Firstly, is it boring to talk about how agencies need to change, how the structure put in place in the 1950s might not be the best way to handle such a fragmented 2007 and that possible conspiracy theory that if agencies were honest the whole industry would crack at the top due to the severe profits of large agencies being through traditional TV (whilst it still has an important place it has to fundamentally change in terms of creative and media format i.e. Gorilla and IPTV).
Still boring? Yeah well, I know but still I think I’ll have a go at Brand Image vs Brand Innovation as we still seem to be far off it. Inspired by the legend that is John Grant I can’t help but feel, WTF are we doing? We spend so much time, resource and money in producing a glossy frame when we don’t think about the actual picture at all. What I mean by this is that we strive to make polished advertising messages however when we get brand/product facing we are let down by shoddy service or poor product and therefore this makes any ‘image’ we have tried to create totally null and void.
An example was today when I went to pay in a cheque at my local NatWest branch, whilst I understand that they say they open at 9.30am they could clearly see that there was a queue gathering outside and almost out of spite a member of staff stood inside until the clock hit directly 9.30am. I then approached the cash desk, two people were sat there, I approached one directly only to be told, ‘nah mate’…..well why the FUCK are you sat at the cash desk alluding that you might for a second be up for doing your job? Count the pennies either behind a screen or away from where people will believe that you’re sat there for a reason. This experience really clashed strongly with their current advertising – all about how they are human centric, customer caring and service based. So a total waste of money building an image that is utterly false and transparent to a marketing bull shit savvy public.
So where then? Well surely seeing as we claim to be king of consumer knowledge we should be advising our clients on innovation rather than false motivation. If we are meant to be advising our clients to the best of our ability surely we should be telling them where they are faltering on their delivery or how to innovate in order to gain market share? But that’s for brand consultancies I hear you cry? Is it? If it is then how are there so many brands (big brands) which are failing to deliver on their promise? If it is then surely they can’t be very good at it?
The long incomprehensible ramblings I’m trying to get to is that our current business model is quite literally screwed. We provide pictures whether it be on TV or on a computer or on a billboard making a promise that simply isn’t true. I’m not trying to be all sanctimonious, I love what we do, I just think we’re working back to front. The ability for us to add value is getting less (based on the consumer facing service failing) and we try and justify that value through (if we’re honest) dubious measurement methods.
So I’d like to change, getting closer to client’s business, bringing innovation to the table and using consumer knowledge to create real and tangible change (as opposed to suitable tone of voice) and then a true and honest brand image which in turn generates the good stuff. I’m aware that certain agencies have worked towards this, having a say in packaging, tone of voice, events, customer services but they’re case studies of inspiration as opposed to the norm right now. Anton xxx
p.s. AHHH, it’s just happened again, I go into the Bagel Factory as I’m quite a fan, buy a bagel, hand over my loyalty card to be stamped and then told, ‘we don’t do that anymore’ ‘so what do you do?’ ‘nothing’ Had I not paid I would have spun on my heel. This is the kind of arrogance that brands think they can still wield, with Tesco Express, Pret and Eat on nearly every corner should Mr Bagel Factory be somewhat a bit wiser? I can see the next ‘honest’ print campaign: ‘Really tasty bagels from a really unappreciative company’ or ‘Fuck you very much for your loyal custom’.