Communications Planning

Sorting the ‘creative wheat’ from the ‘artistic chaff’ isn’t easy.

As with any area of business, there’s no substitute for good advice, careful thought and positive action.

But a word of caution – about undue caution.

While erring on the side of safety is admirable in most business activities, there are few things more fatal to a creative project.

To paraphrase the grand old man of advertising, David Ogilvy: you can’t bore people into paying attention; you can only interest them in what you have to say.

While the following guidelines can’t guarantee you effective communications, they should help you avoid the wide, rosy road to mediocrity.

1. Resist the ordinary: It’s strange, but a lot of companies expect to get extraordinary results, yet demand ordinary work. Insist on a solution that is surprising, but somehow seems inevitable. Be prepared to take reasoned risks – because the‘safe’ won’t make you money.

2. Don’t use ‘norms’: In the course of developing your campaign, someone will want you to use ‘norms’. The argument comes in a number of guises, but the basic idea is that in each category there are certain ‘expected’ features or styles you should exhibit. The pressure to conform is strong.

But how can you hope to stand out from the crowd – be seen to be surprising, different, better – if you’re trying to blend in as ‘expected’?

Be true to the nature of your product or business – but develop your own identity. Don’t use ‘norms’; he’s using it already.

3. Be enthused: Expect creative people to defend their work. After all, if they don’t believe it’s right, why should you?

But it’s important that you should be excited and delighted, rather than totally comfortable, with any new work.

The reason that a new brand idea needs someone to protect it – because one of the first laws of any brand programme is that people will try to destroy it.

Not out of malice, but forthe sake of convenience, or economy, or because they think they know better.

Through myriad tiny alterations – like evolution in reverse – your carefully thought out campaign can turn into an undifferentiated morass.

And that’s why we believe senior clients should be unreservedly enthusiastic, not to say ferociously protective, about their campaigns.