Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Shopper Culture

Shameless promotion of something we have just gotten off the ground - A global discussion about the impact of shopper culture on brand strategy

If you are here and reading this, hop over to our new Shopper Culture blog and have a look. It is intended to be a global conversation about the impact of shopper culture on brand strategy. If you find it interesting, please post us a comment and bookmark it, add it to your RSS feeds, put it on your facebook profile and all that.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Bill Hicks on Marketing and Advertising

Just a reminder that it ain't Rocket Surgery! (Whatch the language you have little ears in the vicinity). I was lucky enough to see Bill before he died, and I like his personal view of the industry I work in. You've gotta laugh.

A great brand delivers - consistently

Whatever your views of Beckham he does deliver when needed (and I couldn't do it). Even if you are a conspiracy theorist who believes this was a set up to increase the popularity of football in the US, it's still a sweet shot.

What's with all the Robots?

When did Robots become cool again? Interesting that a number of different executions for brands in distant categories are all using Robots as synonym for forward-thinking or technologically advanced.

Heineken are doing it.

Phillips and Nivea - doing it too.

Think it might be overdoing it a bit. I mean, the keg idea is not exactly new, the Watney's Party 7 being an icon of the 70's.

The partnership between Phillips and Nivea has been around a while (alright, it's a new product, but still). Worth checking the rest of this campaign out because they use an Anime animation style on the web which is completely different to the TV work and they play with using data to create personalised content - but completely miss the boat.

Nothing can beat the classic robots though. Brilliant.

Size doesn't matter (apparently)

A new study that has been conducted by Rainmaker Consulting called The Intelligent New Business Survey that compares and contrasts the stated needs of clients and how US marketing communications agencies engage with them to win their business.

They asked questions, in three major areas, of 150 big US brand spenders. These areas, which are pretty important when it comes to new biz in our world, are:

1) What prompts them to seek a new agency?
2) What are the most effective ways for agencies to engage with them?
3) Why do thy choose one agency over another?

Not surprisingly, the findings show a big difference between what the agencies in the survey said, and what the marketing decision makers said. This allows Rainmaker to make some suggestions for greater success in new business.

Size doesn't matter - in the main, clients don't feel that size matters, but of course agencies do. We (agencies) shouldn't sell ourselves so vigorously on size, nor should we worry about size being an issue. We've seen a lot of this recently as newer, smaller, more creative and more flexible shops have picked up iconic pieces of business.

(Instinctively knew this one.) 83% of clients don't feel that geographic location is an issue, but a lot of agencies do. However, clients don't feel that where you are is a barrier to them buying a winning solution. This is great for us to remember in Denver as clients in the US are all over the country. Plus, having worked in London for the last 5 years on clients in Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Greece etc. it was clear geography was no barrier to them.

85% of clients don't feel that agencies prepare enough
. The outcome is that Agencies must invest more in effective intelligence on their prospects. This used to be a big topic of conversation in the Elston household in London. Caron used to work in professional services - and they would routinely spend over 10% of the prize meeting, interviewing and reviewing with the prospect. It was slick. They'd produce full blown web-sites, detailed contact reports of all meetings, phone calls, films and proper books. A world away from two dozen PowerPoint slides that agencies so often churn out the night before!

Agencies should present a solution, not a discipline.
Again, feel good about this one having been in non-advertising for so long where we have continually built a solution to the problem rather than a discipline. Sometime to the point of ignoring the brief (more or less).

Clients want agencies to be far more proactive.
Often agencies just want to sit on the sidelines so we should be more proactive with our clients (that old chestnut!)

A major trend, and one which will undoubtedly impact on all marketing communications agencies depending on how prepared they already are, is the increase in demand from clients for better customer insights. Agencies should develop keener customer insights and communicate these energetically to their prospect-base.

This last one is both encouraging and frustrating. Encouraging as this is basically my area of responsibility and I love that the provision of insight (in all forms) has continued to increase throughout my career. Frustrating because of the ability to get quality people who get it (and I am blessed once again to have a team who do - but finding the right people is not easy, and getting the organisation to support and embrace also a challenge - but hey it's a change of culture so it wont happen overnight). We're making some good inroads, and we're growing so things are moving in the right direction.

And this leads to the reasons clients choose agencies. The top ten list are:

1. Quality customer insights
2. Chemistry
3. Creative work
4. Service level / response to needs ongoing
5. Cost control
6. Innovative / strategic thinking
7. Case for ROI

8. Client list
9. Strict adherence to brief
10. Seniority of account team

So, agencies. Invest in planners and strategists. Focus more on recruitment and build teams that get on. And don't worry about yourself - where you are, how big and to some extent who you also work for - they're not relevant.

You can get the full pdf of the survey here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

You've just got to want to ...

If we can put a man on the moon, why can't we (insert your business problem here) ?

The AAAA's

I had planned to write some stuff about the AAAA's Account Planning conference last week. But didn't for a couple of reasons.

1) I was left wanting - and have a lot of sympathy the the post at PSFK
2) The world and his brother have been writing about it. Sean has a good summary of a few highlights here.
3) Middle of a pitch and just never found the time.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Collective nouns

This is something that I've never felt satisfactory resolution of - what is the collective noun for a group of planners?

Sprint Speed

So Sean sent me an eCard from the SprintSweet site. Nothing new in an eCard I hear you say (it's the thought and the message that count). Only trouble is, it took forever to download. So if that is a representation of SprintSpeed, I'm sticking with at&cingular (or whatever they are called). Do love this though.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

I've been busy

It was pointed out to me yesterday that I've not posted anything for a while. Been kinda busy, and off to the AAAA Account Planning Group conference in San Diego next week. Intend to say something about that. Honest!