July 23, 2013

4 Ways to Support Creative People Creative people are the heart and soul of every good agency. They create the art in service to commerce that the rest of us sell. But getting smart and savvy account and strategy people to contribute significantly and collaboratively to the creative process is not a slam-dunk. Account and planning types support the creative team by finding relevant insights, mining customer data, understanding the customer’s journey from awareness to purchase and by projecting client business goals and communications sensibilities. Ideally the support team packages all this up as a springboard for the creative, who then internalize the brief and make the magic. But real life is much messier. Here are 4 proven ways to support creatives. Differentiate. There are very few unique things on this planet. Every product or service has a competitor or two. Finding the real point of difference, that actually matters to prospective buyers, and communicating it to the copy and art guys is critical. Do whatever you can to explain, illustrate and articulate the practical, physical, mechanical and emotional differences between your brand and its competitors. Use analogies, schematics, examples, stories or sock puppets to get this across. Don’t stop till your teams can credibly playback the point of difference. Provide Context. Nothing happens in a vacuum. Your creative team needs to understand the full product cycle, the competitive environment, the brand history, voice, tone and manner plus whatever else is going on at retail, in social or broadcast media or on mobile devices. You are asking them to board and re-route a moving train. They need to know what they are getting into and the forces that their ideas will have to contend with. Think Experience. An ad prompts seeing, thinking, feeling and action. Define what these are and what you need the creative execution to accomplish. Think through and detail where prospects are (physically and emotionally), what they already think about the brand or the category, what kind of offers and ideas they respond to and what you want them to do in response to your message. Walk thru how a person goes from total ignorance of a brand to fervent advocacy. Then map out the inflection points and the media touches over time along the way. Factor in reach across channels and frequency; the number of times or ways your target population is likely to hear or see your ads. Creatives need to empathetically see the world from a prospect’s perspective in order to get inside their heads and intercept them in the course of their routine online and offline behavior. Sharing the experience expedites the process. Set Limits. Most people need deadlines. Some geniuses don’t. They are rare exceptions. Clearly and carefully cue creatives about what is needed when. Also be very clear about client mandates, legal requirements and client sensibilities. These are necessary evils that can annoy or limit creative people. But make sure they are properly accounted for. Working with great creative people is one of the joys of being in advertising. There’s no better feeling than knowing that you’ve set them up for success.
A Snapshot of Social Media Metrics Eight out of ten agencies are monitoring social media for clients. Though there are too many tools, too few benchmarks and too few ways to integrate data from multiple sources according to the 4A’s inaugural “Agency Social Media Monitoring and Reporting Survey.” With “significant variation in social media monitoring, reporting and associated business practices from one agency to another” … more than half of respondents felt they were doing a good job for clients, even though many clients are still not convinced of the value of social media. Agencies, of all shapes and sizes, are looking for better ways to understand what’s being said about brands across a growing array of social media platforms. Google Analytics, used by 70 percent of responding agencies, leads the pack in terms of monitoring and reporting tools. Hootsuite and Radian6 with a 59 share and a 36 share, respectively, are the next most used tools. One third of responding agencies spend between $1000 and $4999 per month licensing tool sets. No other tool got more than 20% of responses in an arena where 52% of agencies believe the current tools available are insufficient and seven in ten have trouble evaluating and differentiating between tools. The outputs, most often measured by these tools, and presented using PowerPoint or Keynote, are engagement, connections/fans/followers and brand mentions. Agencies are clearly grappling with defining social media success. Just 18 months ago brands and their agencies were racing to accumulate fans and followers. Today we’re touting ill-defined engagement scores and counting posts, shares and comments as we attempt to explain to clients how these social activities impact brand awareness, preference and purchase or deliver incremental media value. Bottom line: Social media monitoring and reporting is still in it’s infancy. We’re not sure what to measure or how in order to quantify the value of social media to clients looking for marked increases in branding, sales metrics or ROI.

Danny Flamberg

I am a veteran marketing consultant working with leading and emerging brands

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