An on-going blog to create debate and perhaps raise some awkward questions on the seven subjects discussed in Jon Steel’s video.
Topic 4. Making Brand Connections.
Making connections between a brand’s promise and both broader cultural truths and the audience’s deep human needs, motivations, instincts and values is the bedrock of the account planning craft.
But aren’t there some categories, like small B2B brands, where connecting your brand promise to search engines is just as important as connecting it to broader cultural and deeper human truths – perhaps even more important in some cases?
Put another way, what Jon says seems to be absolutely true for B2C brands, but does there need to be a re-balancing of emphasis for building B2B brands?
For small B2B brands to grow they typically need to find new customers (as well as retain them), and one of the fastest ways to find new customers these days is connecting through search engines. By comparison, connecting your brand promise to broader cultural and deeper human truths seems less compelling initially. Let me be clear: I’m not saying these things are unimportant – far from it; I just think we should not downplay the importance of “Google planning” in the way Jon appears to do, particularly as far as small B2B brands are concerned.
Jon also talked about taking a bus ride and interacting with the real world as a way of helping make connections. I totally love that idea, but in today’s economic climate with ad industry margins and salaries under pressure, and a lot of talented ad folks pounding the streets looking for work, and the common complaint I hear so often of “having to work harder for less”, is the bus ride idea more an ideal fantasy than reality for most of us?
I still subscribe to the notion that it’s not about the hours you work, it’s what you deliver that’s important. And I recall the days when there was enough downtime to sit back and consider broader, longer-term issues that often got lost in the frenzy of meeting imminent deadlines. But these days, downtime seems to be more devoted to catching up with emails to avoid falling behind. So If I need to get myself immersed in the macro cultural trends impacting a particular market category, I think I’d rather spend an hour with Iconoculture than take a bus ride.
Years ago I was taught there were only two rules in advertising: 1. Always meet your deadlines. 2. Always spell the client’s name correctly. (And isn’t funny how we often we screw up on rule 2?) The point is, we work in an increasingly on-demand, deadline-driven industry. To paraphrase Dr. Samuel Johnson, “Nothing concentrates the mind like a hanging.”