become even less of an expert. Many clients stay close to their account person. I have always believed you should talk directly with and leverage every expert you come across. Stand with the editor and ask questions. The added personal approach will enable you to get the most out of each of the experts.
To read more on How to lead the Marketing Execution, here is our workshop that we lead on Analytical Thinking.
Beloved Brands: Who are we?
At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management. We use workshop sessions to help your team create a winning brand positioning that separates your brand in the market, write focused brand plans that everyone can follow and we help you find advertising that drives growth for your brand. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. Our Beloved Brands training center offers 10 training workshops to get your team of brand leaders ready for success in brand management–including strategic and analytical thinking, writing brand plans, positioning statements and creative brief, making decisions on creative advertising and media plans.
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