Reader Response: Branding Survey - Consistency a brand must

LAST week’s WA Business News feature on branding seemed to skirt around the fundamentals and miss the point that, without consistency in innovation and storytelling, there can be no brand. The top 10 list is saying a brand can exist either by buying advertising in bulk and offering a price war promise – or bombarding a logo continually at the populace with little creative and big budget power. If we are listing prominent advertisers by volume and spend then the list is accurate, but few attempt to demonstrate even accidentally those true quality principles and could be wiped out quickly at any time by a new, bigger player. Few agencies – we are one – use brand storytelling. Day one discussion points out we live in one of the fastest evolving demographics – more and more arrivals emigrating to WA with money to spend and experience of buying into brands in countries where delivery is far better. In WA, we must meet these expectations fast. At present the average blue chip account in WA is operated by an agency for about three years before review – there are notable exceptions but this is generally the norm. This gives little time for tangible result analyses if there is (rarely) an improvement in creative brand execution and the ailing brand gets weaker. Sometimes clients write a brief in solid stone based on assumptions about a marketplace they are too close to, putting the agency in a straight jacket. They, in turn, work to please the client irrespective of whether creative has any hope of achieving real impact. Is an agency’s role to please or to make the brand work? The two may not go hand in hand and if the client insists on being expert they should employ their own in-house art directors. A good agency is as knowledgeable as a doctor or lawyer and no-one would dare to undermine those professionals. These factors expose WA to a degree of poor creative; and that is a false economy, as brands take longer to connect to whom they are trying to communicate with. Is advertising not meant to be clever? Going price-led is fine – if you want to write off at least half of the customers waiting to buy the product. The best deal in town is great if you want it now – but what if you need it but do not yet realise? Last year we all stood up and applauded Michael Newman for taking us through the rules of advertising and ways to break them. It is a shame that, 12 months later, little of that inspiration appears to have remained. I believe some are making advertising too scientific, and just as music, film and art influence us without being born by strategy, so too advertising needs to return to the art form it began as centuries ago. Greg Archer - The Answer Agency

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