Monday, August 8, 2011

Strategic planners use too big words - swap macro for micro and use the Sandwich model for success

During the last month I´ve attended four weddings here in Sweden where I have been hanging out for a couple of months. It makes me think of Love. About what brings people together.

Three Drunk Monkeys just released an ad for the underwear brand Rio, in which they point out the fact that we rarely speak about our underwear in public; that we treat the topic with secrecy. In the video a bride holds a wedding speech announcing that she fell for her husband´s designer undies. Ssssh... No, we don´t usually tell people those things :)

There is a useful insight in this TVC.

I´m not saying us women choose our men based on their Bonds or Calvin Kleins, but it´s important to be aware of the importance of these micro movements in life.

In our wedding wows we will talk about "his sense of humour", "his generosity" or "his positive attitude" - but what is that beyond the big words? Under the surface packed with fancy words, it´s the micro moments that matter. Tiny pieces of life where we connect with a human being and Something happens.

Yes, let me reveal: a girl can choose a boy based on what covers his xxxx... Dirty, clean, boxer, tight, colour... They are micro clues on who he is, his values and energy. They give away subtle signals that we may not even notice, but that leads us in the arms of one dude instead of another.

In marketing, these subconscious things matter more than those big words used in focus groups or quantitative studies, which is why the role of a strategist needs to be more "between the lines" than boxed in like they usually are in Australia when the planner spends hours figuring out the perfect sentences to write in the creative brief that they solemnly hand over to the creatives. I´ve heard many tell me that a brief with brand values, insights etc should be so clear that the strategist could go on holiday and the rest of the crew would still "get it".

Hmm. Not sure I "get it".

I believe in working in a "sandwichy" way, mixing all parts of the process, moving the job back and forth, up and down between people and members of the hierarchy. When you collaborate you bring in the ideas early on, and you prepare the creatives for the depth and insights - everyone get involved and responsible. When you on the other hand have strict lines between the departments you risk being ran by egos who want to do their own thing, no matter the reality (research, marketing rules etc). You risk missing useful information on the way. You risk missing the micro clues. You risk living by the big words.

In online dating everyone say they want a person who has a sense of humour. But what IS "a sense of humour"? Doesn´t everyone have it, but with different people - you laugh with one person but not with the next? It´s one of those mysterious things you can´t describe or produce. It´s got to be real.

A creative brief is most times too much like a profile on - vague, open for the reader´s interpretation and easy to misunderstand.

But LOVE is magical. To really find it, you need to look for the micro gestures. The undies of life.

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