Do then say
I was recently reviewing media budgets on one of our global Clients to find they were very low indeed, much lower than expected. This made me question the standard communications toolkit approach they had asked for (this normally means a range of ATL executions with some digital around the edges). With some markets having budgets that wouldn’t stretch past a few press insertions or maybe some digital work, I wondered whether we would ever be able to get our message (which I believe is actually motivating) out there. I got thinking that maybe we should just spend all our budget actually doing something for consumers and hope that they appreciate it so much that they tell their friends. I had a go at illustrating what this brand planning model might look like:
The idea is that you put consumer needs/desires at the centre, then work out what you’re going to actually do that helps meet these needs/desires, finally, if you’ve got budget left, you find a way of sharing what you’re doing with more people.
I know Clients often see their product as the thing they ‘do’ for consumers, and see communications as the thing that tells everyone how great the product is. This is a very brand/product centric view of the world, a brand’s product/service is the price of entry, it’s the minimum consumers expect. Products can only ever serve a limited number of needs, brands should do a lot more.
Seems simple enough but this way of planning does have some implications:
Your brand is what it does, not what it says
Your brand is not defined by a single essence, proposition or even thought, it’s defined by its actions, by the way it meets its consumers’ needs/desires. This is kind of helpful and removes all that painstaking wordsmithery that can go into defining a band with traditional Clients.
Creatives do what they do best
A planner’s role here would be to understand and articulate the consumer need/desire, but not to come up with the single thought/proposition. Creatives then get to do what they do best, finding creative things that brand can do to meet consumer need/desire. I’m using the term planner and creative in its loosest possible sense here, this approach would result in a breaking down of traditional agency barriers anyway.
More time/money spent on doing
The principle here would be that the more helpful/useful/entertaining our actions make us the less we will have to spend telling people how great we are. Actions speak louder than words, etc.
What about traditional advertising?
There is still a place for this, sometimes the most useful thing you can do might be to give consumers’ information or knowledge on a certain subject or topic. They key thing is that whatever you are motivated by actually doing something for your consumer, no by telling them something that serves your brand more than your consumer.
So what happened with the global toolkit problem?
In progress, will update as things start to happen.