We work a little differently than other companies in the creative service business. We don’t have departments. All our projects are carried out in full collaboration and co-creation with our clients. Our strategies are actionable ideas rather than models and theories. The #momwasright digital campaign that we created with Beiersdorf’s Digital Team for NIVEA is one example of our working principles in action. There are four key points that made this project a success:
- Solve don’t sell as the defining principle of client relationships.
- Strategy is not a theory or a model. @@A good strategy is an actionable idea.@@
- The role of creative work is more than getting people’s attention. It’s about making a real emotional connection with the brand’s.
- @@Don’t allocate available resources. Cherry pick the best teams and co-creators to get the job done right.@@
1. Solve Don’t Sell
The challenge was simple. We needed a global digital campaign that celebrated real human relationships. Together with the NIVEA team, we immediately immersed ourselves in collaborative sessions to generate opportunity areas around the topic. The mother daughter relationships was an obvious one but we kept working to find a unique, universal angle based on an interesting truth rather than the common ‘mom appreciation’ approaches and we found one.
Collaboration is often talked about in creative industries but in my experience it’s more lip service than action. Real collaboration has the ability to redefine the nature of client relationships because it creates a playing field to design solutions rather than preconceived ‘products’ to sell. That in turn eliminates the conflict that naturally emerges when you try to sell something. So, don’t sell ideas. @@Create working frameworks through which solutions are crafted together.@@
2. Strategy is not a theory or a model. A good strategy is an actionable idea.
Single narratives are important to us. A brand idea needs to feel like a platform and springboard for all actions that can potentially stem from it. Very often a narrative gets defined, redefined and reinterpreted when developing creative work. Marketing writes a brief. That brief is reinterpreted by the strategist. The strategist’s brief then gets reinterpreted by the teams who need to bring it to life. The insight for #momwasright was simple but robust; ‘You don’t become an adult when you no longer have to listen to your mother, but when you realise that your mom was right’. The idea was obvious: ask women around the world what their mom was right about. Once we crafted that thought, everything fell out. Those two simple thoughts were ‘the brief’ from beginning to end.
3. The role of creative work is more than getting people’s attention. It’s about making a real emotional connection with the brand’s.
We realised that the idea was so simple and clear that more creative interpretations in terms of stories were unnecessary. The team started working with a director on how to best get these stories across. We did not want complex executions, metaphors or ‘creative’ ways to tell this story. We wanted real people, real stories that almost anyone in the world could relate to, identify with and trigger memories of their own experiences. That’s where the connection would be made and emotions would surface. Too often we try to be clever or creatively interesting when the ‘obvious’ might be a the better way.
4. Don’t allocate available resources. Cherry pick the best teams and co-creators to get the job done right.
We don’t do execution in house. At the start of our process, we rarely know what the resulting solution will be. Sometimes it’s a customer experience issue, sometimes a business issue, sometimes a communication issue and sometimes an innovation opportunity so staffing up with specialists makes little sense. That however creates great opportunities to put together the right people at the right time to implement the strategy. With the client we crafted the #momwasright idea, then with the production team the storytelling approach, each country did its own production and good editing team put it all together.
All in all this was one of the smoothest, most seamless and effective projects we’ve done. The outcome is one we can all be proud of. It’s was a better way to work.
Better ways of working apply not only within an organisation but need also to be applied to how companies work with clients and outside partners. Alone we’re good. Together we’re brilliant.