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Miami Ad School Class: "Understanding the Issue"


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I had the chance to teach a weekend class at Miami Ad School's Account Planning Boot Camp. The topic was "understanding the issue".

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Miami Ad School Class: "Understanding the Issue"

  1. 1. h e l l o !
  2. 2. this weekend we are going to talk about many things.
  3. 3. with one theme threading through everything.
  4. 4. the truth.
  5. 5. the truth. the truth.
  6. 6. the truth. the truth. the truth.
  7. 7. it’s a search for the truth in planning, in this boot camp, in the ad world, in the business problem, in the audience and in each other.
  9. 9. but first…
  10. 10. from classmates to lifelong friends.
  11. 11. by now you have already gotten a basic understanding of account planning.
  12. 12. that’s more than most people will ever get so well done.
  13. 13. let’s take a minute to refresh and get us all in the same room.
  14. 14. what is account planning?
  15. 15. strategy in military terms: a plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal. tactic in military terms: employing available means to accomplish objective.
  16. 16. a [quick] look at the traditional ad agency departments.
  17. 17. so where does the planner fit in?
  18. 18. anthropologist support for account right hand to client investigator voice of clarity researcher inspiration to creative investigator brief writer voice of consumer
  19. 19. there is no such thing as a [typical] day in the life but let’s imagine.
  20. 20. the brief  
  21. 21. the brief   •  qualitative or quantitative research •  getting a client brief •  workshops with product insight team •  competitive analysis •  developing positioning statements •  testing already developed key messages
  22. 22. the brief   •  getting client and creative to buy-in •  thinking of different ways in •  brainstorming with creative team •  making sure creative is on brief •  tweaking the brief to match the work •  sending inspiration to creative team •  writing set-up story slides for the work •  presenting work to client •  making decisions based on performance
  23. 23. Client briefing Asking the right questions Exploring the broad market/ business dynamics Establishing target audience segments and consumer purchasing dynamics keep this process in mind this weekend. Defining the role of advertising and what models of advertising are applicable Carrying out a competitive analysis of the category Conducting a thorough brand audit
  24. 24. a look at the brief.
  25. 25. about the brief. ü  it’s a source of clarity, inspiration and direction. ü  every planner has their own style. ü  every agency has their own template. ü  some briefs are left open while others are written tightly. ü  creative appreciates thought starters ü  client and account typically approve the brief. ü  a brief doesn’t have to be a piece of paper. ü  some people ignore briefs. ü  others edit them until the end.
  26. 26. “this tension between control and freedom is at the heart of creative briefing. getting it right isn’t easy. however, i believe that whilst you need to rigidly control and give clarity about the problem you are asking creativity to fix, being open-minded and giving people freedom in how they solve it is the smartest thing any briefer can do.” - Pete Heskett, art of the brief
  27. 27. BACKGROUND ü  what is the objective? what is the problem (awareness, trial, sales)? ü  what is the real problem (price, cultural irrelevance, unclear product benefit)? ü  what category are we in? AUDIENCE ü  who are we talking to? ü  what do we know about them demographically or psychologically? ü  are they users or non-users of our brand (retain vs. recruit) INSIGHT AND STRATEGY ü  after looking through the lens of culture, consumer, brand and category, what is our target insight? ü  using our target insight, what is the plan we want to make for our communications? REASONS TO BELIEVE ü  what are the brand and product truths that support our strategy? IDEAL OUTCOME ü  after our target sees our ad, what do we want them to think, do or feel? MANDATORIES AND CONSIDERATIONS ü  what are we making? ü  what should the creatives keep in mind when developing the work? TIMING ü  when do we go to market? BUDGET ü  how much money to we have to play with?
  28. 28. few tips.
  29. 29. 1.  write, re-write and write again. 2.  running a napkin with doodles on it to a colleague is allowed. 3.  the words should jump off of a page. 4.  the briefing moment does not have to be in a room. 5.  know it’s the first step in the creative process and not the last step in the strategy process. 6.  client and account typically approve the brief
  30. 30. possible challenges with client briefs: •  no clear problem [often something like increase awareness or sales by x%] •  unclear how success is measured [often confusion between marketing goals and advertising goals] •  many people write them with different intentions [maybe someone wants to please their boss, maybe someone wants to win an award] •  sometimes there is no general direction
  31. 31. why tone is so important.
  32. 32. another truth: sometimes advertising isn’t the solution.
  33. 33. let’s practice. why? the battery is dead. why? the alternator is not functioning. why? the alternator belt has broken. why? the alternator was well beyond its useful service life and not replaced. why? the vehicle was not maintained according to the recommended service schedule.
  34. 34. how to go about finding the real problem. ask many, many questions. rephrase the problem. challenge the assumptions that come in. fill your brain with goodness. you’ll have the chance to ask clients about their creative brief and to ask consumers about their hopes, dreams and fears. example: when an executive asked employees to brainstorm ways to increase productivity, he got blank stares. but when he rephrased his request as ways to make their job easier, he couldn’t keep up with the load of suggestions. remove bias, come up with different ways of looking at the category and provided problem. example, if you’re working on a restaurant brand, don’t assume they have a clear menu. this is a great time to fill your mind with as much information about the current category, competition, audience, historical advertising and product.
  35. 35. Google White papers Focus groups Surveys Brand trackers In person interviews
  36. 36. issues can be anywhere.
  37. 37. Product Brand Communications Audience Category
  38. 38. Product an issue with the way the object works, doesn’t work or is priced and like can’t count on advertising to change it
  39. 39. Brand there is a perception of the brand that is weighing it down that can likely be solved with advertising
  40. 40. Communications a problem with customer service, an advertising touch point along the customer journey, or something in media that is hurting the brand that can likely be helped with advertising.
  41. 41. Audience there’s a thought or behavior with the intended audience that’s between he/she and the brand or the current audience is the wrong audience, and can likely be solved with advertising.
  42. 42. Category the competition is doing something better, your brand is in the wrong category, and can likely be helped with advertising.
  43. 43. the key to uncovering insights was given to you at a very young age.
  44. 44. category culture consumer company
  45. 45. c a t e g o r y what category are we in? what is the pricing and features of the different products? who else is in our category? what category could we be in? can we re-define the category?
  46. 46. c o n s u m e r what is the current behavior of our consumer? how do we want to change their behavior? what words do we want our consumer to use when telling their friend about us? what are their conflicts, passions and goals? who are they influenced by?
  47. 47. time to build our own
  48. 48. c o m p a n y what are the functional and emotional benefits? what is your client’s goal? what is their boss’s goal? what is the company’s goal for this advertising campaign? what is the company’s goal for the next five years?
  49. 49. 1.  Pick a brand or product 2.  Label the end points 3.  Fill it in
  50. 50. Let’s do three together.
  51. 51. c u l t u r e what is happening in the world right now? can the product tie to a movement? is the brand going with a cultural trend or against it? is there a specific group of people that we can focus on? example: if it’s known that many new yorkers are waking up earlier than ever before, how can a brand or product fit into the 7am time slot?
  52. 52. PURCHASE FUNNEL METRICS awareness, purchase intent, consideration, loyalty BRAND ATTRIBUTES personality descriptors, product attributes, customer satisfaction THE CREATIVE brand archeology, current campaigns, social media audit
  53. 53. congratulations! you just opened your own advertising agency and you landed your first client without having to ever meet them. you have an initial meeting to learn about their business. what do you ask them?
  54. 54. your turn. four teams. one per section.
  55. 55. pretend these are your brands. what does a successful headline in the wall street journal look like?
  56. 56. now let’s get to an in-class assignment in prep for the big weekly one.
  57. 57. your client is peet’s coffee. the owner is planning on closing all stores on the west coast unless each store increases its yearly revenue by 15%. your assignment is to: 1.  identify the problem/s [product, brand, communications, audience, category] and articulate it back in an inspiring way 2.  with the problem in mind, conduct and then present your research plan on how you got to your problem 3.  write a creative brief for your [imagine] creative team that they would use to come up with a campaign 4 [bonus]: put a few creative ideas on paper
  58. 58. it’s arguably the best job in the world five learned lessons from being a planner. the skills are transferable   planners aren’t needed to make work but are there to make the work better   inspiration fades. stay with it and get out there   planners don’t need the answers but need to know how to get them later  
  59. 59. a good place to start.
  60. 60. it’s time to say goodbye. and hello to the best three months of your darn life.
  61. 61. The CEO found $50 million dollars in his pocket. he has 6 months to turn the brand around and has agreed to use all of the found money for a marketing campaign. what would you recommend? best strategy and creative wins.