Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Applying brand building to Agency Brands

I read this article (see link) on how important it is to actually tell people what you're good at in order to enhance your career. I posted this on Adtherapy's Facebook page:
"there are two poles in the ad industry - those who engage in massive self congratulation and actually believe their own PR, and those that hide their enormous talent under a bushel. Why are Ad Agencies so bad at positioning their own brand? Watch the Washington Post experiment here and start telling people what you're good at :)".

The article reveals on experiment done by the Washington Post, where a world renowned violinist played on a million dollar violin outside a subway station in Washington. No-one really noticed.

On to something that puzzles me: the lack of ability of ad/communication agencies to brand themselves. They all know what a brand is, and how to bring it to life for their clients. Why choose these ridiculous names, for starters? Twelve founders surnames linked together, some of them dead?

But more than that - I posed this question to some of the top marketers in SA, and to Tony Koenderman of FinWeek:
"if I asked you to give me one positioning sentence for each of the well known agencies, could you do it? You know, like 'Levy's = jeans'; 'Virgin is the Champion of the Underdog'; 'Allan Grey is patience'?".

They (and I) could clearly position about 5 agencies. And we know the industry WELL.

AdCracker says positioning is "that one thing; that one descriptive sentence or slogan or image the brand is known for". It is of course your brand's "unique value proposition" in strat-lingo.

Agencies know this. They do it all day for their clients. But only 5 with a clearly defined brand?

So, if a marketer is in the market and wants to appoint a new agency, how do they know who to talk to? Do they have to rely on a pitch consultant? Do we need someone to help us buy other brands?

Agencies need to brief this job in and take it seriously. I know that the hardest job always is the "in-house ad", because the brief is often vague, because the thinking hasn't been done. The Agencies who have defined their "raison d'etre" (including their personality, their unique (hate that word but it's there on purpose, because there's so litte uniqueness in Agency branding) value proposition, how they differ from the next best agency) benefit from it in more ways than one.

Apart from getting noticed, the most important benefit is that they get like-minded clients, so the relationship has a good chance of being a successful partnerhsip. How can a Client choose a like-minded, culturally suited Agency if the Agency hasn't figured out what they stand for yet?

No comments:

Post a Comment