Momentum Volume 2

Why use an agency at all?

Managing Director: Paul Williamson, Realia Marketing

So, how do I know you won’t just burn my budget..?
…I know all the media, you’ll never get a better rate than I’m already getting.
You boys come up with all these fancy ideas and I end up designing the bloody thing myself.
If you have ever found yourself saying this to an agency then read on, but I doubt I’ll ever change your mind. After all, you think that agency folk are pretty much like every car salesmen or estate agent really; take the money and run.

But agency people are different to those fly by nights. We’re professionals.

For starters, we have clients not customers. We wear Paul Smith not Marks & Sparks. We go for lunch at restaurants not at pubs. We drive Z4s because well, you wouldn’t respect an agency who turned up in old Mondeo would you?

So, why won’t Realia just burn your budget…?

We need to be able to get on for starters. There needs to be an attitudinal and emotional bond between us and that comes from respect and understanding. There also has to be a commitment to developing a long term and mutually beneficial relationship. That’s why we will invest lots of time getting to know your business…we wouldn’t do that if we wanted to take the money from project one and run would we? For sure, there are agencies that offer ‘out of the box’ thinking or creative ‘that’ll make your nipples hard’ and there is no doubt that they can produce very fine work. But what’s the pay off? Management fees equivalent to a small country’s GDP; meanwhile your Account Exec ‘manages’ your account through a combination of luck, fear, vodka and Valium. There’s little value in having great thinking and sharp creative work if the poor sod tasked with managing it all can’t deliver. How many times have you met one team at the pitch and another when you employ the agency to do some real work for you? So anyway, back to the pitch. We have both decided we can get on, we have shown you that we know what we are on about, we have some credibility in your industry and we promise to love you forever. What next?

This is where we show you how we don’t just burn your budget.

Despite what others may tell you, it really isn’t rocket science. The first part of communication is listening. We need to spend time with you to establish the scope of the brief and the time, resource and budget you have available. We will use appropriate research to deliver a marketing audit, considering both the internal and external factors that shape your market. We also need to understand
your offer to the market.
So now we understand we get to work creating a sustainable, measurable and actionable strategy. With the right strategic platform, we can define a motivating proposition and actionable creative work. We can build a communications plan that meets the strategic vision. And because good planning is not conducted in isolation, we stage gate the review process to ensure we can qualify and quantify the results. Remember, if you go to an advertising agency, you will only ever get an advertising response. To receive the most objective communications recommendation, you need an agency with an appreciation of the whole mix, even if you don’t use them for certain aspects of it. Then it’s the fun bit. We deliver the plan. We measure the impact. We share the joy of success and learn from the sorrow of failure. Then we sober up, pick ourselves
up and start all over again. Why won’t we burn your budget? Because if we do, you won’t come back. And if you don’t come back, I’ll never get that Z4.

Fifty shades of blue

Creative Director: Paul Newbold, Realia Marketing

My heart starts pounding in my chest… beads of sweat are forming on my brow like a fresh morning dew. It then starts to trickle with the heavy burden of gravity…
I know this is possibly starting to sound like the first paragraph of the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ novel, but alas it can only be described as the initial first feelings of a ‘really good brief’ or possibly a ‘god awful one’. Either way the mixed emotions of euphoria, anxiety and outright passion to try and nail it first time, easily outweigh the quality of the brief altogether.

To be on the receiving end of the brief, be it good or bad, requires almost Sherlock Holmes intuitiveness and the skills of a highly trained butcher. Stripping away fundamental areas to try and get to the root of the brief and to equally share a passion of vision, ownership and clever thinking can sometimes be a bit of an uphill struggle. I have yet to accomplish one of those… ‘Hell yeah, I nailed it first time!’ briefs. And just maybe when you think you might be close, someone pulls the rug from underneath you just because it seems to be a day that they dislike blue.
I guess the conclusion I’m trying to get to is that whether it’s a perfect brief or not, it never really matters because it’s always down to the interpretations of the individual’s thoughts and processes to create something special. I feel that as long as you can grasp the fundamentals of the brief, all it takes then is an initial spark. This can then be built upon and nurtured by fellow team mates and with the correct amount of passion, can finally be crafted into something beautiful.
So then, that ‘nailed it’ first time brief is still out there somewhere. Is it within my grasp? Possibly. But then again having said that, didn’t they say Rome wasn’t built in a day?

When a Brief is like a SatNav

Client Services Director: Nicola Williamson, Realia Marketing

My car’s SatNav is old and chunky; it hasn’t been updated in at least five years, stays hidden in my glove box and is pulled out occasionally.
On those crucial occasions when it is needed it often lets me down; I end up lost, go the longest route possible or find myself on roads that just don’t appear on screen! The result is a frustrating end to what started out as an exciting, new journey. On the other hand, Paul’s SatNav is built-in, receives automatic software updates and live feeds that divert you around any congestion or traffic jams. It’s smart, easy to use and 99% of journeys are on time and stress-free (there’s always room for human error!).
I think briefs can be a little like SatNav systems… a poorly constructed brief may result in us taking too long, with too many wrong turns and different routes. We may end up back where we started, or turn up late and in the wrong place! A well written and articulated brief will set us off in the right direction, provide us with focus and help us reach the desired outcome, quickly.

The creative brief, a creative relationship

Marketing Intern: Merel Jansen, Realia Marketing

To be honest… I have never been really involved in writing a creative brief. However, from what I have learned in University and my early days at Realia, I understand that a creative brief is not just a simple piece of printed paper.
In my eyes, a creative brief is the starting point of a creative relationship. A brief, like a relationship, is not something that is static but something that should be allowed to change. Creating a brief is like creating a conversation. It represents the engine which is going to drive the project forward – a real challenge that involves engagement, emotions, inspiration and ideas.
I think that people often forget to put themselves in the shoes of the client. People might underestimate that in order to interpret the client wishes; it requires good empathy and interpersonal skills. The sooner you build trust, the better the relationship – and the better the relationship, the more everybody understands each other and everybody benefits..
Not to forget, the cultural context surrounding the brief is equally important. Every client has a different story, values and beliefs. I think that this is especially important for Realia, given our international portfolio. For example, Polygon Norway communicates in a different style and tone to Polygon UK – something to be considered when writing a creative brief.

My First Agency Brief – Rachel, Aged 21

Junior Art Director: Rachel Hancock, Realia Marketing

I was lucky enough to jump straight off the University bandwagon, into working agency life, and I was quite excited to get stuck in. I had met the team, got my own desk, and been given one-to-one insights into our client base, and the sorts of projects I would be involved in.

Having been formally settled in, it was time to face my first agency brief. I had worked from briefs previously throughout my University course and had even had to write my own; but these were broad, and airy, with not much for you to grasp a clear direction. But this was to be a real client brief! Sitting down with Paul, we read through what our client’s wants and needs were, and then it was down to myself to get on with it.
I like to view a brief as a puzzle, having to decipher the way in which certain pieces can be prescribed and expanded. But you must make sure that you can find all the pieces before you can begin putting it all together; such as the purpose of the project, the audience, its format and much more. The research for a project is a part I enjoy just as much as the final result. Looking into new and promising designs to interpret, as well as different ways the brief can be pursued
(even if not to the original plan, there could always be a better path.) It’s then from this research the real work begins in our initial concepts. This is our stage one that you as a client will see, before we start refining to the final product.

It’s always nice to hear someone likes your ideas, even if what you show in your initial concepts isn’t quite the right direction. In which case it’s back to your research to find a new angle. Luckily for me, my first client brief seemed to be relevantly straightforward, so it was pretty clear to interpret, and create a simple end result. Well, they weren’t going to let me run wild on the first day!

Google’s latest game changer

SEO Director: Luke Redding, Reddico

April’s a huge month in the mobile search world as businesses worldwide brace themselves for Google’s latest game changer. If you don’t know what I’m talking about it’s time to act quickly.
On April 21 Google will change the way websites rank on mobile devices – based on their mobile friendliness. This could be devastating news for many websites. Google claims the update will have a significant impact and affect mobile search results in all languages.

Regardless of your industry, the chances are at least 30% of website traffic can be attributed to mobiles. For many businesses, this can easily be upwards of 50%.
As such, it’s vital to ensure your website is mobile friendly before the update. You can’t say Google didn’t warn you. There have been little hints here and there for the last few months.
Yet, here we stand on the edge of the unknown. On April 21 the mobile search world will be plunged into uncertainty. Don’t get caught out and check your site with this mobile-friendly
testing tool.

The sweet taste of marketing success

Business Development Director: George Martino

Weekday mornings!
They begin with motorway mania or the commuter crush.
Finally at your desk, you power-up your computer only to encounter more congestion… clogging your email inbox.
If you’re like most of us, your first reaction is to attack the delete button.
It’s magic.
Within minutes, gone are unwanted emails, including unsolicited sales pitches that escaped your junk trap.
Sure, there’s probably some worthwhile communication among those casualties. But who has time to search through the clutter?
Certainly not you.
The morning progresses and your post is delivered to your desk. With the proliferation of email, there’s only a few pieces. One of the envelopes jumps-out at you. It’s a bit chunky, and the address is hand-written in blue ink.
Intrigued, you open it.
Inside is a well-designed mailer yielding a sweet-smelling, nicely wrapped chocolate bar. It’s the perfect accompaniment to your cup of coffee.
While you sip and eat, you decide to read the wrapper that serves as the mailer’s literature. You may even peruse the sending company’s web site.
Then, a few hours later, your phone rings. Knowing that the receptionist screens your calls, you answer. She tells you that you have a call from someone claiming he sent you a chocolate mailer.
Sure, you’re busy, but impressed by the sender’s/caller’s creativeness and ingenuity, you give him a few minutes of your time.
And another addition to the caller’s sales pipeline is created.
This process is known as technique over technology. It’s evolution in reverse… returning to a marketing formula that worked before, works now and will continue to grow sales pipelines well in to the future.