Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
Life is making decisions and living with the consequences of those decisions, said Mark Twain. Brutal and simple. Every day we have to make some decisions: what to wear, what to eat, which road to take to work, what are my priority…
Some decisions are simple, some complicated. We make some of them easy, some not. But we still have to make them, because there are two options in the end: either you are or are not, you either have, or have not.
It reminds a little of the contemporary world, the world of digital, which is also brutally simple: you’re either a zero, or a one. There’s no third option. That’s what Dave Trott dubbed a binary approach.
Binary approach is a way of simplifying things to their essence. There’s no more of that decisive ‘maybe’.
Everything comes down to this or that. Black or white. On or off. No appendixes, just powerful, simple clarity. Quick, easy decision. And then a quick transition to the next quick, easy decision.
That’s why computers work so fast. Each decision is either a 0 or a 1, and that’s it.
Is it also possible to apply such a brutal minimization to advertising?
The old school says, of course not. There are many reasons why NOT – from the belief that we are something special, to the fact that the human brain doesn’t work that way, that the love for a brand is something special, that it cannot be measured and reduced to such a simple binary response.
However, the new practice says: yes, of course. And in the new advertising we have to have this approach, because the final decision will ultimately be very simple: the buyer will buy your product. Or not. So, the buyer has become that binary category, his model in the modern world with abundance of choices is made extremely simplified – it has been made black and white.
This means that there’s much to be changed, forgotten, skipped in the strategic planning of our campaigns. An old descriptive approach, a brief with a multitude of different possibilities, all that is overcome now. We need to take some new road, where the secret lies in how you ask questions.
There are two basic rules. First is: don’t ask all at once. Go step by step to get simple answers. It’s like in that kid’s game where you imagine a character, and the other person asks yes or no questions.
The second rule is to simplify the questions so they always have just one or two answers. Again, as in a kid’s game.
In that case, you can be moving very fast.
I think that in each agency there are examples of wrong mumble. An example: “The idea must be original and innovative, and have an appropriate impact”. Or: “The brand has to increase its share through trial, but at the same time having the benefit of market growth and profiting from product benefits while maximizing our brand value.” Or: “Focus on young and urban, families with children should certainly not be neglected, or the older ones who are (we assume) old.” Or: “Give us something innovatively, different, digital, original, that no one has done either here or abroad. We are really open for anything, as long as it’s not expensive.” Or: “Just start working. I’ll send you a brief soon.” Or: “We want that our logo printed on the balloon stays a perfect square when the balloon is blown up.”
These are all realistic examples that we have received as an agency. As can be seen, precision is not a strong point here. And this brings us to the familiar situation, the nightmares of every fair bar musician who, when he asks his guests what they want to hear, get the drunken response: “just hit me!”
In the new age, all things related to the brief have changed. The foundation of a good brief is to inspire and direct the agency to do a great job. If this doesn’t mean much to us, just imagine how little it means to consumers.
Today, the difference in making briefs is being deleted. An agency, as a strategic communications partner to the client, is expected to be a part of the team and to write its own briefs. In this way, the job is sped up. The noise in communication is reduced, as well as poor briefing. This is called proactivity. Malicious people would say that this means we make our own tasks, but this is certainly a very important part of the new advertising agency in the digital age.
For this reason, we need to simplify this in a simple communication brief, where, if we want it to be simple, we need to know the answer to three basic things.
WHO should buy it?
WHY would they buy it?
WHAT they won’t buy so they would buy our brand?
If we don’t know for sure these three things, we can’t create an ad.
If messages in the ad aren’t clear, the consumer wo’t know anything about it.
If the consumer doesn’t know, nothing will happen, no sale will be made. Actually, something will happen – the agency will be replaced.
The basis of the new binary way of thinking must be the fact that, at every step, we can only do ONE thing right.
This means that all phases must be reduced to one question.
What do we want: to increase market share or to track market growth?
The most important question here is whether your brand is a market leader or not?
Let’s take the milk market in Serbia as example, where the leader is Imlek and has the largest share in this segment. If we increase the number of people who consume milk, they will benefit more than anyone else.
Whether the consumer remembers your name or not, when you are a market leader, by the default rule of a market leader, when the market grows so will you by default, because you hold the largest share.
But if you are not a leader, i.e. Dukat, you shouldn’t do that, because you want to take the sales from the market leader, because that is your foundation for growth.
Such two different situations also come with two very different communication briefs.
“Buy milk instead of any other beverage.” (Market growth, Imlek’s benefit).
“Buy Dukat milk instead of Imlek.” (Increase in market share, Dukat’s benefit).
New or existing users?
Answers here also come down to two directions. The first is to answer the question: Do you want new people to try your brand? (Of course, this is necessary for introducing a new product.)
The second thing is: Do you want existing users to buy it more often?
Of course, it depends on factors such as saturation of the market.
Again, let’s suppose you are Imlek.
Almost everyone tried Imlek’s products so there is no point in talking about new “testers” and some new users.
As a result, as Imlek, you have to tell your existing customers why they should buy you more.
So the communication brief would be: “Enjoy Imlek products with family / friends.” Or: “For a healthy body, you should drink a glass of milk / yogurt every three hours.”
In this way you will be able to sell two or more products instead of one.
But if you are Dukat, and trying to take away part of the market from its leaders, it’s obvious that you have to tell Imlek’s consumers why they should try your brand.
In this case, the communication brief would be “Dukat milk has a better taste than Imlek. Or it’s more nutritious.”
Product or brand?
Here we have something similar to the rational or emotional debate.
Is there a rational, logical reason for buying your product?
Or is there an emotional preference for your brand?
In the case of things you enjoy, there is usually an emotional preference for the brand: perfumes, beer, fashion, sweets.
No one is interested in whether this product lasts longer, works better or costs less.
They buy pleasure, not functionality.
On markets where all products are very similar to each other, you do brand advertising.
But in other cases, facts may be very important: insurance, cars, medicines, technology.
People don’t buy insurance based on satisfaction, they do it on the basis of rational elements, costs.
Do you have a demonstrable product characteristic that no one else has: costs less, has lower cholesterol, works faster, lasts longer?
You need to talk about this before you create an ad.
Sometimes a product(s) can become a brand (image).
Mercedes, Volvo, VW, Sony, Tesco, Sainsbury, Apple.
All these great brands have had great advertising campaigns that are based on the facts that made them into brands.
Remember, binary brief is just a language, it is not a solution.
It needs to allow creatives to have a constant discussion about the communication brief, in simple terms, so they could fully understand it.
It must force everyone involved in this process to choose only ONE thing they want to say.
To force everyone to be simple, clear and fast.
To force people to make unpleasant decisions before the campaign is created.
If we don’t do it for consumers, they will do it on their own.
On average, a person is exposed to almost 1000 different advertising messages per day in their current lifestyle. And there’s a tremendous wealth of choices – which is sometimes good, and other times horrible. You can’t tell what’s worse: abundance or shortage of choice.
And we ourselves are, in the end, a bit binary. We either buy, or not. We either read this text, or not. We either share it and like it, or not. We either remember it, or not.