Marketing Professional. Problem Solver. Not saving lives.
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We keep seeing a (normally peer-pressured and unmotivated) move of major businesses to become ‘platform’ businesses. To offer your clients more than the usual set of products that they started off with. Banks started offering airtime, airtime businesses starting offering banking services. Both offered insurance and then both tried to get into the entertainment business. Sound familiar?

1 — What happens to innovation at a core product level?

2 — How does “locking customers in” equate to client centricity?

3 — At what level is your business distinctive or differentiated?

4 — Do flattened cost rates mean floating poor quality products no-one uses? …

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In the industry of marketing, advertisers and agencies there seems, to some, to be a battle between 2 forces — agency & client. Two sides of the same coin.

On one side we have agencies. They’re typically fight for creativity, the idea(!) and something a little more than what we’re comfortable with.

On the other side we have brands, or advertisers. They have a focus on results; sales or leads, brand uplift, net promoter scores and favourability. Generally an increase in market share.

In a healthy environment these 2 sides of a the marketing coin are not dissimilar, but rather a balance that allows the coin to land on its side every now and then (a 1 in 6000 chance*), a sign of marketing excellence, something special that actually worked. Brand gets the uplift and the results because the agency created work that was distinctive, creative and did the right job. …

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Creativity is sold as an exclusive service that can only be delivered by a special few; those with creative titles in creative industries.

Design Indaba reminded me that creativity can come from (literally) anywhere. David Droga apologised to the audience for having to listen to a marketing person and I was a little taken back. The arrogance of the marketing and advertising world fell down on me like a ton of well-designed, eco-bricks.

I’ve recently shifted from the advertising agency world to the ‘corporate’ world and I haven’t felt a lack of creativity or imagination, I’ve felt it more.

It doesn't get expressed in ads, design or copy, it is expressed in the desire to fix problems and change people’s lives. Perhaps an even nobler cause.

In the ad industry we refer to the collective of art directors, copywriters and designers as “creatives” and we lump everyone else (including clients and the target market) in a bucket that inhibits creativity. As a strategist I’ve felt that first hand. Only in special cases, in some of the most creative agencies are strategists embraced as part of the creative/ideation process (hat-tip to TBWA). …

Why distinction is important

Imagine being a judge at the World Martial Arts Championship. Imagine walking into a massive arena where 50 of the best martial artists in the world are there in the hope of winning the title, and winning the crowd’s hearts.

Now, imagine each one of these martial artists, alone, in their own designated space demonstrating their unique ability to you. How will you choose — how will decide who is the best of the best if you don’t see them in matches against each other?

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This is the world that many businesses have subjected consumers to. Within a category, they try and find a designated, unique space to position themselves. They expect consumers to make a conscious, rational decision based on a brand position that does not explain why they are better than the next business. …

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“A robot named Pepper holding an iPad” by Alex Knight on Unsplash

Programmatic, Digital, Drones, AR, VR, Ai, Blockchain, Pepper the Robot, Influencers, Big Data and all the rest of the “trends” we see lately are not ideas.

They are methods, resources, inputs and channels that form part of a larger strategy to reach audiences in a meaningful way.

They do not solve for shitty products, bad messaging, poor timing or shallow creative.

If used, they should be part of an integrated approach that includes some insights-driven marketing and communications.

When everyone has the same tools, the work will look the same.

Value creativity and value the insight that drives it.

Like me, you might have a world of creative resources floating around anywhere from your downloads folder to your desktop or in job folders.

Here is my attempt to help organize your creative assets. Feel free to download the whole creative resources folder structure here.

Here’s what it’s made up of:

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Root of Resources Folder

The root contains almost all types of files you would need or have in your creative library, from vectors and audio to video and Photoshop actions.

If you’re a designer, freelance or part of an agency, you’ll understand the frustration of not being able to find what you’re looking for. Even worse is when your own filing system is so bad you get lost in your own work.

I have been guilty of both, and although I am not a designer anymore, I was going through my old work and started the process of filing properly. This led me on to some articles on folder structure and organization, which eventually led me to the conclusion that I should put some thing together and share it.

The system is quite simple and the whole client folder structure can be found here.

Here’s what it’s made up of:

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The root of the folder

In the root of the client folder (which you would rename to the client’s name) are 3 folders: _Admin — where all the top line administration for that client is kept; _Corporate Identity — where that client’s CI is stored separately to jobs and finally a Project Folder — which you would duplicate when needed for each new project. …

Over the past few years I have seen many media types pretend to be things they are not. Life saving billboards, career enhancing banner ads, you name it.

The problem you face as a brand owner or an advertiser is that each time your agency comes to you with an idea that starts with “this is not a banner, it’s a …” or “this is not a billboard, it’s a …”; your brand stops becoming the hero. The attention is diverted to the tactic. You lose.

Your agency will get the case study, they’ll win an award for creative use of media, technically, so will you — but people seldom remember the brand over that cool billboard made out of money.

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While we sit at our desks and bitch about the “other” agency, we tell ourselves that we are the solution to every one of our client’s needs.

Integrated marketing does not rely on integrated agencies, it relies on integrating agencies.

What am i going on about?

Well, simply, we can be all we want to be and work as efficiently as we need to for ourselves, but we’re forgetting the most valuable lesson we preach about marketing. Know your audience.

If we’re not setting ourselves up to solve our clients’ needs, we’re doing it wrong. …

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