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How does your job fit into the advertising process? I am the link between CBA’s clients and its creative teams. I work a lot on product packaging design and brand activation.
What is brand activation? Brand activation involves ensuring that consumers interact positively with the brand at all the different touch points consumers have with the brand: promotions, packaging design, digital, on the street, in the grocery store, at the checkout counter; wherever.
Secondly, brand activation is controlling how the consumer feels about the brand after coming into contact with it.
Can you give an example? Most recently, I was involved in an enormous brand activation campaign for Lipton Ice Tea during the late-spring/early-summer period – Lipton’s peak sales period.
We came up with the “Summer Days” push during that time period which included a special-edition promotional product packaging, beach and college campus tours that directed people to a website that offered an enormous giveaway: special summer-time gift boxes, thousands of sunglasses, and a round trip voyage to Brazil.
For this brand activation campaign, in-store, outdoor, metro, and bus stop advertisements, public relations campaigns, and stickers were posted everywhere pushing people to visit Lipton’s Summer Days website and enter the giveaway.
But brand activation is much, much bigger than simply launching a giveaway and then driving people to your landing page to sign up. Brand activation is about meeting an objective. It’s about actively taking control of the consumer’s image of your brand by creating an experience around it as a way of explaining your brand’s core values, vision and unique selling point as well as showcasing your products.
Brand activation is also more strategic than simply paying for advertising – you should expect to see a greater return on investment during a brand activation campaign than on a traditional advertising campaign because brand activation campaigns are designed to be more strategic and target consumers in different touchpoints. Also, the ROI of a brand activation campaign is more easily measureable than that of a public relations campaign or an advertising campaign (excluding online campaigns where you can monitor conversion rates in real-time).
Moreover, for Lipton’s high peak period we also did a print campaign to inform consumers that Lipton offered new tastes available and support the ‘Summer Days’ brand activation push.
In this case, we combined a below the line brand activation campaign with an above the line advertising campaign that contributed to building great brand awareness.
I also recently worked on a campaign for Smartbox.
as well as Truvia’s Facebook fanpage
What are 2-3 of your favorite advertising/marketing campaigns?
What are some misconceptions clients usually have about the work you do? CBA is a design company. We produce design and it can be easy for them to buy creative content. As an account manager, I’m in constant contact with clients to understand their needs and to provide them with the most effective strategic answer; which is most of the time a creative answer. As a result, clients sometimes don’t have a good value perception of our commercial position for our creative solutions. This means that often times agencies need to justify their solutions.
For example, I was once in the final stages of a print advertising campaign for a food product, and at the last minute the client decided that they didn’t like the photo image of their product. Further, they sent us a low-resolution iphone JPEG photo of an ‘example’ of the type of product shot that they wanted, asking us to substitute their low-res photo into the high-res final campaign.
The problem was that EVERYTHING in the campaign was based on the original photo that they had originally agreed upon and to request such a significant and foundational change so late in the process was going to cost them a fortune in setting up the additional photo shoot.
Like asking a carpenter to modify the parameters of the foundation of a house after he has already begun working on it; those modifications are going to be costly. The only way to avoid this is to know what you want during the brainstorm and planning stages BEFORE you begin investing your time and money in the project.
What are a few website you go to for inspiration?
For advertising and trends:
I want to do your job, any advice? Never forget that advertising is a service industry, and so you must think about client service first and foremost. This is imperative in building and maintaining a strong relationship with your client from the beginning.
I’m a small brand with a budget, any advice? Brand color is important but doesn’t have to be set in stone. Consider McDonalds, for example. For years McDonalds was known as yellow and red. Now they’re rebranding themselves with yellow and green.
Nothing is sacred.
How do you know when you have a winning idea? Everybody can be creative. But the hardest part of being creative is keeping your idea alive and developing it as it makes its way through the creative process of becoming a final advertising campaign. This requires experience; experience and bouncing your ideas off as many experienced creatives as you can get your hands on.
If you tell your idea to an experienced creative or two whom you trust and they wince, then be willing to question your idea and work on it some more.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: In our interview, Rémi Noel, Creative Director notes that you mustn’t think that “your point of view is the only point of view. Your idea is your baby, not everyone else’s baby. Listen to other people and be humble – understand their point of view. Sometimes you have to calm down and understand that it takes time for other people to get as excited about your product as you are.”
Also, in his book Hegarty on Creativity, Sir John Hegarty states that “It can be easy to settle on something that feels right. Something that seems to make sense of all the confusion. You’ll feel relief when you get to this point. You’ll think you’ve cracked it. You’ll feel good. But then you have to take a step back from what feels really good and ask: But is it great?”]
What are the typical components of a creative brief?
- Main information about the brand and product
- A strong insight that is unique to the brand or product – an understood truth about the brand or product that target consumers already have in their mind when they think about the product – the connection between the brand and the target consumer. This is the most important ingredient of your creative brief. The button the advertising campaign will press with the consumer.
- The target consumer demographic
- Type of media
- The budget
- Time constraints
Ads are either predominantly visual or prominently text, how you decide which should take the lead? It really isn’t a choice. The advertising idea you choose dictates which avenue you take.
How do you choose a visual? Above all, everything you decide to put into your advertising must protect the idea. It often happens that good advertising ideas can come with a bad visual which kills the idea. The perfect ad has a great idea, a great visual and great photo.
Bad ideas cannot be saved with a good visual, but sometimes this mistake can be made.
What are a few of your favorite advertising campaigns?
What are some misconceptions brands commonly have about advertising? That the more you show your product, the more people will want your product. Yes, Apple advertisements are known for only showing a photo of their phone, but with the iPhone you really just have to show the screen and it’s an advertisement because the product is so good and unique and all of the ideas are on the product that they don’t have to come up with additional ideas for their advertising. Building your key insight and idea into your product so that the product becomes its own advertising would be your dream goal. But if you cannot do this, then you must put the idea into your advertising.
What are some misconceptions consumers commonly have about advertising? Advertising is made for consumers; therefore I would say that consumers do not have misconceptions. If consumers think an ad is bad, is deceptive, or is doing more harm than good, they are right.
So I would say that consumers don’t have misconceptions, they have opinions based on experiences and prejudgments, and it is up to the brand to either conform to those preconceived opinions or work to change them.
I agree with Eric Auvinet that there can be a great competitive advantage for brands using ‘real’ people in their advertising rather than paying professional models to pose in their advertising for consumers to compare themselves to and to aspire to.
Jealousy is a natural human emotion, but consumers today seem to be getting fed up with being compared to ‘perfection’ and are more receptive to accepting who you are.
I want to do your job, any advice? Advertising is like running in a marathon at a sprinting pace. You truly have to be strong and love advertising. It is getting more and more difficult to find happiness when you work in advertising. Every day you must fight against yourself. Deadlines are becoming shorter and shorter. Demands are becoming more and more. You have to consistently come up with better and better and newer and newer ideas. You also have to advise clients because brands have so many options and directions that they can take that they’re always second guessing their decisions.
I have a small advertising budget, any advice? Know your target consumer demographic as intimately as possible. This is the starting point for everything.