There are a few things we believe in and focus on. We didn’t make this stuff up; we stole it from people much smarter than us. The best part is much of it is easily available. Books like The Long and The Short of It, How Brands Grow, and Lemon. Presentations, articles, and classes from people like Mark Ritson and Rory Sutherland, as well as our own accumulated knowledge and experience, inform what we do and how we do it. This is what we focus on.

First, a caveat:
There are no wizards, and there is no magic wand. Gary V, anyone saying they’re a “ninja” or “guru” is full of shit. Smart, consistent advertising and marketing that follows a good strategy works.

  • Attention: No advertising or marketing is worth a shit if it doesn’t get attention. It needs to get attention AND be appropriate for the brand and positioning.

  • Distinctiveness: Creating, and consistently using, brand codes. First, they must know it’s you. The use of established colors, fonts, and any other brand codes helps create an easy shorthand for consumers. Be consistent.
  • Costly signaling: Using media, production quality, language, fonts, and design to create brand alignment and legitimacy. Costly signaling works because it is hard to fake and is a public display. This isn’t an advertising concept—it’s an evolutionary biology concept used in advertising.
  • Multi-channel media: Increasing the number of media channels in a campaign increases its effectiveness. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
  • Integrated campaigns: When running ads across media channels, all of those ads need to work together. “Testing” isn’t an excuse to not think. Identify strategic priorities, focus the messaging, and make everything work together to achieve the goals.
  • Making production fit the budget: Don’t overspend on production. Make sure your goals are achievable and that your production costs fit both what you can afford and what you want to achieve.
  • Long campaigns work better: Consumers aren’t paying very much attention to anyone’s brand. Long-running campaigns do a better job of creating saliency and identifiable brands because they have more time to cut through, creating familiarity and consideration. When creating a campaign, identify if it has “legs” and can run for years or whether it will flame out shortly.
  • Creativity works… if it serves a strategic goal: A more creative, novel, or interesting way of presenting an idea will generally work better because it’s more likely to get attention. But it has to serve a strategic goal.
  • Positioning matters: Fastest, best, cheapest, exclusive, reliable…etc. What is your position in the market? What is an attribute to hang your hat on? Conversely, what is a competitor’s attribute that you can position against? No matter what you choose, be sure that it’s no more than 1-3 attributes.
  • Marketing or Advertising: Advertising can’t solve product, distribution, or pricing problems. Advertising is promotion/communication. Make sure the marketing side has its strategic priorities in order before reaching for communications tactics.
  • Long and short: The short-term lifeblood of any business is sales. The long-term health of most companies depends on the strength of their brand. Both are important. Try to ensure that any plans include concepts to increase the strength of both. Work toward a 60/40 split depending on the industry/market.

This is the short version of our philosophical and intellectual underpinnings. If you’d like to follow up on any of these or have an in-depth conversation on the connection between peacock feathers, diamond engagement rings, and Super Bowl ads, give us a call.