The best brand leader plays a most crucial role in the creative advertising process. While they are not designed to be experts, they need to know enough to make advertising decisions, but never enough to do the work.
When you are in your next creative advertising meeting, you should think fast with your instincts, while trying to represent your consumer. View the advertising through the eyes of your consumer. Try to see the work how they would see it. I would not even let my agency do a set-up to the ads. I said, “Just show me the work as though I see it on TV.” I felt any setup or explanation clouded my judgment and impacted my ability to use my instincts. As you are sitting in that decision-making hot seat at a creative meeting, here are some challenging questions to ask yourself:
1. What does your gut instinct say?
The reality of a marketing job is you might be coming into the creative meeting from a 3-hour forecasting meeting or deep-dive financial review, or you just got back from working in the lab with scientists on a new ingredient. It is not easy to change speeds as you head into a creative meeting.
Relax, find your creative energy, let it soak in and find those instincts. I created a “gut instincts checklist” to help prompt you for when you need your instincts.
2. Do you love it?
If you don’t love it, how do you expect your consumer to love it? If you “sorta like” it, then it will be “sorta okay” in the end. But if you love it, you’ll go the extra mile and make it amazing. Ask if you would you be proud of this as your legacy.
3. Is the advertising on strategy?
Slow down, and find some thinking time after the meeting. In a quiet place alone, make sure it delivers on what you wrote in your strategy documents. Go back through the brief to make sure the advertising will deliver the desired response, and the strategic objective statement you wrote in the brand communications plan. One caution is not to use the extra time to over-think the advertising and talk yourself out of a good ad that works.
4. How big is the creative idea?
Is the creative idea big enough to last 5-10 years? Will the idea work across various mediums (paid, earned, social) across all distribution and the entire product line? Think of being so proud of leaving a legacy for your successor to help think about the longer term.
Making advertising decisions
At the decision point, you have three choices:
From my experience, brand leaders rarely approve creative ideas outright. There also seems a reluctance or fear to reject outright. So marketers mistakenly assume their role is to change the ads. I see too many come to the creative meeting with a pen and paper and start to write feverishly all the recommended changes they have for each ad. The problem is if we marketers are not talented enough to come up with the ad in the first place, why do we think we are talented enough to change the ad? You are a generalist, surrounded by experts. Use your experts.
Next time you go into a creative meeting, stop giving the creative team your solutions, and give them a new problem you are seeing and then let the creative team figure out the solutions. If the creative brief is the original “box” for the creative team to figure out the ideal solution, then use your feedback at the creative meeting to create a “new box” for the creative team figure out a new solution.
Use your feedback to challenge and create a new problem for your agency to figure out the solution.
Challenge yourself to get better at advertising
- If you realized that how you show up as a client was the most significant factor in getting better advertising, do you think you would show up differently? If so, then show up right.
- Are you one of your agency’s favorite clients? Bring a positive spirit that inspires everyone to want to work on your brand and never treat them like they have to work on your business.
- Do you stay focused on one target, one strategy, one benefit behind one brand idea? Avoid the “just in case list” where you add “one more thing.” The best advertising is like a bullhorn in a crowd. The worst advertising is like a cluttered bulletin board where you can’t read anything.
- When building a creative brief or providing feedback, do you resist the temptation to provide your own creative ideas or recommend changes? When you are dealing with an expert, give them your problems, not your solutions.
- Are you the type of brand leader who is willing to fight anyone in the way of great work? Even your boss? When you do, you will start to see everyone on the team fight for you.
- Do you resist temptation in approving advertising that is “just OK” and “feels safe”? What signal do you think it sends everyone involved? You have to LOVE your advertising, and you should never settle for OK.
To learn more about this type of thinking, you should explore my new book, Beloved Brands.
With Beloved Brands, you will learn everything you need to know so you can build a brand that your consumers will love.
You will learn how to think strategically, define your brand with a positioning statement and a brand idea, write a brand plan everyone can follow, inspire smart and creative marketing execution and analyze the performance of your brand through a deep-dive business review.
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Beloved Brands: Who are we?
At Beloved Brands, our purpose is to help brands find a new pathway to growth. We believe that the more love your brand can generate with your most cherished consumers, the more power, growth, and profitability you will realize in the future.
We think the best solutions are likely inside you already, but struggle to come out. Our unique playbook tools are the backbone of our workshops. We bring our challenging voice to help you make decisions and refine every potential idea.
We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired target, consumer benefits and support points the brand will stand behind. And then, we build a brand idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy and build a loyal following with your brand.
We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources.
Our brand playbook methodology will challenge you to unlock future growth for your brand
- Our deep-dive assessment process will give you the knowledge of the issues facing your brand, so you can build a smart plan to unleash future growth.
- Find a winningbrand positioning statementthat motivates consumers to buy, and gives you a competitive advantage to drive future growth.
- Create a brand ideato capture the minds and hearts of consumers, while inspiring and focusing your team to deliver greatness on the brand’s behalf.
- Build a brand planto help you make smart focused decisions, so you can organize, steer, and inspire your team towards higher growth.
- Advise on advertising, to find creative that drives branded breakthrough and use a motivating messaging to set up long-term brand growth.
- Our brandtrainingprogram will make your brand leaders smarter, so you have added confidence in their performance to drive brand growth.
To learn more about our coaching, click on this link: Beloved Brands Strategic Coaching
To learn more about our training programs, click on this link: Beloved Brands Training
If you need our help, email me at email@example.com call me at 416 885 3911
You have my personal promise to help you solve your brand building challenges. I will give you new thinking, so you can unlock future growth for your brand.