Life Goes On…

Last January a client of ours commissioned a brand guru to study their consumers and retailers. Our client hoped the results of this research would help them reestablish an emotional connection with the influential end users their antiquated brand and products used to attract. What the guru learned about our client’s business were things we’d been telling them for years: that their marketing efforts were slipshod, that their endorsement professionals were irrelevant, and that their communication lacked heart and soul. These ministrations weren’t sufficient, however, so our client paid money for a survey that could have been better spent fixing—not finding—the source of their dismay.

After compiling feedback from months of market mash-ups, dealer dress downs and videotaped focus groups, the guru presented a PowerPoint presentation that spelled out our client's woes in glorious charts and graphs. From this research, the guru assured our client an “ownable” and “actionable” new brand position could be taken away.

The anticipation of learning what only the brand guru was wise enough to teach was killing me. What words of wisdom were hiding in the opinions of a random sample of our client’s target market? Once edified, how could we use this knowledge to reverse their fortunes? Our client was convinced the answers to these questions lived in the omniscience of the guru's single phrase:

“Brand X—the dedicated survivor that can’t be killed!”

As mantras go, I guess it’s better than, “Shit—It’s what’s for dinner,” but not by much.

Another powerful “takeaway” from the marketing guru’s research was this:

“We don’t just say we know our business, we live it!”

To prove the latter point, our client did what any overzealous and under-experienced executive might do: she solicited free creative solutions to simple marketing challenges from a half dozen hungry and talented advertising agencies—ours included. The irony of that request was not lost on this not-so-talented and extremely well fed ad hack. How many dedicated survivors who know their shit need an outsider’s help to find their pot of gold?

Not this one.

Tomorrow we're pitching a web program to one of the largest youth-sports equipment makers in the world, and next week I'm showing POP's to a $100 million clothing company.

Fuck Brand X.

1 comment:

gregg bagni said...
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