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Finding the Silver Bullet


Carisa Bianchi, President, TBWA\Chiat\Day LA and Effie Global Committee Member

Finding the Silver Bullet

Brand love. Brand engagement. Brand advocacy.  It is what every brand desires.  But too many find the path to saliency elusive. Is the journey elusive or is it simply that we don’t start with the right question?

I believe there is a silver bullet to achieving effective advertising. And it doesn’t start or end with copy testing and everything else in between. It starts with having a definitive point of view on why your brand exists. In today’s world of fragmented media and ever increasing noise and distractions, if you don’t have a clear understanding of the higher order of why your brand exists, you will fail. Think about it: if you don’t care enough to take the time to understand this, then why should your consumers care?

I could not agree more strongly with Simon Sinek, that people buy “Why”, not “What”. So start with the most critical question and ensure you answer the “Why”.   “Why” is connected to fundamental human values that we all share. Brands like Apple, Uniqlo, Southwest, Starbucks, Gatorade and Virgin all have a clear understanding of why they exist. Because of this they can be much more surgical in defining their brand behaviors.  The question they ask themselves is not what can we do, but rather, what should we do? As stated by Howard Schultz, “Authentic brands don’t emerge from marketing cubicles or advertising agencies. They emanate from everything the company does…”

Advertising must play an important role in building the brand’s saliency. But to be effective, the brand must define its raison d'être. We need to know the story we are trying to tell. And then we need to do it in a way that moves past the obvious to achieve something new and surprising.  Something that will engage people and compel them to act, to do. Advertising can help build brands, but authenticity must come first.  

At TBWA\Chiat\Day, we believe that in order to help our clients build markets, we need to establish the brand’s framework and context. What does the brand believe?
How should the brand behave? These questions become our barometer for all actions we take on behalf of the brand.  Importantly, we must also have a very clear understanding of the audience with whom we are trying to connect.  Why will they care, what will make them want to engage, what will turn them into a brand evangelist?

In closing, when a brand tells its own unique story and refuses to let others define it, the path to effective advertising becomes self-evident. It is all in knowing what is the brand’s raison d'être.

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TBWA Worldwide, Thu, 23 May 2013 14:44:07 GMT