Strategic planning is the starting point of all successful advertising.
It means putting the consumer first.
We believe the essence of planning is this: seeing the brands through the eyes of the consumer, rather than the other way around. (When you “see” the consumer through the eyes of the brand, you rarely reach a new insight.)
Consequently, we put a lot of emphasis on consumer understanding.
The reason is simple: unless we get the link right with the consumer, he or she will never give the brand leadership status. We have developed proprietary techniques and approaches to help us achieve that goal.
It is part of a growing commitment to planning, and the impact it can have in building leadership brands.
We believe that planning’s role is essential to every business.
The ultimate expression of this commitment is to have a true planning function in each and every office. In some cases, that’s facilitated by someone called a “Planner” or “Planning Director”.
However, it is shortsighted to confuse dedicated planning personnel with the planning function. This is an agency-wide mission and requires the commitment and balanced perspective of the entire agency team.
Planning is the very backbone of brilliant, brand-building advertising.
Great creative work does not happen by accident.
It is planned.
It comes about, sometimes quite spontaneously, from strategic grounding that is smart, provocative and rich in its possibilities. Creative input is invaluable to this process.
When planning is done correctly, it gives creative teams the inspiration and courage to do great work.
There is more than one path to building a leadership brand.
We’ve discovered some common traits.
However, there is no universal road map.
The very nature of leadership negates a cookie-cutter approach. And while our specific tools and disciplines help point the way, inevitably, it begins with insightful and compelling strategic planning.
Before we can change behavior, we must change beliefs.
We have learned peoples’ behavior are actually quite predictable if you understand their beliefs about the brand, themselves and the world around them.
In our experience, if you can address those beliefs, you stand a very good chance of affecting their behavior.
The best insights come from understanding consumers and their relationship to the brand.
Insight is one of those daunting words.
It implies that we will unlock some never-told truth about human nature.
In the practical world, insight is far more hardworking. It’s a key to why consumers behave the way they do… and why they might behave differently given the right impetus.
Finding that insight is a primary responsibility of planning. It comes from studying and understanding the consumer, the brand and their fit. (Of course, good instincts help too.)
A well-written brief is a springboard for creativity.
It’s single-minded. It’s tightly defined. And one more thing: it acts as a trampoline for great creativity.
Yes, it should provide a foundation. But it should also provide bounce for creative thought.
If it leads to creative frustration, start over.