Blog

March 2012 - PS Insights

WHO’S RUNNING THE ASYLUM?

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During the Creative Revolution (1960s-70s) in advertising, when Creative was King, people used to say, “The inmates are in control of the asylum.” Steve was recently on a panel at the Digital Hollywood Media Summit and it’s clear that the inmates who are currently running the asylum are Media Planners and Buyers. Whether you call them “VP of Social Media,” or “Digital Managers,” they’re still just media planners. Buyer beware. When the media platform trumps the creative idea, we’re in trouble!

MNEMONICS, CONT’D…

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And speaking of memorable messages, we were recently forwarded a page of great logo designs with “hidden” extras. Like the arrow inside the FedEx logo. The “A to Z” designed into the Amazon brand. The two people dipping into a bowl in the Tostitos logo. Who knew? They’re all extraordinary efforts—and a reminder to all of us to go the extra distance in ALL your marketing communications.

MNEMONICS

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   “Where’s the beef?” (Wendy’s) “Dah-dah-dah” (Volkswagen) A slap on the face (Old Spice). A great mnemonic moves into the lexicon and makes your marketing dollars go that much farther. Make your agencies stretch a little. Find audio and video triggers (words, music, sound effects) that help people identify, remember and talk about your message…and, brand.

NAMING FASHION

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You can tell you the age of an advertising agency by its name. If you say, “J. Walter Thompson” you’re an old-line firm from the earliest days of advertising. If you’re a JWT or Y&R, you’re an old line firm, updated. If you’re Strawberry Frog, Mother, Naked, Anomaly or Taxi, you’re a new edge agency of today. Business names for the creative industry can be as fashionable as the good work they do.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

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Does your brand name paint you into a corner? Like E*TRADE – which seemed like the perfect name   when they first launched, and now boxes them in as an “online trading” company, even though they’re a full-service banking & loan company. It’s a good thing if your name gives people a clue to what you do; but keep an eye on your long-term goals as well. And make sure your name can grow with you.

STANDING OUT FROM THE COMPETITION

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How do you stand out from what your competitors are doing? Actually, that’s a two-part question. Part 1: Do you know what your competitors are doing? Part 2: Do you know who your competitors are? Whether you’re a multi-billion-dollar corporation or a SOHO (Single Office Home Office) freelancer, you’ve got to know and exploit that difference. Do you?

GEN WHY?

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They’re here to stay – and you’d better learn how to work with them and how to manage them. They’re a different breed and there’s a lot to love!

BE SPECIFIC

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Say what you mean. Get rid of the extraneous stuff and say (or write) clearly and concisely exactly what you mean.

STAND YOUR GROUND

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Professionally, would you rather be eaten by sharks or nibbled to death by ducks? Either way you end up dead. Stand your ground when you know you’re right. Yes, it will appear that you’re being unreasonable – but that’s where excellence comes from: the willingness to be unreasonable when everyone else is suggesting that you compromise. Do it tactfully. Do it gracefully. But don’t let the ducks demand the small changes that turn quality into mush.

“GUTS IS CHEAPER THAN RESEARCH.”

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Charlie Ryant, a terrific senior creative director, used to have that sign over his desk. It always made us laugh – but the truth is, “sometimes yes, sometimes no.” Sometimes you’ve got to go with your gut and sometimes you’ve got to get some feedback before you risk it all. Be very careful about what you decide to test and what you don’t. In fact, you may want to “pre-test” the testing. Gather an informal group and run the idea by them; if there’s not unanimous response, it’s a good signal that some serious testing might be in order.