September 15, 2014
If you are a Brand Leader who struggles with advertising, you know how hard it is. I’m asked all the time, what is it that makes one Brand Leader good at advertising and another not so good?
Simply put, great Brand Leaders are able to consistently get great advertising that drives towards their objective into the market, and equally able to keep bad advertising that does nothing for them off the air.
Some Brand Leaders blame themselves, almost surrendering to the idea of: “I’m more strategic type of marketer, and not that good at advertising”. But I hope you don’t quit on yourself, because being good at Advertising takes experience, practice, leadership, feedback and a willingness to adjust. You can get better, if you really want to. Some Brand Leaders blame their agency, and even fire their agency. But from my view, an OK agency can do great work on a great client. But a great agency can fail miserably with a bad client. Most clients fail to realize that the role of the Brand Leader is the most important factor in getting great ads.
If you knew that how you showed up as a Client would get you better advertising, do you think you would actually show up differently?
At creative meetings, do you stay big picture, avoid getting into details? When giving direction, do you avoid giving your own solutions? When you gave your agency a brief, you put them in a box. Now you should use your feedback as a way to put them in a new box ,a modified version of the box you created with the brief you gave them. Agencies don’t want your solutions, they just want your problems. The best agencies are problem solvers who are in the box thinkers. As a great Brand Leader, your role is always to give them a box they can solve.
The best advertising comes from a very tight Brand strategy. How tight is your brief?
Do you stay focused on ONE target, ONE strategy, ONE benefit behind ONE big idea? Avoid the “just in case list” where you sneak “one more thing” onto the brief. Narrow the Target market and tell their story with engaging insights. Start with the desired consumer response before deciding what your brand should say. Develop a testable Brand Concept before the brief so you know the strategy works with consumers, isolating the creative as the only thing you need to figure out.
Are you one of the FAVORITE clients of your agency?
As a Brand Leader, your role is inspire everyone to WANT to work on your brand, never treat them like they HAVE to work on your business. I know you pay the agency, so you might think that motivates them right away. Not quite. Do you meet the creative team before the first creative meeting to connect, align them with your vision and inspire them to push for great work? My guess is you don’t. You wait till that first creative meeting, and get introduced to the people who have been secretly working on your brand for the past few weeks. Are you the type of client to take creative risks, and be willing to be different to stand out? Great advertising is a balance of control and freedom. You should control the strategy and give freedom on the creative, but somehow the reverse happens. Uncertain Brand Leaders give freedom on the strategy, yet they come into the advertising process with a pre-determined look and feel.
If you meet resistance to GREAT advertising, even from your boss, are you the Brand Leader that is willing to fight anyone in the way?
Every great ad I’ve worked on, there was almost a breaking point. Whenever I fondly think of my old ads, I always smile when I think of that “near breaking point” that we got past. As the Brand Leader you have to be the one to fight for great work and maneuver through that near breaking point. Your agency will take notice that you are that type of leader and they’ll want to work on your brand, willing to give you their best work. Do you resist approving Advertising that is “just OK” and “safe”? What signal do you think it sends everyone involved? I believe that you have to LOVE your advertising, and never settle for OK. Somewhere along the line, if you don’t love it, you’ll likely just give in. And then everything fails. And you start again.
If you knew that how you showed up as a Client was the biggest factor in getting better advertising, do you think you would actually show up differently?
At Beloved Brands, we run a Brand Leadership Center to train marketers in all aspects of marketing from strategic thinking, analysis, writing brand plans, creative briefs and reports, judging advertising and media. To read more on strategy, here is a workshop on HOW TO GET BETTER ADVERTISING, click on the Powerpoint presentation below:
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