With thousands of ad firms wanting your business, how can you choose? Experts explain how to set your goals, put it in an RFP, and snag the best creative team.

Long gone are the days of a handful of Madison Avenue firms controlling the advertising world. Shopping for an advertising agency is no longer done in smoke-consumed boardrooms and martini bars. With the advances of technology and the introduction of digital methods, the advertising world has changed drastically since the 1960s. Thousands of wildly different agencies exist—from 10-men experimental shops in Brooklyn to enormous traditional firms with a global reach, and everything in between. Terms like “experiential marketing” or “social media” that were relatively unknown a decade ago—much less five decades ago—are now crucial considerations. Of course, ideas are still the foundation of creative work, but other key factors play a role in forming a valuable relationship between a company and its advertising agency.

The Power of Packaging at the Doorstep

Brands need to explore new packaging strategies in the era of online delivery to keep consumers coming back for more.

Packaging offers a way to establish brand identity and create personalized consumer experiences. But in the era of online delivery, shouldn’t brands do a lot more to give online shoppers more compelling and on brand packaging experiences—right on the consumer’s doorstep? In today’s economic environment, after all, brands are competing as much on the experiences they offer as the products they sell.

We all saw the numbers for the 2014 holiday season: more online purchases than ever. By 2018, nearly one-half of CPG growth—a total take of $35 billion in sales

The Value of Brand Consistency

Building and properly managing brand equity has become a priority for companies of all sizes, in all types of industries, in all types of markets. After all, from strong brand equity flow customer loyalty and profits. The rewards of having a strong brand are clear.

The problem is, few managers are able to step back and assess their brand’s particular strengths and weaknesses objectively. Most have a good sense of one or two areas in which their brand may excel or may need help. But if pressed, many would find it difficult even to identify all of the factors they should be considering. When you’re immersed in the day-to-day management of a brand, it’s not easy to keep in perspective all the parts that affect the whole.

Making a Marketing Connection

What if marketing weren’t marketing anymore? More than that, what if we abandoned some of the fundamentals of the business as well, like the old advertising standard “It’s not creative unless it sells”?  What if the goal was not sales but engagement? What if we said goodbye to Push marketing and emphasized Pull marketing instead? How different would our world be?

A different way of thinking.

We contend it would be radically different and likely a good deal more successful. Today’s affluent consumer is highly sensitive to pitches and disregards most of them. “Please buy my fine product” is just not very compelling, and you’d be surprised at how many tired guises that message is delivered under.

What’s needed now.

Today the Holy Grail is engagement, a conversation, an awakening, an appreciation. The sale will come after that, naturally and easily. The aim, of course, is not just to create buyers but advocates, customers who will go on to tell others about their experience. Given that so much of life is lived online, and given that reviewing anything and everything is part and parcel of life online, the role of advocate is an important one since they will influence the next round of buyers. The education of a brand advocate begins with engagement.

Focusing on what matters.

Many of us might even consider changing our title from Chief Marketing Officer to Chief Engagement Officer, just to remind everyone in the organization what the real job is today. It will force you, and others, to rethink whether another “20% Off” deal is really the right message today. Isn’t there something deeper you can deliver, some smarter way of communicating what your brand is really all about?


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