WHAT'S YOUR STORY?
Ideally, it's grounded in the relevant truth: relevant to the target audience and truthful about the product. Brands that can draw a direct line from Mission/Vision/Positioning straight through to the point of purchase can create a brain-pleasing aesthetic. That's because the human brain is hardwired to seek out patterns. Telling a consistent, purpose-driven story across the customer journey helps foster an engaging brand experience.
WHY SHOULD ANYONE CARE?
To be significant, the brand story needs to connect in two critical ways: emotional and rational. Neuroscience indicates purchase decisions are initially driven by emotion and later supported by reason. Whether it's buying a home or a stick of gum, it works the same way. We fall in love (or like) with something, then come up with rational justifications for the emotional decision we've already made. To move people through the purchase funnel, a brand should lead with emotion to attract attention, then back it up with rational arguments.
These concept boards demonstrate driving emotional connection in an otherwise impassive category: commercial banking.
MAKE A GOOD PROFIT.
I've seen enough things and been coached by enough people to know for sure that's it's possible to do good, be good, and make money. By the way, you can also have one helluva fun time doing it.
Developing brand campaigns is a negotiation–a delicate balancing act between competing interests. Clients have stuff to sell, agencies want the freedom to do their best work, and both need to grow business. The best negotiation results in all sides getting 100% of what they want. It’s not a 50-50 compromise leaving everyone half happy. It’s not always possible, but it’s always a noble pursuit.
A Useful Cliche
Hire people you trust. Trust them to do what they were hired to do. It’s what agencies want from clients, staff needs from supervisors, and creatives look for in outside resources. It makes an organization a great places to work.
GREAT WORK & GREAT PROCESS
Over the last decade or so, agencies have tried to expand digital capabilities, or traditional ones, or both. It’s been a rough road that's created friction and nuked relationships. I’ve witnessed it, and unknowingly contributed to it. I’ve also come away with tangible solutions that leverage the best of what traditional agencies and technology start ups have brought to the creative process.
At Modea, I took a deep dive into the digital space and came away with an ideation process that coordinates all marketing disciplines and generates a lot of solid ideas very quickly. No matter your job title, as long as you are creative, with my process, you can have a shot at making the big idea. That gets everyone excited. My ideation process is called Three Rooms. It’s a proprietary process that can be merchandised to give an agency a competitive advantage.
Here's an award winning product of the Three Room process.
ON MAKING IDEAS
The difference between good and great is a full trash can. That applies to beginners and seasoned vets alike. If you make 10 ideas, the chances of being brilliant are so-so. But if you make 50, the odds of reaching greatness go up.
Client killed the idea? That’s okay because we’ve got a million of ‘em. The most awarded Art Director in the history of One Show, Bob Barrie once said, “Sometimes your best ideas come after your clients kill your best ideas”. That doesn’t mean it's not painful when someone kills your babies, but resiliency is one of our best assets for making great work and building great client relationships.
ON FORMING RELATIONSHIPS
The key to building great relationships with clients, supervisors, and other departments is creating value. The way to create value is to understand their goals and come up with ideas to help them achieve those goals.
See Managing Up. It works the same in both directions. A good leader will identify the venn diagram overlap between an employee’s career goals and the organization's goals, then put practices in place to achieve both.
ON UNDERSTANDING CLIENTS
We birth the ideas, but clients live with them. I had this epiphany when an architect working on my house proposed an idea I didn’t care for. He defended it by pointing out the overall aesthetic would suffer without it. I objected, “But you don’t have to live with it”. The moment those words came out of my mouth, I understood my clients much better. Agencies develop and sell the idea, then move on. The client lives with its impact much longer.