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October 15, 2020

Goodbye Brief. Hello, Inspiration.

There's been a lot of focus on changing the creative brief. We got rid of it and opened a whole new door to creativity.

As we know it, the creative brief hasn't evolved since the heyday of the Mad Men era of the '60s. Social media was 35 years away, Mark Zukerberg wasn't even born, and phones had rotary dials. Today, everything has changed, but the brief. Many agencies have tried to make them shorter, which usually leads to the same amount of information only under fewer headers. Others have changed the design without changing the content. 

The problem isn't the brief, but rather how we use it. During a briefing, the brief is, more often than not, read to the creative teams (who know how to read). There's little room for discussion at the end of story-time by a planner or an account lead, and the creative teams are left uninspired. The creative brief is a confined document, yet creativity for problem-solving knows no boundaries. As Dave Trott says, "the brief was always supposed to be a springboard for great work, not a straitjacket." The creative brief is a reliance on a written document versus a focus on the creative process.

Additionally, the typical approach to a creative brief is wasteful and redundant to our clients' hard work put into writing their agency brief. Planners and account teams rewrite client briefs with a focus on making them shorter, eliminating much-needed context. It's a process that not only squanders time and money, but it doesn't bring clarity or added value beyond the original client brief. 

The brief doesn't need reinvention. It needs to be thrown out. And a better, more efficient, and inspiring process can take its place. At Full Punch, our view is that a brief doesn't belong in the briefing. We've eliminated the word "brief" from our agency vocabulary. Instead, we are continually living and experiencing our client's brands. Everyone at the agency knows what they stand for, has a thorough understanding of the competition, and what new products and services are in the pipeline. With that knowledge as a baseline, the briefing has become a collaborative working session where we generate ideas, challenge the status quo, and begin the creative process, rather than a meeting to discuss what's in the brief. This fresh approach kicks off the creative process faster and leads to higher quality and increased quantity of ideas that align with our goals and objectives.

Published by Jack Dayan
As Partner and Head of Strategy at Full Punch, Jack brings intelligence, expertise, and ingenuity to help companies define their brand values and make them shine. His strategic and creative work has been recognized and awarded around the world, and clients find his collaborative and agile approach to brand planning a welcome break from the traditional.

Looking to add some punch to your brand? Send us a note. What’s the best that can happen?

July 24, 2020

Don’t Get Robbed of a Good Reputation.

Brand reputation impacts everything from pricing to attraction and retention of talent, to competitive advantage and intent to purchase. It’s time to protect it.

Before quarantine, I went to the bank to sign some paperwork. The bank was closed due to an “incident.” While waiting outside for the bank to reopen, a man approached the door and demanded that the employee on the other side let him in, saying he was a private banker and didn’t care about the incident. He escalated into a swearing tirade against the employee who was merely following protocol.

Brand reputation is at the constant mercy of events often outside of a company’s control. As customers, we expect companies to act with empathy, but we rarely have it in return. A bank robbery should not rob a bank of its reputation, but in today’s social media reality, it doesn’t take much to wreak havoc.

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June 18, 2020

It’s Time to Outperform Performance Marketing.

In our industry, we tend to measure what's easy. But just because something can be measured more easily, doesn't mean it performs.

The past two decades have been a golden age for advertising technology. This time has given rise to mainstream digital advertising, programmatic, trading desks, data, performance marketing, metrics, analytics and a myriad of other tools designed to drive effectiveness. But during this period of technological innovation, these sugar-coated, short-term activations have narrowed our focus, causing advertising effectiveness, creativity, and long-term brand building to fall desperately short.  

For too long, there's been too much focus on building better hunting traps when nobody wants to feel hunted. Pop-unders, spam, interruption, click-bait, fake news, data abuse, media fraud, and so many more tactics have led to the glut of advertising that goes mostly unnoticed, which is leading to ineffectiveness, waste, and brand erosion. 

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April 19, 2020

Same Same, But Same.

Has the Pandemic washed our hands of creativity? 

During a time when brands have an opportunity to stand apart, it appears our lack of creativity as an industry has brought them closer together. 

Across the globe, we have seen the big brands and big agencies produce a swath of COVID-19 response advertising. While I commend those involved in reacting so quickly, our short-termism and narrowness of focus have washed so many brands of creativity and distinctiveness during COVID-19. 

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February 12, 2020

Is it Time to Rebrand?

There's no such thing as a static market. Consumers are constantly evolving, technology is forever changing, culture is continuously growing, and product enhancements are never-ending. To keep up with these shifting sands, brands need to rebrand to maintain their relevance and performance occasionally.    

A good brand communicates what your company does. A great brand communicates how and more importantly, why your company does what it does. A great brand builds credibility and motivates your customers. And like you, a great brand evolves, consistently and methodically over time, to persevere and retain relevance. The goal, of course, is to strive to be a great brand, one that can stand the test of time, but also be strong enough to lead the evolution of those around them. 

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