Adam, our other G/L principal, and I spent part of last week at BOLO in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona. And it was an inspiring, fun, sunny and exhausting couple of days. BOLO is a digital marketing conference that has become a forum to share and challenge new ideas, think about things differently and inspire us to do even better work. Here are the top five things we learned and look forward to start implementing for our clients and their customers.
Every brand has a story to tell
Brands need stories and purpose. They need to have a reason for being, not a reason for selling. Those stories need to be authentic and involve the audience. The brand story we create must matter to the audience to create a connection with the brand. It has to live in emotional, physical and virtual spaces.
It’s not about you
We need to stop creating for the sake of creating. We need to think about how the brand impacts the consumer in a real, tangible way. We need to stop generalizing our audience segments. A target audience description of women 35-50 includes a broad range of lifestyle characteristics. We can’t possibly pretend to understand how segments of that audience interacts and connects with our brand. Let’s do some research so we can understand those segments instead of making assumptions.
With this information in hand, we understand why the audience cares about the brand, and we can create solutions that inspire and help.
Be radical, be hackers
We are at a point of change. People care less about brands. Clients care less about their agency. Agency talent cares less about the job they do. If we can make a fundamental shift to create outcomes instead of output, then we create value for consumers. And there will be a fundamental shift in how people feel about brands, how clients feel about agencies and how talent feels about their role.
In order to do that, we need to act like hackers. We need to break big problems and put them back together to get a different result. The answer might not be a print ad or digital ad but a platform or an app that makes a difference in that consumer’s day-to-day life. People don’t want to be sold. They want to be helped.
Be the hunted, not the hunter
Stop chasing. A large majority of people are halfway through the buying decision process before they contact you. So use the power of “propinquity” (our new favorite word that’s fun to say!), and make your content available to people you are trying to reach – on their terms.
Think like a startup
Startups breed innovation. They are lean, they are disruptive and they are visionary. What an awesome place for agencies to live and for clients to develop products/services. When we think like a startup, we release our true creative potential. We ask why until all of the questions are answered, we look at the possibilities instead of the challenges, we shun the status quo, and we let go of fear.
Challenging ourselves as individuals, as well as the way we approach our agency and brands, allows for an evolved way of thinking and working. And this evolution of thought encourages growth and, ultimately, success.