The one single question for your advertising agency

This weekend I saw a video shared in Facebook, about young people having a great summer experience and, by the way, eating ice creams. It was very well produced (although it reminded me to other similar ads from the beer category), actors were nice and fresh, it looked fine, the claim copy was creatively very powerful. I would congratulate the agency’s creative director, I’m sure he or she was aiming to win some prize at any creative festival. The problem, I didn’t see how that video would help them selling more ice creams. Yes there was a promo behind so you could go on a trip trip with your friends, but definitely they didn’t need the video for that.

Advertising should aim to change consumers behaviors: consider if they don’t know, try if they haven’t done before, buy more if they are occasionals, advocate if they’re regulars. It’s a quite simple funnel (how to influence consumers is, on the other hand, quite more complex since the path to purchase is anything but linear)

Agencies need to reshape to a new integrated model, but CMOs and their teams do also have to provide the right briefings. The better the briefing is, the better chances are that the creative concept will hit bull’s eye (this isn’t new). Most briefs include information about the product and its value proposition, about the target, about the brand. But many times briefs lack business objectives. What do you want to achieve with the campaign? Is it awareness? is it sales? How much? This is important as creatives tend to justify their work with emotional attributes linked to the brand. But even if the business objective is pure awareness, creating a brand personality or narrowing the gap with the consumer, there is a final business objective that needs to be fulfilled. Let’s assume you created the perfect brief, with your business objectives well defined, and your agency brings back a concept. What would be that one single question to ask?

The one single question is WHY?

Why a consumer, after being impacted by the advertisement should change his behavior in order to meet your business objectives. If the business objective is clearly defined in the brief, the creative agency should be able to answer this very simple question. And that question should be in the heart of every creative as a sanity check, proving himself his/her Consumer Empathy.

This is not against creativity, it’s neither against emotionality. The answer doesn’t have to be rational if the business objective is not rational, but they have to be aligned. We’re not asking to explain a concept (which by the way, should be self explanatory) we’re asking how the creative thinks his/her concept is going to modify the consumer behavior in every single step of his/her decision journey, because that should be the real aim of a campaign. Don’t you think?


How to make common sense really common: The value of Consumer Empathy

Empathy could have a neural originIn marketing professional services it is sometimes difficult to find the right insight in order to fulfill your clients’ marketing objectives. Of course there is research, but sometimes consumers don’t know what they want until you show it to them, and of course there is heuristic, but with constant change, there is no guarantee of successful past recipes working well again. And success shouldn’t be a happy client on a creative work, success is a marketing activity that contributes to consumers buying more, repeating their purchases, being loyal to the brand and tell other consumers how good a product (and the experience) is.

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