Have you ever been on one of those roller coasters that, when you feel a sense of relief that it’s about to stop, jerks back into action, hurtling you toward another vomit-inducing loop? That’s a lot like the past year for me.
But there is hope: I can hear the operator announcing the ride is coming to an end, I can see my mate-who-hates-roller-coasters waving on the ground, and I’m even looking forward to seeing the photos. As we limp toward summer, consumer comms is most definitely showing signs of promise.
Here are what brands and agencies need to be aware of as the season approaches:
Knowing when to say no
The new business pipeline started to pick up at the end of last year and shows no sign of slowing. The pitch process, however, is as time-consuming as ever, so what’s key is going for the right opportunities. The ones where you can do culture-first work that makes a positive dent on the world – not so much those that ask nine agencies for a fully worked up written response, within a week, for a new ice cream brand for cats.
Listen, pivot, learn, reassess
I promised myself I wouldn’t use “pivot” here – but then, I also promised to stop waving at the end of video calls. ‘Listen, pivot, learn and reassess’ is a winning formula. Research and analytics tools offering evidence-based direction on how best to adapt in real-time will continue to be crucial in driving creative excellence. The pace of brands’ response will become the ultimate competitive advantage.
Beyond the brief
Brands will find money for the right thinking. I’ve rediscovered the joy of showing clients bold, standout creative, rooted in culture, that they never even asked for. That buzz when they say they love it, that thrill when they announce they’ve found the budget, that orgasmic moment when you get to execute it. Going beyond the brief is highly recommended – for business growth, but also as a reminder of why you got into this industry.
Fishing where the fishes are
Demand will continue for omnichannel comms strategies that engage consumers with speed, efficiency and relevancy across a mix of marketing channels and media – some of which may have previously gone unexplored by traditional PR agencies. A wise person once told me to ‘fish where the fishes are’. Brands need to be highly visible in the spaces where consumers spend time.
Measurement at the forefront
What used to be an afterthought in a pitch doc has become an integral part of briefs. Brands must be accountable for the money spent on comms. Upping the sophistication of metrics and how they’re presented – less crap, more clarity – is critical to success.
Sophie Raine is managing director of consumer brands at Ketchum London