There is too much of everything in advertising and yet it’s not enough to drive a movement, change a mindset or create loyalty. So many methods from advertising in 1960s have been reinvented & we have lost golden nuggets in the process.
In the last two decades the Ogilvys & Leo Burnetts of the world have often fallen short to small-scale agencies that released ground breaking creative ideas. Today, mediocrity has taken the first seat in advertising. We have lost the passion to create and run great ideas & that’s why great ideas and great creative minds are rarely seen.
Most advertising agencies are running to fight for & win one account after the other. But, they don’t put as much effort in keeping the accounts.
Can we flip this around & build great Brands and not run after creating forgetful campaigns?
Thorough Knowledge of the Audience
If you were to ask your clients to define their target audience you’ll get information that somewhat looks like this;
Men, 30+, Region West, Salaried, Single.
Basis these stats you’ll be asked to build a strategy that will sell your clients product. You’d think this is all you need to know and you’ll get back to your think tanks.
The more time you spend understanding your audience in detail, the less time you’ll spend in building a good idea.
You will avoid any unnecessary iterations and the outcome will work for the business. During the 1960s, agencies spent great time understanding their client’s business by talking to the customers, through focus groups & surveys. They spent a great deal on research.
Most of us don’t do this anymore because everything is available at a click of a button. There is no double check, there is no authorization. Most of the ideas are built on assumptions.
It really just takes one campaign to build a brand that sells, and you will achieve it if you know the end consumer very well.
Lack of central objective for the Business
There’s a lot of competition out there and as a big business you have the pressure of being omnipresent & so you think of multiple ways to reach out and engage.
This usually dilutes the central idea of communicating with customers.
No matter how great numbers you achieve from this, you will still not be on top of your customer’s mind. Just like Starbucks. There are many coffee shops but there is only one Starbucks.
If you don’t make your clients realize and identify one objective that defines them, then you will not help them reach any goal.
To be honest, I’ve seen clients giving bizarre objectives and you’ll agree to disagree with those;
Objective 1 – Increase impressions
Objective 2 – Increase Facebook share
Objective 3 – Trend on Twitter
These are all small time whiffs. Encourage your clients to define one objective which focusses on business or brand image:
Objective – Increase traffic from West Region
Objective – Increase sale from Women audience
Objective – Increase registration for Webinar
There used to be cut throat competition amongst brands in the 1960s and the advertising outputs were bold & direct. This helped the brands stand out and we still talk about them.
Zero quality time given to creative
In the last decade, the advertising agencies have grown manifold but the work culture has deteriorated. Turning around artworks and copies overnight has become a daily activity. There is often zero work life balance and junior or mid-level executives face a tough time.
We all know that working on multiple projects at the same time leads to confusion & duplication of thoughts. There will obviously be duplication of ideas because there’s fear of idea getting rejected with one client, but major part is mostly not having enough time.
Creatives must be allotted an undivided time to work on one project at one time. The creative teams should be given reasonable time to do research, think, put ideas together & present. Over loading your creative department will not give you the best outputs.
No recognition or value of talent
This point is a continuation of the last one, but I had to put it separately. Just like enough time is not allotted for creating ideas, talent is not recognized in advertising agencies and growth opportunities have reduced.
Most junior copywriters or designers are not valued for their contribution the way they were in the 1960s. The most talented copywriters eventually move to brand side of the business for more money and recognition. And copywriters in agencies have become replaceable.
Creative people now prefer working freelance rather than agencies. They know they’ll get due credit from their clients and can build themselves a fortune.
Over dependency on technology
This is my favourite subject.
Technology makes every task so easy. Copies can be written and re-written, and artworks can be revised and re-revised number of times. We know at the back of our minds that content can easily be mended. This is one of the factors that we don’t tend to give our 100% the first time.
We get automated listening reports for our brands, we don’t take action unless something is flagged off as negative, and most of us don’t create opportunities because we wait for new developments in technology.
This waiting around demotivates and makes one keep looking for more. We use existing reports, refer existing market studies & keep re-using the same ideas over and over again.
We are not building brands anymore, time to change perhaps?