We’ve spent nearly four decades honing a collaborative process that compels the harmonic integration of all marketing disciplines. For example, we don’t organize our people by department. We organize by client team. So instead of woodwinds hanging with woodwinds, your clarinet players are shoulder-to-shoulder with the cellists and the percussionists. Harmonized, integrated campaigns are built organically, not cobbled together at the end of the process.
We’ve been virtuoso performers for some of the best conductors in marketing. Here are the instruments we’ve mastered.
Marketing aligns products, processes and business practices with customer needs. Great marketing communications campaigns make desires feel like needs, expanding the prospect audience.
This is a function of creativity. Creativity can be a tricky thing, though. Especially when you face the same creative challenge repeatedly, as all brand marketers do. You get bored with your campaigns well before your customers do, and are hungry for something fresh. Sometimes we like a new idea so much, we overlook the fact that the new creative path leads us astray of important marketing principles.
For a brand steward, well-calculated marketing parameters lock in what is essential to brand communications. Even though we are a company founded on creativity, our greatest rush is to deliver thrilling new ideas built entirely within defined marketing parameters.
This is possible because we bring you fresh, experienced eyes that always seek out what is right to say before working on how to say it.
Strong marketing is the foundation of The Science of Creativity®.
The best brands in the world got there by committing to a meaningful brand promise, and working every day to fulfill it. It is the most enduring, profitable way to do business. It is ultimately why formal brand methodology is applied by all top companies.
In our process, brands are not vague, amorphous belief systems. A brand is built on very specific tenets, and calculated elements of voice and style. It should be as carefully engineered as a sailing ship built for a long oversea journey. It should fly effortlessly over the waves, proud and beautiful, when skies are clear and the winds are favorable. And it should protect you when seas are rough. To mix our maritime analogies, it should also shine like a lighthouse beacon and guide you home during the worst of storms.
Effective, on-brand creativity doesn’t just relay our truth, it causes the customer to feel that truth. We’re all accustomed to consumer brands overtly playing on our emotions, but we’re finding a more humanistic voice for B2B brands is effective as well. Turns out businesses don’t make decisions. People do. As we’ve come to define it, B2B = P2P.
Ultimately, reason takes the prospective customer only so far. In fact, what often happens is consumers think they are immune to emotional manipulation, and doing comparison shopping by gleaning specs and price points reinforces the notion that they are shrewd shoppers. Yet at the end of all the analysis, what they find is essentially parity in the products they are considering.
Guess who wins ties? The brand that is most appealing to that customer’s own, subconscious idealized image of himself. Therefore the more we know about the target customer, the more likely we are to push the right cognitive buttons.
This is the brilliance behind Nike’s Just Do It campaign and enduring tagline, for example. They’d go broke selling shoes to professional athletes. Their target was, and remains, recreational athletes who aspire to see themselves – and to be seen by others – as serious recreational athletes. The Nike brand emotionally aligns with that desire, and in three simple words issues a rallying cry to motivate athletic activity and thereby arouse a sense of tribal belonging.
So yeah, basically, nothing happens unless you show up. All great work looks simple and obvious once it’s done.
We had the good fortune at the advent of the digital age to see the future of digital wasn’t just websites, it was as a primary outreach medium. So digital media was never a function of our digital development department, which requires a completely different skill set even if both disciplines involve html coding. Digital media has always been integrated into our media department.
Digital planners and buyers who aren’t actively engaged with brand managers, creative directors and integrated media strategists face serious structural limitations. In fact, any specialists who can see only their part of the sales funnel will never be able to reach their full, proactive potential. Isolating capture sequence functions means people are forced to react rather than anticipate. Their limited purview inhibits their ability to participate creatively to an overall media strategy that takes advantage of the best both digital and traditional media have to offer.
The best capture sequence aligns traditional and digital media collaboratively to fill the sales funnel.
You can only get true marketing insights if you ask insightful questions. Marketing research studies conducted without strategic creative guidance seldom yield actionable data. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you might not recognize the flash of gold when you see it.
Now that online surveys via platforms like Survey Monkey are so easy and cost effective to execute, we encourage our clients to make ongoing market and customer research a recurring annual line item. Need to get beyond analytics and see what people are embracing in your current campaign? Let’s find out. Curious about how a competitor’s campaign is affecting your customers? Let’s find out. Need to know if people think a chimp washing a cat is funnier than a chimp smoking a cigar? Shame on you. Start over.
Thomas Puckett opened one of the first ad agency digital development departments in the industry nearly thirty years ago.
It was a terrible mistake.
The reason is clear in retrospect. Like most people, we were mystified and dazzled by the technology. We weren’t dazzled by the work, though. It turns out those in-house capabilities were creating more limitations than advantages. We kept seeing websites that were more about what the department could do, rather than what could be done to truly set our clients apart from their competitors.
Since then, we’ve learned the difference between “not technically feasible” and “we don’t know how to do that.” Rather than working around the limitations of digital generalists on staff, we turn to specialists with capabilities that fit the mission at hand. And because we’ve developed so many projects with so many great digital athletes, we have deeper capabilities than any single digital agency can possibly muster.
If we can imagine it, we have someone who can execute it.
As professional project managers, we know that when it comes to digital projects, it’s much better to be a developer’s client than their boss.
Our roots are in film and video production. Our business was built on it. And now, video is driving everything, from trade show displays to TV spots to in-venue to pre-rolls on YouTube. We even use video to create architectural features.
The key to successfully implementing video as an ongoing part of an integrated campaign is to create big league content on a minor league budget. Our talent and experience enable us to produce stellar video content at prices that enable you to make video a foundation component of your marketing communications strategy.
The digital transformation of video production plays a huge role in this. Anyone who has ever waited for actual reels of B-roll to scroll in the edit bay, or booked time at the color lab in L.A., or waited for the transfer to tape, deeply appreciates the wonders of digital video production.
Remember when your social media posts reached all your followers, plus some new people to boot? Those days are long gone. If you review your analytics, you’ll find your organic reach has declined to the point that only a single-digit percentage of your followers see you, and virtually no one new is getting your posts.
Did anyone ever doubt that the top social media outlets would find a way to capitalize their platforms? Social media is now a paid media function. Posts not supported with marketing budgets offer the illusion of effectiveness, but the numbers tell the real story. Unsupported posts reach only a tiny fraction of your audience, and virtually nobody new.
The good news: a little bit of budget goes a long way on social platforms. It’s well worth including a line item for Paid Social in your media budget. Good content from your social creatives combined with active media management of social analytics will reveal when your best opportunities arise and allow you to capitalize.
As with everything else in life, free will only take you so far.
Sometimes the view from outside can be more clear than we can see from within. Our unique perspective is informed by all the valuable knowledge we’ve gleaned as marketing-focused consultants for some great companies and brilliant leaders.
Fresh eyes backed by talent, experience and proven methodology can always help. In our experience, good marketing counsel resonates much the same way great creativity does: it all seems so simple and clear after
Get clarity. Move wisely.