Brand Building

Innovation without risk

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What is it we really want?

Do we really want to be innovative and creative, or just play it safe?

Creating real brand standout has never been harder. Increased competition and availability, means audiences now have access to numerous competing brands, often with little differentiation between them.

And with features and benefits on an almost equal footing, the pressure is on for brands to be more creative and innovative, in order to build strong, meaningful and unique connections with their audiences.

But does this focus on creativity and innovation represent great opportunity, or a big risk, to marketers?

 

Are great ideas just too much of a risk for some businesses?

Breaking away from the norms, or previously tried and tested strategies and tactics, may open up new possibilities, but for many it equates to the feeling of being exposed within a business.

Pushing the limits to develop new ideas for your brand, can put you in the firing line – literally!

This can lead brands and marketers to view creativity and innovation as something desirable, yet also highly risky.

Yet these risks have little to do with the ideas themselves, and more to do with the confines, pressures and expectations that surround them.

But in order for brand marketers to have the confidence to creatively stick their heads above the parapet, they need the full support of their agency, their team and the business.

Better process to remove risk

They also need the right process and tools to underpin that level of support. The focus of this should be on inclusivity, clarity and engagement.

Getting buy-in at all levels ensures that creativity and innovation have parameters and measures that allow them to flourish while remaining within a framework which delivers the results needed for the brand and the business.

Being clear on measures of success may take different forms for different stakeholders, possibly meeting short-term tactical business objectives and longer term brand objectives. Having clarity and measurability on success, allows different stakeholder objectives to be understood, fostering greater levels of support for creativity and innovation within the business.

What really underpins this process of removing risk from creativity and innovation, is collaboration and engagement.

The essential ingredients for success

Creativity and innovation are not just the domain of the creative agencies. Indeed it’s the brand team within the business that are the long-term brand guardians and are an essential ingredient and catalyst in driving campaigns.

The focus of this drive should be the creative brief – which is there to stimulate and engage creative teams – providing ideas, insights, desired results and outcomes, as well as measures of success.

Inclusivity, clarity, engagement and a great creative brief

Bringing inclusivity, clarity and engagement into your creative briefs will ensure you’re getting the most out of your team and agency in terms of creativity and innovation, whilst also maintaining the support of the business at every level.

If you’d like to learn more about how to free your imagination and inject greater creativity into your campaigns, without taking a risk, you can download our free research report, which highlights the 3 most important questions you need to answer in your creative briefs.

You can find our more information and download this research report right here:

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Harness your secret purpose, build your brand and grow your business

You want to grow your brand

That’s not a secret – you’re probably quite open about that…

…but if you want to grow your business and you’re engaged in developing visual communication of some sort please read this short piece – it is our way of passing on some of the most important things we’ve ever learned.

We have three very valuable, practical bits of help to offer whatever you are working on, be it an integrated campaign, or something tactical like an app, website, sales material, exhibition or poster campaign. This practical advice will help you to find your secret purpose (and make you very successful…).

We’ve learned that if you want to win a share of your target audience’s busy headspace it is fatal for your brand to focus on the features, advantages and benefits of whatever service or product you are selling. We’ve also learned that without realising it, you probably ARE focusing on these things. This is because you haven’t found your secret purpose yet.

Brands clearly connected to improving people’s lives outperform all others

‘Grow’ by Jim Stengel, is probably the most respected business book to be published in the last five years. It’s based on data from a ten-year growth study of more than 50,000 brands which shows that brands with a purpose clearly connected to improving people’s lives outperform their markets by a huge margin. The top 50 Grow brands out-performed Standard & Poor’s 500 stocks and shares by 400 per cent.

We know, as you read this, you are nodding in agreement. These days everyone agrees that the best way to win a share of a chosen audience’s mind is to make sure a campaign is explicit in promoting a higher purpose. As Simon Sinek, author of ‘Start with why’ and the man listed within the top three TED talks of all time, makes clear – we are biologically programmed to respond instinctively to why something is being done, not to what is being done.

Simon’s methodology gets us all a little closer to our secret purpose.

Your last campaign

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So, why is it, if you review the last time you developed a campaign, you’ll see that most of the content is focused on the features, advantages and benefits of what it is that you were selling? How did your ‘great purpose’ and the way you were going to make a difference become so… …well secret and invisible?

At Page & Page we believe it is down to the wrong process and strategy being used resulting in an uninspiring brief.

Three steps to a better focus on purpose

(Or find your secret purpose and be very successful)

We’d like to offer you three attainable steps that will ensure a tighter focus on THE purpose: a better process and strategy and a more inspiring brief.

1 The process

 Establish a clear process. At Page & Page we use the one established by the Design Council: Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver. The Discover and Define phases are ruthless disciplinary aspects of this process. They demand within any project that we know ‘why’ we’re doing something.

2 The strategy

Work out how to engage a target audience in a meaningful dialogue. That means communication that reaches the top half of their ‘to do’ list – or at least proves a reasonable distraction from their ‘to do’ list. And it must be two-way communication. In other words, how to get people engaged in a dialogue.

To accomplish this we need to understand how our  target audience like to communicate. We think about the context and aim to be as granular as possible:

  1. What are their current media habits?
  2. What do they believe in?
  3. What is going on in the space they occupy?
  4. What might be the unmet need?

And now for the secret purpose you haven’t found yet but will make you very successful:

Once you understand your target audience a little better, introduce who you are and what you belive in into the equation. That’s the secret ingredient. Be clear about who you are and what you want to achieve. People buy from people because they share values, style and can relate to one another. Brand building is all about leadership, so developing campaigns that help businesses grow is not an academic exercise. When it is instinctive, emotive and authentic it is highly effective.

Warning: don’t do this at home, alone, without expert facilitation (from Page & Page), without collaborating (with other stakeholders) or without then carefully executing step three.

Collaboration and the art of it is really important. It’s where Page & Page can really help – we facilitate lots of workshops, helping clients build consensus with a wide range of stakeholders.

 

3 An inspiring brief

Take the time to write an inspiring brief. In a survey we conducted amongst writers, designers, art directors and other creatives 23% said they expected to see an inspiring creative brief, at best once or twice a year. The other 77% only saw an inspiring brief once in a blue moon.

In other words the people we all depend on to develop a great campaign generally don’t get very excited about our offering. Why would they if all we’re doing is banging on about the features and benefits of yet another competing product or service? And if the professional communicators aren’t excited why would your target audience get excited?

An inspiring brief has a cause at its centre, it has heart and personality, and it is structured around insights, values and beliefs.

(For further help on writing inspiring briefs visit www.forgethebox.co.uk or email me at stephen@pagepluspage.com and we’ll send you a copy of our book on brief writing.

 

 

We wanted to impart three very valuable, practical bits of help that will ensure you grow your brand. We believe the more closely you associate your beliefs and motivations (your secret purpose) with the brand you’re working on the more successful you’ll be.

 For more information and a free session that uncovers your secret purpose give us a call on (0)20 8617 8250.