Responding To A Brief? Think Long, Write Short

Responding To A Brief? Think Long, Write Short
SHARE
THIS



In this opinion piece, Carat strategy director Andrew Hardeman (pictured below) challenges agencies to focus on solving client problems in the most simple and effective way, rather than adding unnecessary complexity. Because in the timeless words of Avril Lavigne, ‘Why’d you have to go and make things so complicated?’

Andrew Hardeman

Over the past few years, the advertising landscape has become increasingly difficult to navigate. Media fragmentation, consumer advertising scepticism and the commoditisation of ‘unique selling propositions’ have meant reaching the right person, in the right place, in the right context, and with the right message, has become somewhat of a scientific miracle.

At the same time, the role of marketing teams has become busier with the addition of more moving parts.

As a result, marketing teams are placing greater value on agencies that filter what they say and share, so that only the most relevant and required information is delivered.

Unfortunately, as David Ogilvy put it: “Our business is infested with idiots who try to impress by using pretentious jargon.”

I’m sure you have all been in a presentation recently where you were baffled by the unnecessary addition of detail, depth or complexity that was delivered for what seemed like a relatively directive request, brief or problem to solve, right?

Agencies need to appreciate now that their role is shifting to that of expert filterers – rather than simply experts. Delivering less – but better – work has never been more appreciated.

So, why are agencies overcomplicating things and what can they do about it now?

Situation #1: increasing access to data and information

Rationale: agencies have had unprecedented exponential access to data that has provided opportunities to be better equipped and informed to solve problems. However, data is only good if someone knows what to do with it and how to represent it.

Data at its most basic form is defined as “facts and statistics collected together for analysis”. Unfortunately, too often agencies are representing data as insights, rather than using critical thinking to understand the ‘why’ behind it.

Solution: use critical thinking to present the right information, not all the information.

Everyone will have access to data. Successful agencies will be the ones who know how to use it. Agencies would be wise to bolster and promote strategic divisions that have strong critical thinking and analytic skills, as this will become the point of differentiation when data becomes commoditised.

Those that can effectively present and develop meaningful and actionable insights from data – present the diamond without the rough – will be in high demand.

Situation #2: demonstrate breadth of capabilities and thinking

Rationale: many agencies would say that in the search for finding solutions to client problems, they have had to add complexity and rigour to their approach, and many could be within their right to believe that.

However, adding this layer of complexity is often actually self-serving behaviour. It is selfishly showing off capabilities, prowess and skill when they are not required.

It is self-serving behaviour, not client-first thinking.

Solution: listen to what is required, not what your agency wants to deliver.

Presenting a cool new idea, macro landscape analysis, piece of tech or newly-minted client offering as part of a recommendation when it is not truly relevant is a waste of time. Articulate and re-articulate the problem – and what needs to be done – to make sure each stage of any response ladders back to the original requirement and task at hand.

Situation #3: agency partner competition

Rationale: in an increasingly competitive market where all agencies are competing for the same shrinking budgets, agencies constantly feel like they need to deliver more to justify the value they offer.

While this ‘more’ can be worthwhile, it is in fact adding more complexity to clients, because it is often being delivered for less (or nothing). This artificially sets an incorrect value on what is provided and represents a big problem, because value and worth is often determined by what is exchanged and paid for it in return – if it costs nothing, it is often perceived as worth nothing.

Solution: identify and work with agency partners rather than compete against them.

Media and creative agencies are increasingly being pulled closer together as a result of clients wanting an easier integrated solution. Agencies within larger operating models will benefit from working as a singular entity, while those working as separate agencies would be wise to become good at providing an integrated solution or risk being left for agency partners that can.

Where does this leave us now?

Richard Branson put it nicely by saying: “Any fool can make something complicated. It is hard to make something simple.” Or as George Lois put it simply in his book Damn Good Advice: “Think long, write short.”

Please login with linkedin to comment

Andrew Hardeman Skittles

Latest News

Ikon Communications Appoints Melissa Roberts As Melbourne Agency Director
  • Marketing

Ikon Communications Appoints Melissa Roberts As Melbourne Agency Director

Ikon Communications has appointed Melissa Roberts as agency director, Ikon Melbourne. Roberts will report directly to CEO Lesley Edwards and will take a key position on Ikon’s national leadership team. Edwards said she was delighted Roberts has decided to re-join the Ikon family to lead its burgeoning Melbourne office, as the agency embarks on an […]

HT&E Chairman Tenders Resignation Following Adshel Sale
  • Media

HT&E Chairman Tenders Resignation Following Adshel Sale

Here, There & Everywhere (HT&E) has announced that Peter Cosgrove has tendered his notice to retire as chairman and a director of the company. Cosgrove has been on HT&E’s board for 14 years and chairman of the company for five of those years. The resignation of Cosgrove comes just after oOh!media acquired HT&E’s outdoor media […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Cut out letters on keyboard
  • Advertising

Advertisers Should Enrich Australian Culture, Not Fake News Merchants

Australian News Channel CEO, Angelos Frangopoulos, has urged Australian advertisers to carefully consider how their media investments impact Australian society. Applauding the ACCC’s digital platforms inquiry, Frangopoulos said its outcome would be “absolutely critical”, not just for Australian media companies, but for Australian culture. “This is about Australian stories being told by Australians,” he said, […]

LinkedIn Launches Local Iteration Of Global #InItTogether Brand Campaign Via Edelman
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

LinkedIn Launches Local Iteration Of Global #InItTogether Brand Campaign Via Edelman

Professional networking platform LinkedIn has unveiled a consumer-targeted social campaign featuring Aussie members expressing their own takes on success. The campaign, titled ‘In It Together’, is based on the insight that the traditional notions of success have changed and is no longer defined by securing a corner office or a promotion. A survey conducted by […]

Weight Watchers Launches First Global  Marketing Campaign
  • Campaigns

Weight Watchers Launches First Global Marketing Campaign

Weight Watchers International has launched its first global marketing campaign that celebrates the liveability of the WW Your Way+TM program and how it’s possible to enjoy the foods, behaviours and occasions tied to the season, while continuing to develop healthy habits. The campaign is part of the company’s “Season of Impact” and marks two firsts […]

Daylight Agency Appoints Shelley Hammond As Director Of Agency Operations
  • Media

Daylight Agency Appoints Shelley Hammond As Director Of Agency Operations

The Daylight Agency’s significant growth has continued with the appointment of Shelley Hammond as Director of Agency Operations. Shelley is a leader in the global communications industry and brings vast experience following senior roles in major corporates as well as the agency environment. Shelley will be responsible for the commercial running of Daylight including client retention and […]

Instagram Launches Long-Form Video
  • Technology

Instagram Launches Long-Form Video

Instagram unveils new eye-catching feature. Slicing onions while reading this will also make it eye-watering.

Ridley Scott Unveils New Directors Showcase At Cannes
  • Media

Ridley Scott Unveils New Directors Showcase At Cannes

Curated this year by Ridley Scott, famed director of Alien, The Martian and other classics, The New Directors Showcase at Cannes is now in its 28th year. Acting as a platform for talented new directors to have their work premiered to a global audience, Scott took to the stage in front of a full house […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
ANZ, PHD & JCDecaux Harness The Power Of Data
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

ANZ, PHD & JCDecaux Harness The Power Of Data

ANZ and media agency PHD have partnered with JCDecaux to launch a unique campaign that harnesses the power of data across three cities incorporating actual tram, train and bus timetable information to align with the new ANZ App.

Report: Consumers Are Hitting Play On Mobile Video
  • Technology

Report: Consumers Are Hitting Play On Mobile Video

Ooyala survey finds media companies created and processed nearly three times as much video content in Q1 as Media Companies Created & Processed Nearly Three Times As Much Video Content in Q1 2018 vs. Q1 2017.

MercerBell Calls In Two New Data Hires
  • Marketing
  • Technology

MercerBell Calls In Two New Data Hires

Proving many photos shot on an iPhone so often come out washed-out and grainy comes this article's accompanying pic.

Intrepid Travel Go Back 30 Years, Posting Classified Adverts In Newspapers
  • Campaigns

Intrepid Travel Go Back 30 Years, Posting Classified Adverts In Newspapers

Intrepid Travel has gone back in time and is placing classified adverts for a new ‘mystery expedition’ to places that yet mapped by Google.  The adverts to be placed in Courier Mail, Herald Sun and Sunday Telegraph are calling for intrepid people to join a journey with “long travel days, intermittent electricity, no Wi-Fi, cold […]

Watching tv and using remote control
  • Advertising
  • Media

GroupM Investment Forecast For Australia: TV On The Rise As Digital Slips

GroupM has updated its 2018 ad investment forecasts and released its initial 2019 outlook. GroupM predicts $24B in net new advertising investment this year, the best annual increment since the bounce back from the global recession in 2010 when $26B was added to investment. GroupM estimates total advertising investment will grow by 4.5 per cent this year […]

Indigenous Campaign Deemed Too Controversial By APN Media To Run
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Indigenous Campaign Deemed Too Controversial By APN Media To Run

Aboriginal Victoria’s campaign in support of Australia’s first-ever treaty legislation, Deadly Questions, has been deemed too controversial to run by one of Australia’s leading outdoor media providers, APN Media. Online platform Deadly Questions provides a safe space for people to ask questions and have them answered by Aboriginal Victorians, to learn more about their cultures, […]

Introducing: YouTube Music Australia
  • Technology

Introducing: YouTube Music Australia

The wait is over! Starting today, YouTube Music is available to everyone in Australia, New Zealand, the U.S, Mexico and South Korea in addition to 12 new countries including Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Now fans around the world can find more of the music […]

Will PR Finally Earn Its Stripes At Cannes This Year?
  • Opinion

Will PR Finally Earn Its Stripes At Cannes This Year?

In this guest post, Haystac’s national general manager, Jason Carnew (pictured below), says with all this talk of Cannes at this time of year, it’s a kindly reminder that the PR business needs to get its act together in terms of awards, work and judging… All eyes on are Cannes as some of the best […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Ex-DDBer Unveils Designer Headscarves For Cancer Survivors
  • Campaigns

Ex-DDBer Unveils Designer Headscarves For Cancer Survivors

Two-times cancer survivor, Frankie Good Stuff Award Winner, ex-DDBer and founder of Bravery Co. Emily Somers has collaborated with a range of top-notch illustrators to produce Australia’s first range of designer headscarves for young cancer warriors. She is now crowdfunding $40,000 to produce the scarves and donate one to all the young women in their 20’s […]

New Advertising Platform Launches Down Under
  • Advertising

New Advertising Platform Launches Down Under

Following its massive success in Europe, Asia and the UAE, the Polishoe concept, which brings a high-demand shoe polish service and HD digital advertising platform together, has landed in Australia.