Monday, May 01, 2006

Incognit-O(Monday Resident)- Do you have a flag?



Eddie Izzard – a great English stand-up comedian, does a skit about how empires were all built with the cunning use of ….well, flags.

Yes. Flags.

You see, you would go around and stick your flag (absolutely no pun intended here) in other people’s countries and claim them for yourself.

Quite simply, if you didn’t have a flag, you didn’t have a country. Amusing, no?

Brilliant.

And so all the Ad agencies, PR companies, media powerhouses, online and BTL experts all have to have their very own flags – all in the form of their very own branding philosophies. They then go around and stick them in the land’s of clients, claiming territory.

It’s almost that if they don’t have their very own branding philosophy – as an agency, as a media arm, whatever they may be – they don’t really have the right to exist.

So let’s all have ‘flags’ for the sake of having them.

Don’t get me wrong, some of the branding philosophies out there are top notch.

Who can argue with Saatchi’s ‘Lovemarks’?
TBWA’s ‘Creating disruptive Ideas’?

Flags like those are timeless.

Yet the question that arises in my mind is this…what happens then to the strategic planner?

…the account planner has been around for roughly 30 years or so now, right? Yet he has never gone beyond the walls of his brand agency.

Why the hell not?

Do you ever see your planner cracking strategies with the PR team? The media people? The online architects? I certainly don’t. Is there not something wrong here…

But where on earth would he begin?

Would he Create Brand Belief with Burnett…..or ‘Fuel Brand Power’ with Starcom?
Would he Procreali-something (if BBDO is so hot on this word they invented, I challenge them to give it a verb)…or would he use OMD’s ‘Checkmate’.

Shouldn’t all brand planning come from one philosophy – at least within the same agency group?

Will we ever learn? Will we get to a stage where the brand and media planner become one?

Would love to hear all your thoughts on this one…

12 Comments:

Blogger X said...

And thus begins the long and arduous debate on the word starting with I and ending with 'gration. A word thrown around a lot by large expensive agencys that are lagging behind boutique agencys on both the creativity front and cost effective front.
“Yes we may not be as creative but we have a holistic approach to communications, we do INTEGRATION!”. To have a holistic planner we need integration and to have integration we first need to start saying good morning to the guys in PR, discreetly figure out the media guys names, then work our way to sitting next to CRM at lunch...

11:31 AM  
Anonymous S' said...

i see no reason why they shouldn't collaborate...and be nice to each other

besides... don't forget we do not live in an ideal world !!!...right

1:50 PM  
Blogger X said...

Spoken in true hippy fashion...let me guess you wave the red flag with "Love" written on it...

2:08 PM  
Blogger AD MAD said...

Agencies have secrets? ....is this out of context? No!

The Martin "India is next!" (What a $%#&ing surprise) Sorrell's of this world are looking to squeeze the pennies from every communication crack available.

Sorry returning to the secrets issue...we all forget why we're in the industry (here we go… yawn). We want to make great ads that we enjoyed watching as young scallywags between He-man, Danger Mouse and The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – we want to be experts in our field. The ad people want to be the experts in advertising and rightly so, they will mark their territory just as other genres do. Ideas are commonalities – a weapon of mass destruction that everyone needs in their arsenal – but they don’t unite people together (integrate) they are a selfish item you don’t share!

Back to MS …clients ask for integration for their convenience and agencies offer it as better leverage in fee negotiations. But if you recommended as “communication experts” the best solution for PR or Online they’d respect you far more than force feeding them a holistically pickled efficiency garnished dish of the day. Integration is about different disciplines working together well for the client, not all the little cousins getting together at a family party but your friends aren’t invited. Client relationships are paramount so what about horizontal and vertical relationships in an agency? Rarely considered in this regard!

So secrets, throughout history does anyone really trust anyone else who marks out their territory? What do you use a flag for? You put it in the ground and say this is mine $%#& off! Don’t come over here because what we have you are not allowed. If agencies are built on ideas and these ideas are so precious and stealing them is such a sin – is it any wonder flags got put up? Maybe we all need flags!

5:13 PM  
Blogger AD MAD said...

I bet we've all had our flag replaced with someone else’s - or maybe put our own up in place of another’s! (Sacrilege - hey Tonic??!! ;)

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Communications is an industry of egos and with the way the industry is set up now, with each discipline separate, it means that there is going to be a long wait for the super planner to arrive. Don't hold your breathe....

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

let alone find a half decent planner in the region. Are there any good agencys with good planning departments in the region?

9:29 AM  
Blogger AD MAD said...

Planners at their pinnacle are actually meant to plot the evolution of a brand over the next 4 to 5 years or as Toyota did 20 years. The Middle East will never plan on multinationals unless the brand is spawned from the region - which is a possibility.

But for now the planner is a researcher and second checker - there exposure on different brands and different industries and their supposed inclination to get closer to the consumer should set them apart.

Know the market, know the customer, and know the brand – then you’ll be a good planner.

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Ish said...

A serious over-idealization (if that word exists)...planners do plan on multinational’s use Toyota as an example, but lets say we got a brand like Nike Women who want to break ground in the middle east or better yet Saudi? No need for a regional planner? Better yet, look at India and their previous cola consumption habits (never consuming to quench thirst), more of a treat than a drink u have stacked at home and drink with every meal...no regional planning?

I would argue the opposite, its particularly the view that planning should be set from abroad, this notion of standardization that have many multinational brands panties in a tangle...

12:20 PM  
Blogger X said...

Heads up guys & gals, tomorrow Diablog Cafe will have Brenda Kassir, strategist at Saatchi & Saatchi Dubai, sitting at the other end of the coffee table.

She'll be sharing her thoughts on planning, the region and other bits we've been babbling on about...

12:41 PM  
Blogger AD MAD said...

I never said that planning "should" be set from abroad, I'm merely pointing out this is the reality for major brands wanting real planning and will be for a long time.

Gillette is globally planned, aligned, multinational, it's No1 in the region, Nokia the same and No1, Toyota the same and is No1, Pepsi the same and is No1 (coca cola isn't and is No2). So my point is quite simple you want to plan on multinationals you need to give good reasons! Planning is closer to marketing not advertising (what's the difference?!) - you need to understand product development, sales, supply chain, research, economics etc locally planned mutinationals with local ideas may have some good stuff, but if demand doesn't met supply and expectation exceeds delivery the brand is undermined - that is why GM, Sony Erikson etc etc take second place

Planning on local accounts is a mashed up mix of research, judgement, experience and common sense. Until I sit and see a growth plan for a brand mapped accross 3,4,5 years I won't believe the planner has found his/her sense of true justification.

3:38 PM  
Blogger AD MAD said...

ADCRAPPER is now AD MAD for those that care!

4:41 PM  

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