Brand campaign brief template improvement

Rob Lane my colleague recently wrote a first draft of a new proposal for a client brand and I was delighted that he chose to insert a new section header,

“Your responsibilities”.

Imagine an agency telling a prospective client – not one we’re working with already – that they had to actively participate in delivering to make the marketing programme effective?

I love it.

Now I’m recommending we put this into all new client proposals. It’s authentic and transparent and gives the brand clear boundaries and guidelines that will help us give them exactly what they hired us to do.

What do you do in order to improve your client briefing and agreements?

Read our archive 

What does a modern creative brief look like?

Call our Rescue service for advice on crafting your perfect brief

Shout! Interview with Corey Eastman of Teehan + Lax

Corey Eastman is the new business director at top user experiencer agency, Teehan + Lax.  He approached us saying “your blog is on my daily RSS feed along with other agency sales blogs.  I try to stay up to date.”  And we were so flattered, we asked if he’d like to be interviewed.

Corey Eastman, Biz Dev Director

Creative – what does it mean to you?

The Agency of the Future to me is all about balancing the client agency relationship.  In the past it’s favored the client and the agency has been reactive.  Blair Enns I’ve met a few times and I’m very influenced by his philosophy.  I look back to what he talks about – agencies being specialized and focused using conversations rather than presentations and being selective about who you work with.

I found the Teehan+Lax philosophy on the company page of their site.

John Lax and Jeff Teehan are two super smart guys.  When we started out, we chose not to rely on the legacy of working models passed down from old agency world as the basis for our new company. Instead, we challenged the conventional formula and created a new approach and process. Even as we’ve grown in size and scale, we still are committed to:

  1. partners on every piece of business, from the first pitch through to the final deliverables;
  2. small, agile teams to make the most effective use of your budget;
  3. direct access to the people actually doing the work, so no more “broken telephone” or account managers promising things that can’t be delivered.

How did you get into new business development?

My background is competitive athletics – I played professional hockey which almost made competitive sales a natural transition for me.  I’m very driven and I have a strong passion for success.

What training would you recommend for anyone wanting a career in biz dev?

I think it’s all about communication and sharing stories and ideas.  Reading, writing, speaking, listening and body language / personality.  I did toastmasters and they are very good at honing speaking skills; get formal sales training and invest in a company that will invest in you – I did the IBM program; take ownership and read blogs; read books (Spin Selling is my favourite).

What has changed in new business techniques in the past few years?

Marketing and sales are converging – the reason I think is the internet.  It’s put the consumer in control.  The buy/sell process – which has become more digital.  We are moving from conducting business offline towards being mainly online.  John Lax always says “we have to create more value than you capture” quote from Tim O’Reilly.  Read more

Shout! The Marketing Agency Blueprint: Paul Roetzer interview

Paul Roetzer is a striking, energetic man.  We met after I’d read his first book, the Marketing Agency Blueprint which explains how he has founded a PR agency in a 21st century mould.

You worked in a traditional agency – how did they view biz dev?

They didn’t really have it – they were reliant on the traditional networks of the founders. The growth was dependent on that and referrals. Some limited efforts to do DM pieces and promotions.

Is that normal?

Yes I think in a lot of cases – agencies are built that way. We did research in 2010 into PR agencies only a small % were blogging. They were trying to provide social media services but weren’t doing it wll for themselves.

Agencies tend to come last and that’s why they haven’t done good biz dev work. Take care of your own needs after everything else. I find that messaging and websites are often outdated and they rely on reputation and networks and RFPs for new business.

In the book you liken your business plan to a football field – Why?

I tend to see everything in a sports metaphor. Whether we are bringing in entry level talent (the draft) versus free agency. When I was trying to figure out how to explain to clients how the [online] market was evolving and how these strategies were integrated and they rely on each other, I tried a Venn diagram and in my mind I started thinking about watching

Drive Charts – showing progression down the field 10-20 yard line. This was an analogy – we have to do each of the phases systematically to eventually get to the end zone or the goal. I also wanted to represent different things at once – audiences (stadium) the brand (a place).  See Paul’s diagram here.

Inbound Marketing Gameplan

How do you manage the agency website internally?

One of the senior consultants is also the agency’s marketing manager and is also the blog editor. In most cases her role is to keep the editorial calendar up to date and the team of the writers – we try to do 1-2 per week.  We also have a premium content strategy – the book started as a 2010 e book; we did “The marketers guide to web design”. We also have plans to do premium content which isn’t paid for but is just high quality. Gated content = lead form to access.

How does she report and on what?

Same as clients – traffic, organic, lead generation, blog subscriber base, social media and how engaged – followers and likes we have.  We do a monthly scorecard – pull the data out of GA and Hubspot and create a spreadsheet thta shows core numbers, assess it and 3 takeaweays – highlights, learning snad what we’ll do next month.

Tomorrow, read Part 2 of the interview with Paul.

In the meantime, why not buy the book [affiliate link] it’s in hardback or Kindle editions.

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How to Launch a skincare brand on a small budget

The local business incubator here in Auckland is called The Icehouse.  It’s an impressive place buzzing with activity.

Creative Agency Secrets was asked to prove its salt by giving some free consulting to a new organisation, DirtyMan.co.nz Perversely, it is all about keeping men clean!

Avoiding costly product launches

The team is a start-up and was looking to gain profile without too much hard cost.  Our suggestions included:

  • Painting up an old caravan to take to events
  • Asking supermarkets about promotions based not in-store ($$$) but in the car park
  • Setting up google alerts for three phrases aligned to the 3 personae of their ‘ideal customer’ profiles
  • Set up a press or media page on the website to host high resolution pack images, past coverage and background information
  • Print A5 leaflets on light card single sided and then use the back for several different purposes: a Postcard; letterbox maildrops; product information – just overprint in black when you need them

Prioritising your time and money

We time showing DirtyMan how to prioritise their decisions with regard to which promotions to spend money on and how to pick the ones that would give the best return.  They were considering a radio show sponsorship, leaflet drops to households and joint promotions with other non-competing brands.

For a startup, we think the best promotions are those that

  1. Bring a customer face to face with the brand
  2. Drive awareness to a new audience based on someone else’s data list

We recommended assessing any joint promotion based on the size and quality of the database of the other company.  And so a sports team sponsorship that has a supporting newsletter (especially an electronic one) and a Facebook fan group is probably worth more than a radio show with no mailing list.

What were the outcomes?

Here’s what Tracey Orange, the owner had to say after the briefing with Creative Agency Secrets:

Yes I did find my meeting with Rebecca useful, we have been busy talking to lots of people over the last week or so and I guess I am taking bits from everyone I speak to, and then formulating our plan from here.

After meeting Rebecca we are going to use some of her suggestions, one was to get out and meet our customers face to face and we now are looking for a cheap promo vehicle brand up and use for onsite promos and events, (if you know of any old land rovers for sale please let Mike know), she also gave me some good things to be talking to organisations we want to align with and not to be just giving stuff away but to leverage product for contacts database names and she also suggested getting hooked up with a clothing brand or similar and then the next day we spoke to someone who is going to see about hooking us up with a menswear clothing brand so fingers crossed.

Would you like access to our ideas?  Think about how to apply these to your own brand.

Get in touch and ask for a FREE 20 minute chat on the phone or Skype.

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5 Questions to ask a creative agency at your pitch

Interviewing the brand and being interviewed as the agency are core skills for pitching.

Getting to “the close” for new business and a signature on the contract requires a clear purchase decision from a brand decision maker.  If you are pitching to a brand – prepare for these questions that they should be asking you.

When you get invited to pitch there are 2 reasons you are in the room

  1. Your track record indicates you should be good enough to do the job
  2. Your future WILL deliver an excellent job
The questions are designed to reassure the brand marketing team that you will be in their future – collaborating, partnering.

Chief Marketing Officer pitch questions to agency

So how can you tell what the future of this agency will be?  the same old, same old competent delivery of past campaigns or new and exciting incremental creativity that will accelerate your brand in front of consumers?

First question: Vision

What do you, the agency, think is the future of marketing/advertising?

You want to know whether they are aware of new technologies, brands moving to new social platforms and integrating mobile solutions into their campaigns.

Second question: New Hires

Tell us about the new team members who have joined this past year.

What are the characteristics of these people and why did they join the team?  Are they crazy future-ologists, or competent deliverers.  Will they bring new expertise to the team (see answer to question 1 above) and can you see your brand leveraging their knowledge to advantage?

Third question: Team Structure

What is your creative team structure and composition?

Listen hard to how many ‘traditional’ job titles are described.  Find out about the digital specialists – are they in a separate group who get brought in to assist or are they part of the core delivery group.  What about outsourcing production and expert tool creation – how honest is the agency about areas in which they are not expert and are buying in talent.

Fourth question: Modern Marketing Communications

Tell us about recent campaigns that were not advertising-led

How many message delivery tools have they used that were not print or TV advertising, direct mail/email or public relations.  Look for innovation and incorporation of ‘gamification’, apps, integration with social media (leading edge at the time of writing is Pinterest, G+), brand collaborations and joint ventures.

Fifth question: The Delivery Team

Who will be working on our account and why?

The individual attributes of the core account team matter.  This will help you get round the agency that pitches with one team and delivers with another.  Why does the agency pick each individual and what are their skills – you’ve got to work with these people.  Go and check them all out on Linked In and Facebook.

The Agency’s reply 6 questions

We found this post from W+K London in which they tried to give the reciprocal questions the agency should ask the client.

  1. Who are the decision makers on the pitch and on the agency’s work?
  2. What are your criteria for judging the success of your agency’s work?
  3. Is your inclination to aim high and do something extraordinary, or to settle for the ordinary and avoid the risk of failure?
  4. What made you consider us for this pitch?
  5. How many agencies are pitching and who are they?
  6. Will you pay a pitch fee?

Go forth and pitch.  But be careful!

Thanks to Edward Boches for the original inspiration for this article

Read more articles on 3 New Business Pipeline and 6 Creating Opportunities from our archive.

 

 

Selling disguised as market research

Marketing Research with Tumblr

Business development tricks of the trade:

Have you ever tried disguising new business prospecting as ‘market research’?

Finding new customers to discuss your business products and services with is difficult for many people.  Many people have a natural fear of the unknown and ‘cold calling’ strikes a death-knell in many people’s darkest fears.

Let Creative Agency Secrets show you some of the insiders tricks of the trade –

and learn to find an easy way to discuss new business without the fear and pain.

We all need Market Research

Market research is a valid business activity – without it you cannot know what the market and pricing is for your services and products.   What few people realise is that many prospective customers are happy to give their advice and opinion to you, free of charge in the name of market research.  They are frequently motivated by the hope that if your situations were reversed, you would assist them.

Asking questions about how other people view your products is very easy to do.

Email introduction for market research survey

Imagine this – an email asking for 15 minute meeting to get an opinion about a new service offering.

Dear Rebecca, we’re planning a new email list de-duplicaiton service for launch in the autumn,  As a previous customer of XYZ co, we’d value your opinion on the features and pricing of this service.  

Could you spare us 15 minutes on a conference call to give us your views?If you have time next week, I’ll send over a short briefing note explaining our plans. 

Best wishes

Could you send something like that out?  Individually and personally addressed?  You could send it using Linked In using their mass-mail feature?  Maybe add in a ‘poll’ if you want a voting response (though this is less personal).

Case study – market research for affiliate consulting services

One of our coaching clients has plans for a new environmental consultancy around carbon credits. The two partners in the business have found a service they want to sell and asked our advice about pricing.

We recommended contacting prospective customers and seeking meetings or phone conversations with them to do market research into their appetitie for this service.

Not only does this approach allow a direct conversation with a possible decision-maker; it allows you time to explain exactly what your product/service does and how the customer might benefit. They listen carefully because it’s a ‘market research’ dialogue not a sales pitch.

Nice, eh?

 

Additional thoughts

Our client is a busy lady who works in 2 businesses – building up the new one while running the existing one. We discussed how she prioritise her time. Our conclusion was that if she could specify the 3 questions needing answers from the market research, her business partner could do the calls and visits. In this way she can ‘direct’ the work but spend her time on the other, income-generating business while still progressing developments on the new venture.

See other articles about Pipeline development and Opportunity creation by searching the categories on the right.

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Name checking tool for social media sites

Awesome, lovely superb…. just finding which social media sites exist today is hard but having to chase round and research available ‘names’ on each one for a new client – time consuming.
Thank heavens for the wonderful people at NameChk.com

They do the grunt for you.

Now all I need is to go register the name…. there’s a handy text download file option that gives you the URL you could get for each one.

Just don’t expect me to know what they all do!

NameCheck social media name availability

Website design brief template

So,you want to brief an agency to redesign your website.  What is the best way to write a brief so that all the areas you need designed are covered?

Helpfully, OneSourceGraphics have written out their detailed survey which sets of the principal questions to which an agency will need answers before pricing up a brief.

So you want to redesign your website

Here are the questions you should answer:

This form will answer the question of what the site’s supposed to do for your business and what the site will look like.

First Name (required)

Last Name (required)

Company (required)

Email (required)

Phone Number

Website URL: (if available)

  1. Why do you want to have a new website, or have your current site redesigned?
  2. What will happen if you don’t have a new website, or have your current site redesigned?
  3. Please describe your organization in a few sentences.
  4. What is there about you and your background that sets you apart for a special (niche) group of potential customers?
  5. What problems do your prospects have that your business solves?
  6. How can your particular work background help prospects, compared to others in your industry? What’s special about your work experience?
  7. Why do you believe site visitors should do business with you rather than with a competitor?
  8. Do you have a slogan or tagline that clearly describes what you offer in terms of benefits or features?
  9. Please describe your potential customers. Pay special attention to their income, interests, gender, age, even type of computer they use, e.g., old with dialup account or newer with broadband. If your website is a business-to-business site, what sort of companies are you hoping to attract?
  10. What is your budget for this project? (required)Very Small Project $75 – $300;Small Project $300 – $750; Medium Project $750 – $1,500;Large Project $1,500 – $3,000;Very Large Project > $3,000
  11. Who are the decision makers on this project? What is the turnaround time for making a decision?
  12. What staff will be involved? What are their roles? Is there a webmaster on your staff?
  13. What is your deadline for completing the site?
  14. Please list the names of five other sites that you like. Why are they attractive to you?
  15. Have you researched your online competition so you have an idea of what you do and don’t want on your site?
  16. What do you NOT want on your site in terms of text, content, etc.?
  17. Where is the website content coming from? Who’s responsible for updating it? Is it ready for use on your website?
  18. Do you have a logo?
  19. Are you planning to do online sales? If so, what is the product, and how many items do you want to sell online?
  20. If you’re planning to sell online, are you set up to accept credit cards?
  21. How much time will you be able to spend online, responding to inquiries that come in via your website? Once a day? Several hours a day?
  22. If you were using a search engine, what words or phrases would you use to find your site? Which of these words or phrases is most important? Second? Third?
  23. Other than what search engines will produce, what methods do you have in mind to spread the word about your website?
  24. Once your website is completed, how long do you think it will be before you begin bringing in significant business from the website?
  25. How do you plan to encourage repeat visitors and referrals?

 

 

How to write an awesome creative brief

Getting fabulous creative work from your marketing agency depends on the brand team giving the best possible brief to set up the work.  Writing down what you want from your campaign and collaborating with the agency to agree the full terms of reference for the work you are commissioning is of the utmost importance.

You may be finding a new marketing agency to work with or briefing in new campaigns for your existing agency.

Both require communication of the utmost clarity.

And so whether you are a brand who uses agencies; a brand who has an internal marketing department or an agency wanting to use best practice with your brand clients, here are two slide decks and a blog post which will help you to write the best possible creative brief.

Thanks to Dare who created this slide deck as a training event for their internal staff.

Creative Brief Workshop

View more presentations from Nick Emmel

How to write the brief

Putting pen to paper and getting the desired outcomes by describing accurately what you want to happen from the campaign is where this second slide deck is useful.It starts with a template form which requires answers to these statements and questions
  • Brand Proposition – what is it?
  • What do we want to achieve?
  • What is the one key insight?
  • What do we want  people to do?
  • How should we tell them?
  • Why would they?

In the deck the authors show good, mediocre and poor ways

How To Write A Creative Brief, by True Digital

View more presentations from True

B2B marketing briefing rules are different

Why is Business to business marketing different from business to consumer?  Well the main reason is that although a business is staffed by people (who may be consumers) the language and method of selling by one business to another is not the same.
And so we have found you a B2B example of how to write a brief. Make sure you read the comments below the post as they are also informative.