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

Sydney Uni & JWT China Connect Human And Machine Learning With Creativity
  • Media
  • Technology

Sydney Uni & JWT China Connect Human And Machine Learning With Creativity

How will the future of work look for creative agencies?  How can technology be applied to the creative process – can it be automated? These are the key questions to be grappled with by University of Sydney academic experts and students in a new partnership with international advertising agency J. Walter Thompson China, in Shanghai. […]

Suncorp Appoints OMD As Master Media Agency
  • Advertising
  • Media

Suncorp Appoints OMD As Master Media Agency

OMD Australia has been appointed Suncorp’s Master Media Agency to manage the media planning and buying for the group’s network of brands including Suncorp, AAMI, GIO and Apia. The appointment of OMD comes after Suncorp confirmed it was reviewing its media account in October, putting incumbent Starcom on notice. It also coincides with the company’s move to a network […]

ABC Unveils Its Content Line-Up For 2019
  • Media

ABC Unveils Its Content Line-Up For 2019

The ABC has put recent management turmoil behind it to unveil its 2019 schedule. Highlights include the return of fan favourites Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell, Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery and Anh’s Brush with Fame. David Anderson, ABC acting managing director, said: “The ABC tells the story of Australia and in 2019 we have many great […]

Seven Ways To Apply Speech Analytics In Marketing
  • Marketing
  • Opinion
  • Technology

Seven Ways To Apply Speech Analytics In Marketing

In this guest post, CEO of Delacon, Michael Center (pictured below), says speech analytics has a myriad of useful applications for any business and here he outlines seven applications to improve your marketing… Speech analytics data collected from calls made by potential new customers allows businesses to drive greater personalisation in the online environment and create […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Stockland Tells Aussies To ‘Give A Little Christmas’ Via CX Lavender
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Stockland Tells Aussies To ‘Give A Little Christmas’ Via CX Lavender

Stockland has unveiled its 2018 Christmas Campaign, launching across its national social and owned media channels. Titled ‘Give a Little Christmas’ the ad is by creative agency CX Lavender and celebrates the spontaneous, unplanned and unexpected moments that make Christmas special and can bring a community closer. Ben Allen, general manager marketing at Stockland, said: “At Stockland, we believe […]

Harper’s BAZAAR Devotes December Issue To Conservation
  • Media

Harper’s BAZAAR Devotes December Issue To Conservation

The December issue of Harper’s BAZAAR, on sale today, celebrates a unique collaboration between the luxury lifestyle title and Australia’s iconic Taronga Zoo. Fronted by Australian supermodel and mother of two, Gemma Ward, the December issue is devoted to raising awareness to the work Taronga Zoo, and the newly established Taronga Institute of Science and […]

The $400,000 Problem Of Storing Media Assets
  • Media
  • Opinion

The $400,000 Problem Of Storing Media Assets

In this gust post, Collaboro CEO Warwick Boulter (pictured below), says too many marketers aren’t taking care of their very expensive media assets and offers his tips to ensure you safeguard yours… A business’ digital media assets form a significant part of its overall asset portfolio. Maximising the use of these assets and protecting them against loss is […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine