So let’s move on to the essentials of success in leading an account, now that you have the detail under control.
To grow in the job and succeed requires three simple accomplishments: to know your client, to know your business and to know your job – that way you can grow each of these. And growing your business and career must be your goal: account people are hunters as well as farmers. Be a hunter who never misses an opportunity and a farmer who cultivates them
This is a massive area. There are lots of books on business, marketing and specific categories and companies. There are myriad other public sources like company reports, trade magazines and the infinite world of Google. But here are some tips Get to grips with your client’s market – its size and value; its trends of growth, decline, segmentation or development; most importantly, perhaps, its consumers and their behaviour, needs and profiles. Suggestion: (to use in the office). Gather material on your client’s market and do a ‘Porter’s 5 Forces’ analysis. You can find guidance on this on Google and it is a great analytical tool which your client should value. Learn about your client’s competition. Their activities and approaches are of immediate relevance to his brands.
About the first lesson on your MBA and a must for all of those senior managers who get sent to Harvard for a fortnight to be given a residential crash course in business. Can be criticised for being static – i.e. it requires you to look at the current trading context. However, for all that – it’s still rather useful.
Talk through 5 forces. Very different types of business environments. Advertising – low concentration ratio, intense intra-firm competition. De Beers – there simply aren’t that many places you can find diamonds OPEC – A pricing cartel. Illegal in a domestic European market. Exercise…lets apply this to a DDB Lagos client
PESTEL- easier to use Simply a list. An aide memoir. Some factors will be more important than others dependent on the brand, but it would be rare that we didn’t fill in at least something in each category.
Here they are. Political hits loads of categories – food, cars, finance etc.. Mention Arla.
So, let’s say I want to launch a new car in the Nigerian market. What might I usefully populate my PESTEL analysis with? (Exercise: get the group to populate the boxes with their own thoughts, relevant to your national market). And we haven’t even got to thinking about whether anyone else is thinking this yet. Let’s go further down the funnel and think about the competitive context.
. Suggestion: (for use in the office). Suggest to your client that you conduct a competitive review of the competition’s marketing and communications activity. Gather their ads and other materials, analyse them, conduct some qualitative consumer research to understand reactions to them, and do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of them. This is a great platform for a productive and strategic session with your client, which can lead to new projects.
SWOTs get used in many contexts – often applied fairly poorly. Used by HR departments to focus on people. Kraft have introduced a SWO – which rather undermines the balance of the initial approach. If you simply ignore the threats, life becomes, at least theoretically, somewhat easier. Important to realise the distinction between internal and external forces.
Strengths and weaknesses are internal to the brand or organisation. Opportunities and Threats lie outside. So whilst that back-stabbing Finance Director may seem like a threat, he should actually be thought of as a weakness. So the parameters provided by the left hand side of the table then apply to possible action that can be taken on the right hand side. Here’s Capital One by way of example.
Exercise: Lets choose a local client, MTN and have the group brainstorm a SWOT.
Study your client’s company, its history, performance, culture and ways of working. Knowing the context in which your client works and the issues their firm is facing will give you a better sense of their business needs and likely behaviour, as well as the opportunity to come forward with business-building ideas. And it will show you are interested. Suggestion: A great way to gain an ‘insider’s’ understanding of your client’s company is to volunteer to work there for a short period, maybe while one of their team is away. You will learn about the way they work, what’s going on – and how they see the agency and its competitors, too. Thinking of your client’s brands, which you need to know well, try to get all the data you can. Build a ‘Boston’ matrix or have fun with visualisations as the next slides explain, to work with your client on the brand…
The horizontal axis is simply share of the market. This could be expressed against the Concentration Ratio. i.e. Profile of brand over combined share of top 4 brands (CR4) The other axis is the rate of growth in the market. This will link back to the industry life cycle. (Low could indeed be negative).
Cash Cows TCO (talk about market definition) Mature product, low cost, low growth. Can be insanely profitable, but unlikely to be that responsive to increasing marketing investment. Typically used to fund growth in other areas.
Dogs Indivisibles and lumpy costs. (R&D for a new car model c. £1.5b) Marketing is a great example. Proportion of sales required to generate 100TVRs for Coke is significantly lower for any other brand in the market. The FD will tend to argue for disposal. The brand could be worth more to a competitor than it is to you. (The Observer and IoS had serious discussions about merging prior to the GNL purchase of the former). Rover – hence BMW were so keen to get it off their hands
This is where firms are taking a punt – can they revive the brand with more established rivals in front of them. The Apple iPhone will launch as a ?, but the aspiration is that it will become a star. (Given game away on final quarter). There are lots of marketing dollars in this space – Garmin is a great example. Late entrant behind TomTom, but maybe they can win the share war. Firms will gamble money from their cash cows taking punts in this quadrant. Danone’s Actimel moved from well behind Yakult to become the pre-eminent bio yogurt thingy in this new market.
Stars Brands with high market share in growing categories. That’s got to be Facebook in social networking. Over time the life cycle of products will necessarily mean that they fall from Rising Stars into Cash Cows. They will then fund the development of other launches.
Here’s an example of what Apple looks like on this grid. The original core business of Desktops and Operating Systems is now moving towards the dog quadrant. Growth is low and Apple has never had very large share in these sectors. (Note about definitions – e.g. publishing, audio, video) Airport technology – Apple is a player in this growing market, but only with small share. Most of Apple’s marketing bucks go behind the music business where they have dominant share and there is still rapid growth.
Issue -The use of graphic representation Needs just as much background work as if we were to use PowerPoint – but simply makes it more interesting We must know the story before the briefing 2 examples: Wrigley’s and the FT
The issue map for Wrigley’s centred around the forthcoming battle with Cadbury’s. Cadbury’s had just launched their rival brand Trident in the UK after years of Wrigley being the only player in the market. We bought this conflict to life visually as a ‘counter wars’ wrestling arena with sinewy Orbit, Airwaves and Extra wrestlers lining up again a beefy Cadbury’s armed with aggressive bar of Dairy Milk. Trident’s proposition is a fruity fun chew for children and this is illustrated by hoards of young chewers passionately cheering Trident on from ringside and children dressed up in fruit costumes. Wrigley’s wrestlers are in turn illustrated being supported by their diverse audiences, the mass Extra chewers - teenagers ‘getting a little closer’ to each other and others reading popular celebrity magazines - , dentists with man-size toothbrushes cheering on Orbit and finally extreme Airwaves chewers swooping down from the skies on parachutes and hang gliders. The Wrigley’s Hall of Fame with pictures of Spearmint, Doublemint and Juicy Fruit provide a backdrop to the Wrigley area. Category influences border the showdown. The anti-gum lobby are menacingly protesting stage left whilst a man reaches for loose change in front on a parking meter (the need for change often prompts a gum purchase). Finally packing innovation buckets surround the ring. Labelled tubs, tabs, mints and strips these buckets represent huge short term drivers of volume in the chewing gum category.
The Financial Times newspaper is here shown as a castle surrounded by enemies and threats – international competitors like the Wall St Journal and Google (especially for the beleaguered outpost that is ft.com), smaller local competition, other business magazines, bloggers, the economic environment and more. For the entertainment of the clients, their CEO, Marjorie Scardino, is shown like Rapunzel at the window of the topmost tower! All sorts of issues are covered – the role of marketing, the scale of returns, the scale of the competitors, the company’s organisation (see ft.com’s isolation, for instance). This was very effective in DDB London’s successful FT pitch, as a way to show the agency’s grasp of the clients’ situation, and as an involving map to portray issues and their relationships and consequences.
Finally, of course, get to know your client personally. What her experience and expectations of the agency are, what worries keep her awake at night, what her hopes and fears are – appreciating these will make a big difference to your ability to manage her business successfully. However, in the words of Laura Jones, who runs DDB’s global Philips account: “Get to know your client as though they are your best friend, but always remember to treat them like a client”. You can learn about your clients directly from them themselves, or by ‘asking around’ – ask colleagues, friends at other agencies who have worked for the same individual, trade press journalist contacts, or even specialist websites like … (check name)
With DDB’s ambition of becoming the world’s most influential communications company, thinking about influence – what it is, why it matters so much now, and how we can exercise it effectively for our clients – is vital. These slides give a taste of how DDB’s thinking on this has developed, and the new approaches and tools being created to enable us to define, communicate and capture influence for the brands we handle, and thus for our own brand.
You also need to know your agency’s place in its market and the proposition it offers to clients. What are its history, culture, values and beliefs? And ensure you get to know the same about DDB, the brand we all belong to. DDB Connect is the best source for this, along with www.ddb.com . Go into www.ddb.com and explor e the site. Do the same with Connect. Patrick to do a quick update on DDB, whats happening, the new thinking…swarm theory, social media…
With DDB’s ambition of becoming the world’s most influential communications company, thinking about influence – what it is, why it matters so much now, and how we can exercise it effectively for our clients – is vital. These slides give a taste of how DDB’s thinking on this has developed, and the new approaches and tools being created to enable us to define, communicate and capture influence for the brands we handle, and thus for our own brand. This short introduction is simply to introduce DDB’s current thinking. New tools and materials will become available in 2008/09.
We have moved, and we seek to move further, up the ladder of delivering more complex and valuable services to our clients. Our ‘output’ has evolved from ads to global campaign ideas to multi-disciplinary communications to creative business ideas. Which means the ‘inputs’ we work with have to evolve, to, from generating ideas to mastering business issues. These are new tasks.
New tasks which demonstrate a new conviction on our part, which require new analytics and tools to accomplish.
The principal new conviction we hold is that ‘consumers’ (ie people) have moved from being herds responding to leadership to swarms making up their own minds as they react to the influence of those close to them.
Consequently, the move of the past few years from an interruptive, top-down model of advertising (never one we favoured, as we have always believed with Bernbach in respecting the intelligence and humanity of our audiences, but nonetheless a common one) to a model stressing one-to-one engagement needs to go further. In a world of ‘reference, not deference’ and peer-group influence rather than respect for authorities, we must seek to influence brand communities and create customer swarms for our clients.
For instance, the role of mass communications becomes that of supercharging/ accelerating/cascading the peer-to-peer conversations that stimulate people’s beliefs and decisions: we need to reach people from ‘above’ and ‘beside’. As Bernbach said, ‘word of mouth is the most powerful medium of all’, a belief Bob Scarpelli has taken further with Talk Value: now we have more powerful ways of creating that Talk Value.
`That means engaging in the creation of conviction on the part of our clients’ brands, ensuring they stand for something relevant and unique; in cultivation advocates for those brands, who promote them to others; in doing remarkable things for and around those brands, to get them noticed and exciting; and opening up to the creativity of consumers in co-creating the brands’ platforms and expressions. The combination of these four actions will build the influence of our brands and thus their commercial success.
The new analytics of influence are in the triangle, feeding our revised Springboard tools.
The four new Influence Analytics.
The three Springboards and the new Influence Brief.
Brand Foundations is becoming simply Brand Springboards, with these core questions derived from the original format but updated.
The Opportunity Springboard now looks like this,
While the Brand Experience Springboard has become this new Community Springboard. All three Springboards now have new supporting tools and techniques, which are part of the full new Influence Springboards resource being developed.
Finally, this is the DDB Influence Brief – front page here, back page on the next slide, for directing, guiding and stimulating creative work.
Again, the business of commercial communications and advertising has generated a library of books – and even some Hollywood movies You need to get a good understanding of the main theories and models of how advertising (in its broadest meaning) works and what the many communications channels available to us can do. Exercise: Get participants to suggest how they can acquire this knowledge in your market. What books or articles do individuals recommend, what training courses does your national Agency Association run, or your local universities or colleges; what training does – or should – your own agency run? And what can you get from DDBU and DDB Connect? Make it your business to know the answers and discuss with participants. A few slides follow that summarise what we know about how advertising works.
Like a funnel, brand advertising can channel a change in people’s perceptions towards a change in their behaviour – the effect we ultimately want. Emotional engagement with an audience, not requiring a high level of conscious ‘attention’ to be processed by the brain, can alter long-term perceptions and sustain them in the mind for some time. To change behaviour on the basis of these deeper feelings or perceptions, may then require the more immediate stimulus of some ‘news’ that gains higher conscious attention for a short-term response; the spur to ‘act now!’.
For those of us in communications, emotional rather than rational argument must play a part in effective work. As Bernbach wrote: “Because an appeal makes logical sense is no guarantee that it will work”, and “At the heart of an effective creative philosophy is the belief that nothing is so powerful as an insight into human nature, what compulsions drive a man, what instincts dominate his actions …” Our reason (and it is not a simple ‘left brain/right brain polarity; emotion informs reason and vice versa) tends only to come into force later, to justify or challenge ‘decisions’ already made.
Emotion, rather than reason, drives most human decisions. We have neither the time, information or motivation to weigh up all the possible rational arguments in reaching (what are normally small and everyday) decisions about purchasing – or anything else. Our first thoughts are barely consciously perceived at all. ‘Cogito ergo sum’- I think therefore I am-, Descartes’ famous nostrum that the ability to think defines our individual existence, can be dismissed as a misunderstanding of the human condition – see ‘Descartes’ Error’ by Antonio Damasio.
This is the biggest set of modules in the course and this slide lists the content that follows on the craft of account management – indeed, on the core crafts of the agency generally. There are six modules developing the communications plan; Writing and delivering the creative brief; Assessing and understanding creative work; Presenting creative work to clients; Managing the workflow and product processes; And the small matter of money.
This is often a case of turning a client brief into a productive, strategic plan for communications that will generate powerful work. To do a good creative job, the agency needs to have a good communications plan, so this is a key document that will benefit from team and client input.
For simplicity’s sake, we can assume a path or workflow that a creative project will follow. From the client’s overall business plan, a marketing strategy is the first key step. This may be written entirely by the client before involving us, but we can of course contribute to it. Two of our Springboard tools, the Opportunity Springboard and Brand Springboard, are designed to help clients determine their marketing priorities and their brand vision. For more on these tools, see the DDB Playbook for Co-Creativity, the Brand Springboard part of the DDB Springboard booklet and the Brand Foundations CD ROM, all available from DDB Connect. Here, we are concerned with the next steps, the Communications Plan and Creative Brief. The Communications Plan will lead us towards creative development and our core planning tool for it is the ROI Springboard. Two other Springboards, 4D and Brand Community Springboard, can also be used after the ROI to generate ideas and plans for multi-disciplinary work. The ROI Springboard enables us to write a good Creative Brief – indeed, some agencies use it as their creative brief format – and it is designed as a joint enterprise involving agency and client together. For a full introduction to the ROI planning process, see the DDB Springboard booklet and the ROI CD ROM, both available from DDB Connect. We shall then move on to the Creative Brief itself, which is the agency team’s responsibility. The client needs to be happy with this brief, something made easier by their commitment to the preceding ROI. The format of the Creative Brief is dependent on each DDB agency’s working method, but we shall consider the principles of writing a good one. Finally, there is the act of creative briefing, a piece of personal communication between you and your creative teams. We’ll have a look at that, too.
Exercise: Here is a (spoof) client brief to the agency. Feel free to alter it for your market. Give it to the group (individually or in groups) to assess and respond to. What is good? What is not so good? What more do we need? How should we respond to the client? The brief is designed to lack a lot of what we really need, as you will see, so prepare your own critique of it before you invite responses from the group (you can use the guidance and templates in the section that follows to shape your thoughts). Use the Vitabix exercise to get the group to suggest what we (the agency) need to know if we are to generate effective communications. List/discuss. Then check vs the set of topics that follows. You may also choose to hand-out the A4 Vitabix brief.
DDB’s belief is today’s consumer marketing models calls for going Beyond Integration to Planning and Executing the most creative Brand Experiences
You and your team need to know and agree upon a number of issues, some relatively easy, some that will only be hammered out of hard thinking. First, the reason for the brief, why the client wants the work done. You need to understand the business background, the issues of the moment, the commercial and marketing objectives the client has to meet, and how the brand you are handling fits into that – its story. Second, what are the specific objectives of this communications programme? You need to agree what the work to be briefed is expected to achieve. Discussing the role of the communications is vital: the contribution advertising is intended to make will probably define what sort of campaign you brief. This is the stage at which to discuss how the effects of the campaign will be measured. It will be too late after the communications have happened – but that is when you will be asked.
Think about it this way For more on this issue of evaluation, and how to approach it, see DDB’s Evaluation & Learning Springboard. A copy of which can be found in the Springboard Approach book on DDB Connect.
These goals and the model of advertising’s role go hand-in-hand with considerations of the target group of consumers to be addressed by the communications. Deciding who your work will be talking to and understanding them as people is perhaps the single most important part of this whole process. You (and your team) should seek to know all you can about them, about their relationship, present or potential, with the category and your client’s brand, and about other people who may influence their brand decision-making or behaviour. In thinking about the people involved, you also need to decide what exactly you want them to do as a result of your communications. Some change of behaviour is likely for any real impact on brand sales, share or future. This is a great ‘reality check’: is it realistic to expect this change? Will enough people do it to achieve our objectives? What will they do it instead of, in the context of their present behaviour?
Once you are agreed about what you are trying to do and how, in human behavioural terms, you expect to do it, you must consider what the brand can offer people to achieve this. Deciding the brand’s ‘proposition’ – the unique and compelling promise it can make to buyers, the motivating, competitive reward it can offer users – is a hard thing. You may have to distil several possible propositions down to one. Then you will need to ensure you can support the chosen promise convincingly. A ‘reason to believe’, whether rational or more emotionally or experientially based, must underpin your proposition to make it credible.
Finally, you have to match this thinking with the resources you have. The budget, the available communications channels, the contribution expected from other agency partners – these and other practical considerations must be determined. Sometimes they flow from the needs defined already, but often they will be pre-ordained or too limited. And the last (perhaps!) constraint: time. None of your great plans can be realised – or even embarked upon – unless a realistic timeframe exists. It is your responsibility to prepare the timing plan. So all these considerations need to be taken into account, preferably as early as possible in the process. You need a framework for doing so, with your team and the client. Which is where DDB’s ROI Springboard comes in.
Good communications plans and the resulting creative briefs are a mix of rigour and imagination. Joán Miro, the great Catalan artist, summed it up beautifully: “ If you want to leap high into the air, first you must have your feet firmly on the ground” And Bill Bernbach eloquently made the point that knowledge is the jumping-off point for new ideas. Our creativity must be harnessed to our goals and built on sure foundations. To help establish those foundations, with rigour and imagination, you have the ROI Springboard.
‘ ROI’ stands for ‘Relevance, Originality & Impact’, the keys to successful communication. It also echoes the familiar ‘Return on Investment’ we promise our clients. And it makes sense we add ‘creative’ in the way Bernbach defined, namely with discipline and purpose.
ROI is a well-tried framework for deciding on a communications plan (or maybe creative brief). For that matter, you will find it useful in preparing any piece of communication, be it a presentation, a speech, or even a letter. Importantly, it is designed to be a group exercise, involving key clients and the agency team in a one-day workshop. As such, it can be a powerful instrument for gaining client and agency alignment and mutual commitment, as well as for reaching specific conclusions on a communications task. The outcome of an ROI session should be a concrete plan of action to follow, so as to pursue defined objectives.
ROI is task focussed. And tends to be short term. What do we need to do to make something happen, to influence someone to behave in a certain way.Like getting your child to tidy his/her room.
The end objective of the ROI is a single minded brief.
To arrive at a successful ROI Plan, we recommend you do not attempt it alone for any but the simplest tasks. The best ROIs come from sessions that involve your key client and sometimes others from the company who can help, such as researchers, product developers or sales people. You also need to engage the agency team as widely as possible: planning, creative, media and related disciplines from within the agency or partner agencies as appropriate. Before the session, research and preparation are necessary. Researching the market, the brand, competitors’ activity and above all, the consumer, is usually essential, to supplement what the client gives you. Interviews with trade customers, specialist journalists or other experts inside and outside the client company can be very helpful. Preparation is vital. You should only embark on the client/partner agency workshop once you have attempted the ROI yourself (with your agency team). A clear idea of where the answers are leading, and robust agreement in support of your informed views, will help you get a good result. Do your homework!
For a full explanation and exploration of ROI, download the relevant parts of the Springboard book(s) from DDB Connect and order the ROI Springboard CD ROM from Catalyst.
The Flow (Reprise) So, after completing an ROI and ensuring real client buy-in to it, you are ready to write the creative brief or briefs. At this stage, some DDB agencies use the ROI they have prepared as the creative brief itself, but most find that their creative people respond better to something more tailored to their particular needs, as defined by the agency’s working practices, the Creative Director’s experience and the prevailing creative culture. Either way, it is very much the agency’s document now and, although the client should happily accept it as a valid interpretation of the agreed ROI, it need not read the same.
If the ROI is the last step in the strategic process, think of the brief as the first in the creative process. Your job is to make it inspiring, without losing the rigour of the ROI. From the ROI, you should have a single-minded focus for the brief. Creative people will tell you that the tighter the brief, the sharper its point, the more creative freedom they have to express that core theme. Also from the ROI, you should have a real insight to fuel the brief, a new and relevant perspective on the consumer, the brand or the opportunity that provokes the response “I never thought of it like that!”
You can visualise the creative brief as the hinge between the factual and the known (ROI with its information and rigour), and the imaginative, something that engages people through creativity and human relevance.
You could liken a creative brief to the spark of life that God passes to Adam in Michelangelo’s famous fresco in the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Indeed, a famous ‘creative brief’, that led to that very fresco, was the one given by Pope Julius II to the Renaissance maestro, whom he wanted to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
Pope Julius could have simply instructed Michelangelo ‘to decorate the ceiling’. Maybe that is the brief we might have given. But, although succinct, it lacks both rigour and imagination. It leaves all the decisions up to the artist.
Rather more helpfully, the Pope might have ordered Michelangelo to “… paint biblical scenes … etc … by Christmas”. This has much more rigour: more about the content he desired, more about the price and the timing. But it lacks any imagination, any spark, any inspiration. Michelangelo would perhaps have been left cold and uninterested.
What Julius II actually asked (and note the word ‘please’!) was something altogether more moving, more motivating and more challenging. Now Michelangelo knows what to do and – inspired by the importance of the project “for the greater glory of God and as an inspiration to His people” – he could devote himself to depicting the Creation, the Fall, the Flood and man’s salvation as best he was able, which in his case was with sheer genius. Although maybe the issues of time and money that became so contentious during the process could have been better explained!
Just remember what he did! The right words, like little bombs, can explode inside us and demand original, exciting responses, above the mediocre and pedestrian.
Your brief is your contract with the agency’s creatives – and endorsed by your client. It should serve to initiate their work, inform them of what is expected, distil the communications task to a powerful essence, and ignite inspiration. You will only know how good it is when you see their work, but we have some guidelines for success.
You can think of your creative brief as any or all of the following An instruction, initiating action Directions that indicate a route to a destination A map that illustrates the topology of the route, its terrain, the bumps and dips and obstacles to progress A story that tells how we have tot to where we are and how our future may unfold And throughout, it balances rigour and imagination, both to inform and inspire
A good brief, one that evokes a positive and productive response, is: Clear, without confusion or internal contradiction Colloquial in its language, avoiding jargon and ‘marketing speak’ Directional, giving the reader something to focus on, rather than lists of facts or features without priority Convincing, so that it rings true; incredible claims or far-fetched objectives will not inspire the reader Stimulating, so that the readers (the creative team) feel that ‘yes, we can do this’. One test of a good brief is to try and answer it yourself. If you can’t see a way to do so, how can you expect your creative team to? Your answer may be inadequate, but you should be able to make something of your own brief.
There are things to look out for in a brief, to challenge and improve. Watch our for: The Contradictory, something unclear and potentially confusing (such as that “traditional yet modern” phrase) that tries to reconcile an unresolved tension within the brief. The Repetitive, where the same point keeps being made through the brief, without enhancement, explanation or development. The Wishful, which echoes the earlier point about being credible and convincing. Unsubstantiated claims or exaggerated benefits, for example, will either provoke pushback from the creatives, or worse, run foul of regulatory codes later; or even worse, alienate consumers. The Laundry List, with something in it for every one, and nothing that really motivates anyone. Remember, “the essence of positioning (our strategy) is sacrifice”: aim to be single-minded. The Lazy, where the brief contains nothing new or interesting, no insight to stimulate the ‘Wow!, I’d never thought of that!” response we seek, nothing to inspire a fresh creative solution.
Another way to probe a brief for its likely effectiveness is to see whether it contains assumptions you can challenge. Look out for: Market Assumptions – “our market is mature”, for instance: is it? Is nothing changing? No fresh opportunities? Or “we are in the camera market”. Are we? Or are we in the film business, the image business, the precious memories business …? Consumer Assumptions – “people in this category are only interested in product performance”. Are they? Or are the benefits of ‘performance’ actually more important, perhaps so that if we are in the detergent category, are healthiness, or fresh fragrances, and colours or children’s freedom to play (“dirt is good”) more motivating than sheer cleaning power? Advertising Assumptions – of which a classic is that “humour doesn’t work in this category” (remember the silly old saying, “nobody buys from a clown”?). One hears this in finance, automotive, healthcare – and nowhere is it true. Humour can be appropriate to almost any topic, depending on communication objective, consumer relevance, executional treatment, ie context. Assumptions are dangerous things, that stifle originality and innovation. They are particularly likely when a brand has enjoyed long success, as they then become ‘rules’, self-evident and ingrained – and often part of the ‘mandatories’ in a brief. Challenge them and test them for validity, and you can explore new territory, find new truths that will surprise and motivate. (Note: There will inevitably be assumptions in this course! Invite your participants to question and challenge them if they see them – it will make for better learning.)
Exercise: Here is an exercise for testing and analysing a brief (or a piece of creative work, for that matter). Divide participants into groups of 3 – an angel, a devil and a judge – and proceed as described The role-play - Present the brief or creative work Let the 3 prepare their comments Have them present their comments Listen, Review, Discuss Rotate the roles with different briefs/ads to analyse Results: Understand how to analyse and respond, debate and dialogue Identify how people define ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in ads and briefs
Use the A4 briefs – Seriously Strong Cheddar, Exxon Driver Rewards, Financial Times, Qwest – divided as required amongst the group for this exercise.
Finally, this is the DDB Influence Brief – front page here, back page on the next slide, for directing, guiding and stimulating creative work.
So we have reached the briefing stage. For the earlier stages, you could rely on your client, or your agency’s processes. Now it’s over to you, as briefing is …
… a personal communication between you and your creative team, or teams, if several channel disciplines are involved. So the first thing is: Know Your Audience.
Show video of ‘Socks’ That little film was made by DDB London’s (then BMP DDB) famous creative director, John Webster, for a DDB global conference. But the point it so simply and charmingly makes is true for all our endeavours, including the creative briefing.
Second, be clear and, as in your written brief, avoid the sort of jargon which will quickly be dismissed as bullshit by your colleagues. And third, try to enliven your verbal briefing by bringing something relevant of the brand experience to your discussion. A reel of competitive ads, some examples of the product, a walk round an appropriate local store, a tape of consumers talking about the category or brand which highlights a key point of the brief, even consuming or preparing the product if that is helpful to their understanding of the brief – any of those can be useful. You need to decide what would stimulate a productive response. Suggestion: Before the briefing, try writing a brief ROI for yourself as your own ‘communications plan’
The brief – and your briefing – may have been the start of the creative process. But only the start. It’s probably a good idea to follow up, see if your creative team have any questions about the brief once they have absorbed it – or challenges, of course. Encourage some discussion, if you can. That way you may get an inkling of where their thoughts are heading and if you like the direction then you can encourage them; if not, you have the opportunity to steer them back on course. Find a balance between leaving them alone as if they were a mysterious ‘black box’ destined to produce a magical solution, and pestering them: “know your audience”.
Topic 2- Modules 1 to 4
Topic 2: <ul><li>Account Leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Module 1: Know your client’s business </li></ul><ul><li>Module 2: Know your agency </li></ul><ul><li>Module 3: Communication plans and planning </li></ul><ul><li>Module 4: Creative briefs and briefing </li></ul>
Know Your Role Know Your Client Know Your Business Know Your Job Be a hunter and a farmer
Know Your Client Know the market size, trends, consumer profiles
Porter’s Five Forces Designed by Michael Porter (Harvard Business School): To assess whether or not a sector offers viable business opportunities To determine the level of risk in an investment
Porter’s Five Forces Bargaining Power of Suppliers Bargaining Power of Buyers Threat of Substitutes Threat of Entry Intra-Industry Rivalry
PESTEL Simple means of describing a firm’s operating environment Acts as a prompt to capture all relevant information, ranging from consumer trends to legislation
PESTEL Examples Political Trade politics, political situation, govt. policy Economic Taxation, seasonality, trade cycles, inflation Social Demographics, attitudes, education, social trends Technological New technology, funding, licensing, manufacture Environmental Customer values, staff attitudes, ecology Legal Legislation, consumer protection, employment
PESTEL Political * Economic * Social * Legal * Environmental * Technological *
Know Your Client Know his competition: threats, opportunities, marketing activity
SWOT Credited to Albert Humphrey at Stanford University A SWOT should lead to answers for: - How to use each strength? - How to overcome each weakness? - How to exploit each opportunity? - How to defend against each threat?
Analytics Influence Index: A ranking of the brand with the highest influence scores, derived from the amount of positive word of mouth (and its reach), divided by the amount it costs to achieve this (i.e. paid for media) Influence Scan: A qualitative exploration of how well the brand is driving the four dimensions of influence throughout its entire community Influence Study: An in-depth global quantitative study exploring the advocates of a brand and what drives this advocacy, allowing us to segment categories, understand communities and manage portfolios Influence Dashboard: Guidelines on how to monitor the performance of your brand, so that you can improve effectiveness and efficiency
Community Springboard 1. What are the objectives? 2. Who are we trying to influence? (and what is their current and desired brand relationship) 3. What does the community landscape look like? (‘big visual) 4. What are our channel plans/properties? (proper analysis needed) 5. What are the most appropriate moments of influence? 6. What is the ‘key communications idea’? 7. What role should each channel play? 8. How will we measure success?
Know Your Client What “advertising” does -- and how
The Role of Brand Advertising Change in Perceptions Emotional engagement Low attention processing is OK Long-term perceptual change Stay silent for future Change in Behaviour Rational Persuasion High attention processing is desirable Short term response (sales?) Act now!
3. …So impact, engagement, interest and entertainment play a huge role in getting people to process our communications… 4. Memories with vivid emotions attached are much more easily recalled, so have disproportionate effect on decision-making… 5. Engaging the rational brain (the cortex) can naturally encourage us to develop counter-arguments…
Objective: To launch Vitabix successfully into the UK savoury biscuit market, gaining trial and repeat purchase to achieve the company’s sales targets
Background: Vitabix is a Swedish savoury biscuit, made of crispbread with added vitamins and fibre for healthy eating. It is a leading brand in Sweden, where it is enjoyed in snacks and in particular at breakfast with cheese, meat, or fish. Vitabix is famous for its unique triangular shape. Vitabix has achieved listings with major UK supermarkets and will be launched in six months’ time at 20% premium to the category.
Target Market: Adults who eat crispbread or other savoury biscuits and are prepared to pay a little extra for a healthier alternative to their present choices, that still tastes great. And their children. Experience in Sweden suggests that ABC1 women aged 35 – 55 will be our core target.
Brand Proposition: Vitabix is perfect with cold meat, cheese or fish, tasty and healthy because it contains added vitamins B1, B2, D and E, plus extra fibre to aid digestion. Delicious for breakfast with your favourite toppings. Great for picnics and parties, and children’s school lunch-boxes
Media: We have promised our UK retailers that Vitabix will be supported by National TV advertising. We also intend to run a trial-simulating ‘buy one get one free’ offer at launch.
Developing the Communications Plan: What the agency team needs to know Why the work is being requested; business background and objectives; the brand story What the work should achieve: role of communications/advertising; effects to be measured
Measuring Success: or “Evaluation – It’s Not Just For Planners” Any brief expects results from the work Achieving those results = success Success may be rewarded; failure may have fatal consequences So how can you tell if you have succeeded? Agree the measures and evaluation method upfront They should depend on your objectives and the way your communications are intended to work (ie not standardised) Build evaluation into your Communications Plan DDB Evaluation & Learning Springboard
Developing the Communication Plan: What the agency team needs to know Who is our target group: their relationship with category and brand; who influences them and how What we would like them to do: the behaviour change
Developing the Communication Plan: What the agency team needs to know What the work is to communicate: the brand proposition How it might do so: brand claims, support, evidence …
Developing the Communication Plan: What the agency team needs to know What tools and resources we have: communications channels, budget, partners When it needs to happen: timing plan/critical dates
Developing the Communication Plan: Rigour & Imagination “ If you want to leap high into the air, first you must have your feet firmly on the ground” Joán Miro “ Knowledge isn’t an end – it’s a jumping-off point for soundly based new ideas” Bill Bernbach The ROI Springboard
The ROI Springboard “ ROI?” Relevance, Originality & Impact (and Return on Investment for our clients) “ Merely to let your imagination run riot, to dream unrelated dreams, to indulge in graphic acrobatics and verbal gymnastics is NOT being creative” Bill Bernbach
The ROI Springboard A tried and trusted DDB framework for deciding the plan (and sometimes the brief) Can help you plan any effective communication – presentations, speeches … Designed as a group exercise (key clients and agency team) Is task-focused, to create a plan for achieving specific objectives
The ROI Funnel ROI Ideas Market Data Product Research Consumer History Strategy Single Minded Brief
The ROI Springboard How do I answer the ROI questions? With my client (and sometimes others from the client company), in a facilitated workshop session With my team – bring in all the relevant talents With research – new and/or existing, amongst consumers, trade, experts, journalists, etc With preparation – only run the workshop when you (the team) have done your homework and know what you think
The ROI Springboard For more on ROI, see the Springboard book on DDB Connect; order the ROI CD ROM from Catalyst.
The Flow Business & Marketing Strategy Communications Plan Creative Brief(s) Briefing Client (+ Agency) Opportunity Springboard Brand Springboard Agency + Client ROI Springboard (4D) Brand Community Springboard Agency (+ Client) Local Agency Briefs (ROI) You!
From ROI to Creative Brief: Rigor and Imagination <ul><li>A brief is a means to an end </li></ul><ul><li>It is the first step in the creative process </li></ul><ul><li>We have to work at making it inspiring </li></ul><ul><li>From the ROI, decide on a single-minded focus – the essence of a great brief is sacrifice. The tighter the brief, the greater the creative freedom </li></ul>
Communications Briefs - Their Role The factual The known The definite The validated The brief + The proposition The created The engaging The relevant The contexualized
A Creative Brief <ul><li>Pope Julius II, briefing Michelangelo, could have said: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Your commission is to decorate the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel” </li></ul><ul><li>Not much rigour </li></ul><ul><li>No imagination </li></ul><ul><li>Leaves everything to the artist </li></ul>
A Creative Brief <ul><li>… or he could have said: </li></ul><ul><li>“ You will paint biblical scenes on the ceiling and decorate the vault with bright colours, for which you will be paid 2000 ducats less the rent of the house I will provide you. And it needs to be finished by Christmas.” </li></ul><ul><li>More rigour </li></ul><ul><li>Little imagination </li></ul><ul><li>Leaves the artist informed but uninspired </li></ul>
A Creative Brief <ul><li>… but he actually said: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Please paint on our ceiling – for the greater glory of God and as an inspiration and lesson to His people – frescoes that depict the creation of the world, the Fall, mankind’s degradation by sin, the divine wrath of the deluge and the preservation of Noah and his family.” </li></ul><ul><li>Clear and inspiring </li></ul>
Developing the Creative Brief <ul><li>Your “ contract ” with creative teams (and client), the brief seeks to: </li></ul><ul><li>Initiate </li></ul><ul><li>Inform </li></ul><ul><li>Distil </li></ul><ul><li>Inspire </li></ul><ul><li>And get a result ! ( It’s only a great brief when you’ve got great work ) </li></ul>
Developing the Creative Brief <ul><li>The brief is: </li></ul><ul><li>An instruction: it demands action </li></ul><ul><li>A set of directions: suggesting the way </li></ul><ul><li>A map: showing routes, terrain, obstacles </li></ul><ul><li>A story: with a past and a future </li></ul><ul><li>A balance: of rigour and imagination </li></ul>
A good brief is... <ul><li>Clear - and consistent </li></ul><ul><li>Colloquial - plain language </li></ul><ul><li>Directional - focus, not lists </li></ul><ul><li>Convincing - proposition rings true </li></ul><ul><li>Stimulating - “I could answer that” </li></ul>
Things to Challenge in Briefs The Contradictory - “not only but also” propositions ( traditional yet modern ) The Repetitive - same point copied throughout the brief The Wishful - unsubstantiated, exaggerated claims The Laundry List - with something for everyone The Lazy - no new thinking, accepted wisdom
Challenge Category Assumptions Look for these three in the brief: 1. Market assumptions : e.g. “we are in the camera business” 2. Consumer assumptions : e.g. “in this category people buy on performance” 3. Advertising assumptions : e.g. “you cannot use humour in this category” Success -> assumptions (perhaps once true) become ingrained, self-evident Challenge them/test them and you could find new truths
Analyzing a Brief or Creative Work Angel, Devil, Judge role-playing Teams of 3: One “angel,” who looks for reasons to praise One “devil,” who picks on things to criticize One “judge,” who advises on how to improve
Analyzing a Brief or Creative Work Example briefs handed out
Seriously Strong Cheddar Brief Pros Very single minded Short and succinct Executionally very clear and the format draws the eye to the most relevant information. Cons Too single minded – No description/story/rational This is not really a brief, but more a list of executional requirements This brief is missing an explanation as to how the team (and client) came to this position. Whoever has written this clearly has their hands tied by the client, but as it stands this is not an appealing brief for a creative team to work on. Some explanation of the circumstances surrounding this brief may help to get a team on board and see the problem from the account team’s perspective. What are the business objectives? Where are the communication objectives, measures intended effects? A client brief, all about the product. (‘Starters for ten’ are from the client) Where is the agency teams’ insight? What have we learned? What do we think makes “full flavour” a winner? Executional mandatories are too prominent and as a result put the execution before the idea ‘ We should try to’ points are redundant: one contradicts itself, the other is self evident’. What does it want us to do? ( Ads, posters etc) What are the budget/timings etc?
Exxon Driver Awards Pros Interesting structure Visual Has a clear objective (disguised in iteration) The idea of ‘being appreciated’ feels like it opens up a lot of creative opportunities Cons Is the story clear? (e.g. the common experience) Who is the target audience? What does the brief actually want them to do? There seems to be a contradiction between the Issue and the Iteration . The Issue says we want to get people to join the Driver Rewards programme, and yet the Iteration is increased awareness . Would an increase in applications to the rewards programme be a better measure of success? What does it want us to do? (Ads, posters etc) What is the budget? Why is “being appreciated” expected to raise brand awareness? More thought needs to go into the pictures as they don’t really tell a story. What is the difference between Exxon rewards and competitor programmes? How is Exxon better? It is confusing in this brief whether rewarding loyalty or the emphasising the quality of the gifts is the more important thing.
Financial Times Pros It’s very short It’s clear – what, when, how much? It’s directional – core proposition and support. It’s written in a very engaging (‘business like’?) way that grabs the readers attention. Cons It’s unfriendly, impersonal, uninspiring Who is it for? (Audience) There is information about both the brand, the story behind it but it is difficult to pick apart as there is no structure to the brief. There is no explanation as to why we are doing this. (No indication as to what the communications are supposed to do.)
Qwest Creative Brief Pros Well –structured Informative. The ‘Why are we communicating section’ gives the creative team some background and context to the brief. The brief gives teams a clear idea of what the communications need to do (Although the latter half of this box strays into how this should be achieved as well!) Cons Full of marketing/sales jargon which assumes prior knowledge of the account from creatives. Full of points, repetitive, not very clear. ‘ Closes down’ rather than opens up a creative opportunity. (Creative requirements are too up front) Two target audiences are listed which is confusing. There isn’t really sufficient information as to why one is priority over another which could leave teams confused about whom they should target. The ‘ Key Insight’ and ‘One True thing’ are contradictory and very confusing. Which is the more important? The insight around ‘value’ is not very inspiring and seems to be slightly at odds with the description of the target audience. Here is a picture of a confused consumer who is looking for simplicity. Is there another more interesting way in? Visually the brief is quite confusing. The large amount of underlining and highlighting means that the eye is not drawn to the most important information on the page Are the ‘Reasons To Believe’ also creative requirements?
DDB London Creative Brief Example of the DDB Creative Brief follows
The Flow Business & Marketing Strategy Communications Plan Creative Brief(s) Briefing Client (+ Agency) Opportunity Springboard Brand Springboard Agency + Client ROI Springboard (4D) Brand Community Springboard Agency (+ Client) Local Agency Briefs (ROI) You!
Delivering the Brief Briefing is an act of personal communication: know your audience (creative director/team) Think about who you are talking to – know your audience
Delivering the Brief Be clear about what you want: avoid jargon Engage the creatives in the task: e.g. via competitive ads, packs of products, a retail visit, consumer vox pops, eating, cooking...
Following Up On the Brief Go to the creative team to invite and answer questions – on the brief, the market, the client, consumers … See where they are going and encourage and/or correct their course But don’t be a pain!
Stimulating Creativity (In a workshop, an account team, or a creative duo) Have a clear goal – this should come from the brief; if not, challenge it until you really know what you’re trying to achieve Let ideas flow before you evaluate – let imagination run before knowledge disciplines, explore possibilities Be positive – “Yes, and …”; “What if …?”; “Why not?” Criticism is easy; save it for later Play idea ping-pong – take someone else’s idea, develop it, give it back better … ping-pong the thought Persevere – don’t accept the first ideas, keep pushing them further
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