The Ad Agency Carousel or Fix Your Brand
By Tom Dougherty
A powerful brand strategy influences everything that the brand touches. It provides focus, clarity of purpose and is the wellspring of future business success. Often, the advertising agency is the first to fall victim to poorly defined or ill-defined brand strategy. The internal marketing department and V.P. of marketing is next as the brand struggles to attain marketing success.
On average, companies switch ad agencies once every three years. Is the switching of ad agencies helping or masking a bigger problem? The need for “fresh ideas” and “bold creative” drives this change. The brand invests mightily in this change and the review itself is not without REAL costs, both in time and money. The problem with this scenario is that the brands will, more often than not, repeat the same process three years later when dashed hopes and under realized marketing success evaded it once again.
The DNA of your brand
The problem may not be in the failings of your advertising agency. It most likely resides in the DNA of your brand strategy and brand definition. Stealing Share has a long history of turning around the fortunes of brands, growing market share, and increasing preference for a myriad of brands without the need to change advertising agencies. So fix your brand problem.
NEW BREED LOGISTICS, a leading national third party logistics provider (3PL) is a perfect example. The same agency created the two ad campaigns for New Breed.
This work actually stood out from the completive set and was conceived in the familiar flow-chart language used by logistic managers all around the world. The problem is that the decision to employ a 3PL is not a clerical decision, it is a strategic decision that, it turns out, is made by the CEO and not the logistics manager who might have no one to “manage” after a 3PL is outsourced and hired.
The new ads address this strategy and speak about the power (from a CEO’s perspective) of harnessing the strategic power of a 3PL. Both of these ad campaigns were created by the same advertising agency. The first with a client supplied brand strategy and the second with a brand strategy created by Stealing Share.
SCT Corporation, a leading software solutions and service provider and is another example of the same dynamic —before a great brand strategy and after… once again both campaigns were created by the same resident advertising agency. The first ad talked about SCT and was all about them. It was an expected B2B ad and could easily be lost in the din of a busy market or overlooked as unimportant by the target audience.
Building the brand around the customer, focusing on the customers desire to win and taking advantage of change produced a brand strategy that grew business and increased usage. An ad in this new campaign was credited as being the highest recalled advertisement the year in the vertical pub in which it ran.
If your desire is to win and increase your market share — step off of the carousel of agency change and make the brand changes that ensure the brand’s health. Correct brand strategy makes your brand’s communication better and more focused. It tells your target audience that they MUST consider your brand in the considered set and causes an umbilical like tie with the customer you need to influence.