Brand New Me: A Detox Plan for Marketers

January 12, 2015

Don’t panic; this isn’t just another article telling you to drink eight gallons of water a day. It’s a different type of detox plan, but one that’s based on similar principles: just as we fill our bodies with toxins because we live in the ‘here and now’, brands are also addicted to shortcuts that they know could cause long-term harm. Perhaps it’s habit or because they bring short-term gratification, but now that January is well and truly here, could it be time for a detox? According to Marketing Week, there are a few marketing ‘toxins’ to give up this year. We don’t believe you should give them up entirely; as with many things in life, it’s all about timing…

Workshops

Are workshops ever beneficial? Are they just an easy route that is merely procrastination to deep thinking?

Workshops for workshops sake? No! Don’t do it! However, if you have the right people in the room and you need to let those differing opinions of a group of stakeholders unfold, ensuring they’re all ‘harmonised’, then workshops are the place to do it. Yet sometimes it’s the case that the client or agency says: "yeah let’s have a workshop to discuss” and, as the article says, often you get nowhere and don’t unite any opinions or thoughts at all. One workshop at the beginning of a project with multiple stakeholders is worthwhile; as long as there are a clear set of objectives and outcomes set beforehand they can prove productive, giving you time to take a brief and get everyone on the same page. It’s also all about the facilitator of the workshop and whether they can fully hold court.

‘Conversation’

Sometimes we become wrapped up in marketing elements that allow us to measure for the sake of measurement – for example, ‘starting conversations’. Which of these proxies really make a difference to the bottom line?

Everything you measure should have a direct impact on your sales cycle, and ultimately your bottom line. Sure, measure conversations started if you wish, but then measure how many conversations translated into further meetings or sales. But I’d say don’t over complicate it for yourself, just make sure all you are measuring leads to conversion measurements and results. 

Feedback

When asking for feedback, it’s important to steer clear of the generalised view, instead making sure your proposal is right before sharing it and asking specific questions.

Feedback is a good one; how often do you (if a client) ever give honest feedback? After a pitch we have lost we ask for feedback from the client. Occasionally we get really clear feedback, but generally it’s fluff.  How can any of us get better or make sure we are working on the right things if we aren’t all very honest and clear with our feedback? The thing to remember is not to take it personally or to heart, but ensure everyone has a clear and open voice in any process, pitching or project work.  That way everyone can learn and get better at what they’re doing.

Brand films

Are brand films ever a good idea? Or do they simply prematurely establish a rigid view on how the strategy should be executed?

Brand film, or the dreaded “corporate video”…  They are a good idea if written and executed really well, with a clear focus and message along with a call-to-action, but - whatever you do - don’t commission a navel-gazing; i.e. a “look how special we are at nothing in particular” film, (aside from brandishing our shiny new brand with no clear message or call-to-action). It will be wasted budget, guaranteed.

Quick wins

Is there ever such thing as a quick win? It can give you a quick boost, but the comedown is often not worth it.

Quick wins = low hanging fruit, and it’s all a bit of hyperbole really!  Of course a phased approach tops a campaign or project, and to start seeing developments quickly is great for some clients, but be careful not to go with the quick wins and then not have a full-blown plan in place for the longer winnings.