Freehand is defined thusly:
1. drawn or executed by hand without guiding instruments, measurements, or other aids: a freehand map.
2. in a freehand manner: to draw freehand.
When CMOs, senior marketers and their agencies say “consumers own brands,” it makes for good copy but bad management. Consumers buy products, weighing in with their pocketbooks as to taste, preference and price requirements, but they do not own the brands. Ad, direct and digital agencies have known this for years. It is what creates the conflict between client and agency. Clients want the work they want and agencies want the work they want. Clients own the brands.
Freehand messaging is what happens when you turn your brand over to consumers to manage. The conversation, then, can take any course it wants. Good, bad, indifferent. If I am working my ass off managing a craft cookie brand, around attributes of “naturally moist,” “healthier ingredients” and “complex flavors” — on a shoestring budget — I want to make sure people are talking about those things…the things that sell my cookies. Not cookie ephemera. When the consumer discussion is not guided by brand managers and agencies, the discussion is freehand. And marketers are not doing their job. Every dollar spent by a marketer needs to result in a deposit in the brand bank. Withdrawals are the Antichrist. Stop the freehand by managing it! Peace.
December 10, 2018 in Marketing
The brandstrategy framework used at What’s The Idea? is not an impenetrable membrane. That is to say, it is not a wall that keeps out creative ideas and marketing executions. Sure, there may be some brand policing by brand manager, but brand strategy is not meant to create “the land of no.” Think of brand […]
December 6, 2018 in Marketing
The first step in brand strategy is getting the product Is-Does right. They ability to articulate what a product Is and what the product Does sounds easy, but it’s not. I developed this simple concept while working at a tech startup where the product was a software as a service (SaaS) called Zude. Because the […]
November 19, 2018 in Marketing
As a kid who grew up in the ad business, I’ve seen a lot of ad craft. Today, as a brand planner it’s hard for me to look at advertising without a jaundiced eye. When I see ink and words and picture, but not strategy, I cringe. Worse when I see an ad with 7 […]
November 16, 2018 in Marketing
A brand strategy brief, at its very best, is a story. A story with beginning, middle and end. Like good entertainment it contains a problem, solution(s), tension and resolution. Most importantly, it needs to appeal to the reader/viewer (aka the consumer) in order to take hold. I write brand briefs for a living. In each […]
November 14, 2018 in Marketing
A number of years ago, I came up with a comms planning notion called Twitchpoint Planning, the basis of which was that people use multiple devices when researching and gathering information; information that will ultimately result in a sale. Some called this customer journey exercise. I honed it toward more of a digital exercise. A […]
November 13, 2018 in Marketing
I wanted to flame a senior care organization my mom spent time in and was looking for a Yelp or Google kind of comments page in the senior care space. I found something called Senior Advisor, who baited me with a couple of comments then, in order to get to the 4th review, requested my […]
November 9, 2018 in Marketing
In my career as a planner, I have trotted out two different Steve’s when interviewing people in discovery. The first is the “I’m a quick study” Steve. This Steve wants interviewees to know he’s savvy in the business, the market and the category. I wouldn’t call him cocksure, but an air of self-assuredness is the […]