Creating inspiring brands.

No guts no glory

I frequently talk to talented copywriters, creative directors, designers, other brand consultants and we all agree about one thing – why don’t the clients let the creatives do the work. Why don’t they accept the gutsy idea?  Why can’t the work of a brilliant creative see the light of day?

What’s the client afraid of – that it won’t sell. The client thinks that we sell ideas and that they sell brands, but once the client understands that we all sell brands together, the world will be a better place for the advertising people.

So where did the gutsy client go? The bad financial times hit and the gutsy client disappeared. I used to be one of the clients and I understand that they are scared of crazy ideas, but if the idea is aligned with the brand, there shouldn’t be any problems.

In order to help the client and the brilliant creative I would sum up what is important to sell the idea. The checklist is for both the creative when creating the idea and for the client when judging and choosing the idea.

1. The idea needs to be on brief

2. Brand associations are aligned with the brand

3. The idea is communicating to the right consumer

4. It has a long term potential

5. The competitors aren’t saying this

6. It is likeable (some out of the box ideas turn the audience away)

7. The market trends are in the favor of the proposed idea

This one’s for the clients. Let me just say a few words about the first point. If the brief is bad, then your brand will have bad communication.

Make the brief as if you were talking to a friend about another friend. Give your brand human traits when you are describing it – in three attributes tops. Describe its strength in one short sentence. Describe its weakness in one short sentence. Name the competition – give a short overview. And that’s it! Don’t put unnecessary information that will kill the most inspired creative and don’t hide behind complicated words that don’t mean much.

If you have all the seven points you have a bigger chance of selling the strong idea that will benefit the brand long term. Of course I can tell you that sometimes even all the 7 checks won’t help the idea with the scared client.

Just a bit of advice for the creatives. Explain the idea well. Provide the reasons why the idea is brilliant, why it would work for the brand, how it would benefit the brand long term. In my experience too many creatives think short term when selling the idea. Keep this in mind when doing the presentation. Show the client how the idea could be communicated over a longer period of time. That means doing more for the pitch – show what could happen in a year, for the client to see the reusability of this. That is why it is good to have the foundations of the brand that you could get from the client in the form of the brief. Keep thinking of that one sentence that sums up the strength and never go astray from it because that will help the brand become distinctive and wanted in the market place.


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