Idea Audit

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I’ve been ranting for years about companies large and small that don’t have a brand idea. They think they have a brand (logo) and an idea (tagline) but were you to look at the body of marketing work, you would see lots of stuff – no idea.  An ad campaign is not a brand idea. A typeface and style guide are not brand ideas. A web engagement…nope. 

Often the most powerful brand idea a company has is its name.  It may be a “we’re here” idea but it’s an idea.  Bed Bath & Beyond is one such example. The name conveys what they do – so it works.  If you don’t define what your brand means, consumers will. And they are not that good at it; they’re busy.  Without branding context, consumers default to product (taste, utility, reliability), price, and convenience.

A number of years ago, Brendan Ryan president of FCB NY taught me a valuable lesson. Rather than getting up to speed on a client by asking for a full-on brand review with pie charts and competitive matrixes he suggested pinning all the work up on the wall. His goal? “What’s the idea?” If the work didn’t convey an idea, more work needed to be done.  

One Hour Promotion

I’m putting together a promotion to help companies identify their idea.  My plan is to offer up a 1 hour “idea audit” whereby I go into a company conference room and just as Jack Bauer might, sixty minutes later walk out the door with a “yea,” “nay” or “fruit cocktail” (Google whatstheidea+fruit cocktail).

Here’s what I propose: Put me in a room with all current marketing material: brochures, ads, last 3 promotional emails, newsletters, top 10 search terms, press stories, etc.  Let me speak to your human resources person (5 minutes), senior marketing person (10) minutes, and best sales person (5 minutes.)  Then provide me with your URL and sign me in to your Google Analytics page, if you have one. In one hour I will tell you if you have an idea, many ideas or, worst case, no idea. Then I go home. But I’ll leave my business card.

(Before I create this offer and promote it I’d like to hear readers’ thoughts. Please post here or email me at steve@whatstheidea.com) Thanks and peace!

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