Does art belong in a gallery where only the rich and culturally well-heeled should be allowed to enjoy it, or should creativity be publicly displayed for everyone who walks within the walls of a city to enjoy.
It’s easy for a big corporate brand to market themselves. Annually the marketing department receives a budget from the finance department. This budget is carefully considered in accordance with an agreed [with the executive committee] marketing plan and usually ends with a flurry of zeros. A multi-award winning advertising agency – who reside in very fancy AAA grade office in an up-and-coming part of town – are then summoned to behold and spend the lavish purse on a carefully selected combination of television (with a bit of production thrown in for good measure), outdoor, sponsorship, radio, on-line and PR.
Strategies are signed off, creatives are briefed, cocktails are drunk and the machine coughs and splutters to life – churning out positioned communication that may win a few more awards and keeps the executive committee happy in the knowledge that ‘the brand’ is in the realm of the populace.
But when what the machine has created – all perfectly graded and professionally crafted – doesn’t match the expectation created by its magnificence…then what?
Who’s responsible for this? Dear Twitter, why were we lied to? I’m going to take my story to CapeTalk! …isÂ invariablyÂ the reaction. The impressive budget with a flurry of zeros then serves nothing more than a reminder of the feelings of betrayal the disconnected messaging is feeding the populace.
So what’s the solution here?
It’s easy to tell people about the party you’re throwing, but not so easy to convince your beloved guests that the amazing live band you promised isn’t lip-syncing over a Snotkop CD. When things do go not as planned,Â the machine isn’t very good at appointing a cleaner for the mess. Blame is passed around like a quickly burning joint and the owner of the stash is nowhere to be found.
if only the answers to life’s problems were as simple as following bullet points, but if they were – these would be the four bullet points to solve this issue:
- Take ownership of your messaging – even if the agency made it and you’ve never see it before, it’s yours – that’s why you get paid the big bucks.
- Make sure that everyone that works at the company is sick to death with what it is you are actually telling people: Sounds so obvious, but you’d be surprised as to how isolated a marketing department can make themselves from the rest of the organisation.
- If you don’t love it, how do you expect your customers to? If you couldn’t be bothered entering the competition you’re running on the side hoarding at the rugby, how can you expect Jan and Piet to be inspired to.
- When things do go wrong – own it, fix it and put plans in place for it not to happen again. Just don’t issue a press release with bland press release type language. Mistakes are made by humans, speak human when you apologise.
Machines are everywhere and rule the world. People aren’t looking to make connections with more machines [we’re all pretty much iPadded and iPhoned out] Brands that are small in their connection with their fans are few, but very refreshing in a modern era. So perhaps 2013 is the year to pull back a bit on that massive ad budget and try do it just by connecting with other people. Solve their problems, listen to their feedback.
Cherryflava is an opinionated commentary on trends and innovation - as well as the people and thinking that are shaping the future of our world.Published from Cape Town, South Africa since 2004.
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