Tag Archives: good work

Brutal Truth: Doing Good Work is Easy

Doing good work in advertising is easy.
You just have to make sure that you have the following things in the order:

1. Good product & Brand
Sometimes it is obvious that you are working with superior product (Apple comes to mind). Other times you have to really dig for the relevant difference, but it is there if you are willing to do the work (something like Orabrush). The sad truth is that sometimes you are dealing with mediocre or even lackluster product. Then you have three choices:
– Decline the work and suffer financially.
– Do mediocre work and hope that adequate media push will ensure enough tick in sales to keep you afloat.
– Do great advertising for it. That is the fastest way to kill inferior product.
Advertising does not create new needs for people. It just amplifies existing ones. If there is no need (existing or latent) for the product, you are pretty much screwed.

2. Good team
You need sound strategic and creative thinking and also the ability to sell that thinking. Sometimes you might have all those capabilities in one person, sometimes even 10-member global team is not enough. When having more than one person in that team, the best results come with right mixture of competition and collaboration. Great team is full of different strong-minded individuals who strive together towards same goal, but not necessarily without fight.

3. Good client
Idea is worthless until it is bought. That is why it is crucial to work with demanding and bright clients who do not settle for the mediocre solutions. Good client knows how to brief and to buy creative product and also treats you like a human being.

When you have these things in order, you only have to come up with one simple thing:

Brutal Truth
Some praise the insight, some an idea. I combine them together and call it brutal truth. That truth will separate and distinguish you from your competitors. It connects you with your customers. It will provide the springboard for creative leap.
Many times the separation between insight and creative idea is artificial. If you unearth surprising and unique insight, you might actually have your whole marketing communications in that single insight. If the insight is obvious or well-known, then the need for creative leap is much stronger. It is delicate balance between obvious and obscure.
It is brutal truth because it is not always pretty but always effective. It might be quick and dirty solution. It might require changing your whole marketing plan. You might need to break some taboos. You might need to go against the grain, or do totally same thing as others. Brutal truth might not be easy, but it is equally demanding for all.

Every time I have been a member of a good team working for good client around good product, we have been able to come up with brutal truth. When the marketing has been based on that brutal truth, the end result has always been great work.

It is that easy.

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What is Good Work?

One of the most common terms (besides ideas) in agencies, which is thrown around is “good work”. Probably everyone has different meaning for it, but I have always believed that good work is just two things.

It is effective and entertaining:

1. Effective
Good work has to provide above-the-average business results for the client. Average is not enough, because average results you can achieve with crappy work pumped up with strong media push. Also to go above the average means that the strategy work is not just stating the obvious. To be truly effective, the strategy must provide either great answer to current business problem or find lucrative business opportunity. Great strategy is all about finding the relevant difference.
Advertising is not art, so if the work cannot be measured with commercial criteria it cannot be truly good either.

2. Entertaining
Although advertising is not art, it is not door-to-door-selling either. Spamming your whole client list might be effective done once, but would ruin your hard-earned reputation at the same time. In marketing communications you are maximixing the effectiveness on the long run, not getting quick wins which are cheap.
Entertaining does not mean cheap laughs either. Zero Dark Thirty is entertaining movie, although it is not funny. Great advertising finds the right emotion to suit commercial purposes. Majority of our intentional consumption decisions are done emotionally (rational car buyers?) so if you do not spark any emotion you do not have the chance to be truly effective either.
Entertaining people is harder than ever. Our marketing communications competes head-to-head with the best content in the world. So when you are doing your next brand mobile application, ask yourself is this really on the same level as other good (not marketing) applications? If not, it does not probably take off.

In advertising, we tend to define the work too often with its novelty aspect. We are obsessed of doing something, which has not been done before anywhere. Sometimes it is for good reason. No one has not build the world biggest toilet paper mummy for any toilet paper brand (at least I hope so), but that is for good reason. That is completely stupid idea. In the search of novelty, we tend too often to shift doing gimmicks. More often than creating something completely new, good work is about looking the old things from new perspective.

Good work requires strong strategy with huge creative leap. On the long run, the selection is not either effective or entertaining. If you want to be ahead of your competition, you have to be both.

Also I have only talked about good work. The great work is totally different beast. Great work changes the whole world.

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