WILL YOUR WORK LIVE UP TO THE PROCESS?
There are many advertising and marketing consulting services and companies that specialize.
Some can help you find a compelling point of difference. Some can help you uncover consumer behaviors and expectations. Some can help you test your messaging. Some can help you analyze key metrics. Some can even help you find a new agency.
Few however actually create or have ever created the communication materials and media your audience will ultimately see.
Few have the actual hands-on experience in all phases of the strategic and creative process — to uncover insights (real insights, from which key direction and fruitful ideation can be achieved), to write a clear and compelling brief, to develop a variety of concepts, to provide direction to the creative teams involved, to word-smith and script and design and further tighten those concepts, to prepare and then produce those concepts across all media, and to then supervise all of the finishing touches — final edits, music, voice, color correction, effects, and so forth.
With more than a quarter-century of advertising and production experience to leverage, Sticky provides you with the rare hands-on experience and savvy veteran perspective — the perspective of those who actually create, not just critique.
We call it Lighthouse 66.
The name comes from the notion of freedom represented by Route 66 and the symbol of safe navigation provided by a lighthouse.
Lighthouse 66 can guide you from the very start — before you set sail — to name or re-name your product or brand, to uncover key consumer and brand insights, to perform a critical and essential audit of your brand’s most valuable and compelling equities (or lack thereof), to nail down an inspiring brief, and if necessary, to provide specific direction and supervision for the development of creative work.
Lighthouse 66 can also negotiate unfamiliar waters to steer you safely into port, to write, design and develop final scripts, storyboards, online content, packaging, signage, internal communication, and so forth, so that your all-important finished product reflects the earnest thought that preceded it.
With Sticky and Lighthouse 66, you get the insights and experience of an award-winning Creative Director who has seen thousands of strategic briefs, created hundreds of commercials, and worked across all media.
WHERE THERE’S CONFUSION, THERE’S MONEY TO BE MADE.
A video editor friend once said those words when our agency’s client — following Version # 22 of a TV commercial rough cut — still had no clear direction or decision to follow. Fortunately for the editorial company, it would be paid for its incremental time and services. Unfortunately for the agency, it would simply eat up hours that would count against the annual allotment, meaning the compensation was going to run out well before the work would.
It’s no secret that most agencies aren’t all that thrilled when clients bring in consultants to provide marketing direction. After all, isn’t that what the agency was hired to do? And it’s difficult not to instantly think of the old advertising adage, “Those who can’t create, critique.”
The biggest lament is that clarity often goes out the window, and decisions start to be made by committee and/or consensus. But the reality is that group agreement often is a reflection of wanting to blend in rather than stand out, which seems to be the opposite of what a brand’s marketing should do. You can’t ignore nor always identify the intangibles that lead to persuasion, any more than you can pinpoint the attraction and chemistry between people who fall in love. (Look at Woody Allen.) At some point, someone you trust has to take the point and represent a vision for the work.
We realized, however, that there are good consultants, too, who actually provide valuable perspective, and who uncover key insights. Since our ultimate goal is to find inspiration to create some breakthrough work — regardless of the inspirer — we welcome their suggestions. In that respect, we work like Dr. Gregory House, whose ultimate goal is to save the patient. Even incorrect theories, diagnoses and treatments are helpful, because they often lead to the discovery of the correct diagnosis and cure.
With Lighthouse 66, Sticky can help you filter the directions and choose the right course.
WHAT WE SEE THAT OTHERS MAY NOT.
Recently we were asked to help work on an assignment for a large auto insurance provider, which wanted a new campaign as a response to advertising done by GEICO and Progressive, both of which were growing rapidly. There were discussions about increasing the use of humor, and other executional considerations that might help the messaging resonate more. During the input session, however, we learned that 50% of all auto insurance shopping begins online. Unfortunately, when we later did a quick online search for auto insurance, we had to scroll down the page even to see this company listed. So most potential customers didn’t even see the company name when they began shopping for auto insurance. That’s not a messaging problem. That’s a problem related to search engine optimization, which would require actions other than just the creation of a new campaign to fix.
What was a messaging problem was the fact that GEICO and Progressive had identified a more compelling message. Auto insurance simply is not a category with a high level of consumer interest. Auto insurance is a product you need, not want. It’s only a step up in desirability from dental care. During that same input meeting, we also learned that 70% of all auto insurance policy holders will never have an accident or auto claim. Meaning that the suggestion of a potential accident isn’t nearly as much of a motivator as you might expect. Sure, it’s fun to think of crazy accident scenarios (which insurance providers and their agencies have done for years), but the reality is that the concepts, though entertaining, may induce indifference from the insurance customer. By making the focus of the category price and convenience, GEICO touched the hot buttons that are the real motivators for insurance shoppers. Sure, the advertising for GEICO is wonderfully fun and entertaining, but its fundamental yet profound shift in messaging to “15 minutes could save you 15%” is what drives sales.
Often the way to a game changer is to focus on what people want to hear rather than what you want to say.
For a Fortune 500 company with a unique product in a crowded category and hundreds of stores nationally, we were asked to pitch the account — which was ultimately awarded to a much larger agency in NY. However, the client liked our thinking enough to enlist us a creative consultant. Over the next few months, as the main agency struggled to deliver a direct response TV campaign that the client would approve, we not only provided perspective, but also wrote key pieces of the scripts, including the tag line. We even created and produced the initial commercials in the campaign. The main difference between the work that moved forward (ours) from the work that did not is that we continually focused on the brand’s unique point-of-difference, whereas the non-approved work delivered only a category sell; it was not proprietary.
Big solutions do not always come from big places.
For a stylish boutique agency with more of a design and print reputation, we were asked to supervise its first-ever TV spot for one of its main clients. Working directly with the creative team, the director and the production company hired to produce the spot, we made key revisions to the storyboard, and supervised production from the shoot all the way through final edit, to deliver a commercial our agency friends’ client loved.
Lighthouse 66 can serve as your agency, as a partner to your agency, or as an advisor to your agency. We help all at sea.
THE FOUR KEY QUESTIONS.
In today’s modern business world, when marketing entails so many dynamic considerations, and when consumers play such a vital role in the process, we believe any successful campaign should include components that answer these four questions:
What makes it proprietary?
What makes it participatory?
What makes it communal?
What makes it migrate?
And to get to these answers, we have our own processes — and questions —, too.
The questions we ask will help you uncover key insights, articulate a clear and compelling brief, and identify both the opportunities for your brand and the traps to avoid.
If you’d like to learn more about how Lighthouse 66 and Sticky can show your brand’s marketing the way to safe harbors, contact us.