Brand Marketing Consultant for Havas Worldwide, Pauline Gandaubert has +4 years experience researching and creating branding and communication strategies as well as ensuring the entire advertising campaign runs smoothly and on time.
How does your job fit into the advertising process? I specialized in customer relationship management (CRM). From there I moved into more general advertising. Today, I create our client’s branding and communication strategies.
I take the client brief and then research it to determine our client’s:
- Past branding strategy,
- Current goals and objectives, and then
- How to fit their current brand image into their future branding strategy.
I research everything to discern our client’s industry environment. I also research our client’s competitors and complimentary brands to see how they’re branding and communicating their image and product.
Then I forward the branding strategy to the relevant creative department so they can begin preparing ideas for our pitch.
Once our creative team has created the advertising campaign, I’m there when the idea is pitched to our client.
Once the pitch as been accepted by the client, I work with account managers, strategic planners, and creative directors to oversee all aspects of the implementation process to ensure everything runs smoothly and on time.
An advertising campaign’s creative process basically goes like this:
- client brief to determine needs
- branding consultant or strategic planner prepares branding strategy
- creative team implements branding strategy and comes up with ideas
- client pitch
- idea implementation to create the advertising campaign
- campaign analytics to monitor campaign’s success
What’s an advertising campaign you’ve worked on? I conducted the branding strategy that lead to EDF’s advertising campaign:
Many landing page campaigns tend to be ephemeral: meaning they only last for a short duration and then are taken down.
How much time does it take to create a branding strategy? Actual research time varies according to your branding needs and timetable.
If your branding strategy is already clearly defined and your advertising objective is for a small print article, then research time may take a few days reading all relevant articles on the subject to find one or two unique ways to communicate about your subject.
If your branding strategy hasn’t yet been defined, then your research must include a market analysis and consumer profiles in your particular market segments.
With a clearly defined branding strategy and budget, you know which direction you should take to get your message across, be it a:
- 20 minute documentary
- newspaper article
Brands without an in-depth branding strategy require a lot of work to familiarize themselves with their industry, branding environment, and their consumer.
Brands with an in-depth branding strategy require constant monitoring of their environment to stay up-to-date with their industry.
In a perfect world, researching and creating your branding strategy from scratch can take up to 2 weeks.
Where do you find marketing studies? Many times clients have their own studies, gathered through online questionnaires and databases of information about their customers, which I use as a starting point. From there, I consult IPSOS and Kantar Media, CBNews, Fubiz.net, and Ad Scope to browse a database of all of ad agency’s advertising campaigns.
What happens if the creative department disagrees with the branding strategy? My job is to handle the research aspect of the idea creation and offer proposals so the creative team(s) know which directions are available to them. But ultimately the creative director goes with his gut feeling. If his gut feeling differs from the research, or if the creative team finds a better way to solve the branding strategy, then that’s great. From the advertising agency’s perspective, the objective is to solve the client’s problem.
What’s the difference between B2B, B2C, corporate, and international strategy? Just as your priorities are different in your work life as in your private life, consumers in the B2C industry tend to be less loyal than consumers in the B2B industry. B2B tend to be more interested in and responsive to facts and figures, return-on-investment, and are more rational than B2C. B2C tends to be more responsive to humor, emotion, and seduction; B2C companies focus on finding new ways to make their existing consumers more loyal.
Corporate strategy is more about the brand philosophy and image of the group and the perception they want the overall brand to have today, tomorrow, in five years… Corporate strategy would talk about innovation or social responsibility; Issues higher than their business.
International strategy tends to be about communicating on a particular subject to develop your brand as an expert in that subject. Being in the right place in the right time in an international context.
B2C and corporate tend to be more interesting to work on than B2B because they’re involved in the brand’s history and character storytelling and inspiration. It’s more funny and creative and irrational. B2C advertising has much more flexibility than B2B.
Your brand may incorporate all four branding strategies, and the branding strategy you focus on, of course, determines which kind of media you advertise and communicate on. For example, journalists for business magazines will be more interested in corporate and B2B news. Bloggers and social websites would be more interested in the B2C advertisements.
What is a misconception people commonly have? Preparing a high-quality, comprehensive, and targeted branding strategy is extremely important because it leads to a high-quality branding and advertising campaign. Creating high-quality and in-depth branding strategies take time; Often more time than people are willing to wait. However an insufficient or incorrect branding strategy leads to costly and time consuming errors later in the advertising process.
Of course there are a thousand things beyond your control that can cause an advertising campaign to not meet it’s objectives: bad timing, unanticipated events, etc. But much of the time if your advertising or branding campaign doesn’t meet your objective, the blame falls on an incomplete branding strategy research.
What’s an important lesson you’ve learned? Document everything. Always maintain a written record of events, conversations, meeting objectives, agreements and obligations, etc. This ensures there isn’t any confusion. For example a client might approve a budget expense over the phone, but then three weeks later forget the conversation occurred or misunderstand the expense and contest the additional spending. More serious repercussions of not taking the time to maintain a written record of conversations could lead to copyright infringement or legal action.
What’s one of your favorite advertising campaigns? A recent one would be the awareness campaign against illiteracy created by the DDB agency:
[EDITOR’S NOTE: The ads below translated from French: “Over 3 million French people are convinced that this ad is for… a bikini… mascara… a laptop computer… Help us make illiteracy a national cause in 2013.”]
I have a small advertising budget, any advice? In no particular order:
- Don’t spend a single dime until you’ve exhausted your branding strategy and industry analysis identifying the right target demographic, the right media, and the most clever way to reach your target audience.
- TV remains one of the most powerful advertising forces, however this is dwindling among the younger generations. On a budget, the internet is your best bet.
- If you have a blog, integrate yourself into already established communities of blogs that share similar interests.
- Inspiration can come from anywhere, so don’t try to draw your inspiration exclusively from the advertising world.
- On the internet, you can easily spend your day going from one website to another website to another website without end. So the more relevant you make your website and content align with the reader’s interests and lifestyle, the more often that person will return to your website as a starting point. Organize your website and offer content to become your target demographic’s favorite starting point.
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