Yes, we’re talking production. Clients want you to produce work. This is, after all, what they hire us for; Is it not?

Yes, you say, with great affirmation.

Wrong.

What clients hire us for, what they really hire us to produce, are results. The work is a means to an end and that ultimate end result is sales. Not awareness in and of itself, not leads, although these are steps along the path, not likes or clicks, but actual hard-boiled sales, measured in ounces of gold.

Advertising to sales ratios are one measure clients use to determine how much of their advertising budget goes into each sale. Some clients, depending on the nature of their product or service, might look at lifetime value of a customer, assuming the product or service involves repeat purchase. For instance, your wireless phone service vs a dog leash.

The wireless service may spend hundreds of dollars closing you as a customer knowing for sure that once they have you, they will have you for a good many years, so the initial cost of sale is amortized over the life of your engagement.

The dog leash people, on the other hand, cannot afford to spend any more than a few bucks to achieve your purchase of their product. And it’s a product you will likely have a lot longer than your wireless carrier. Or at least as long as you have your dog.

If you don’t understand your client’s business, you cannot produce effective results. It’s pretty simple. If you don’t understand the perceived value in the mind of the target customer, you will not achieve effective results.

Brand value is derived from consumer need based on real insight into their emotional relationship with the brand. This emotional relationship is expressed in the brand idea.

Getting it right triggers deep connections that make the cash register ring; and that my friends is what they pay us for.

Are you creating killer content? Is your content engine in overdrive? A boiling, overheated, over expressed machine; choking the very channels from which you hope to win new customers and build deeper relationships.

Not all content is created equal. And not every potential consumer touch-point warrants the presence of your brand.

The buyer’s journey is almost always a process of discovery, investigation, ingestion, peer-to-peer consultation, more investigation, purchase consideration, then final decision and purchase of the winning brand.

Consumers need downtime. They need free space to think, confer with friends and thoughtful consideration of their options. They need ad free, clutter-free space. They need respect.

Robotic ad buying and over-zealous social media content stuffing can destroy brand perception.

Too much, is well… too much. And enough is enough. Brands that lack insight and deep strategy default to polluting their own channels; paid, owned and earned.

Clients are spending untold amounts of money on bad content decisions. Content strategy should be a very direct and meaningful extension of your brand idea. Your brand idea needs to express the desires of your customers. The story of your brand is the story of your customers.

Telling this story in the most meaningful and relevant and respectful way is the ultimate expression of your brand.

Killer content; thoughtful, respectful, entertaining, informative and insightful. Creative content is the stuff that turns prospects into customers.

Smart clients get smart work. We like smart clients and Habitat Clothes is a great client. Hard working, hands-on, head in the clouds with feet on the ground. Visionary and driven with a keen curiosity and willingness to learn and adapt to the changing demands of her business, Suzanne Williams is a restless warrior in the battle of building her brand.  From our initial conversations about the needs of her business and the impact on the brand, down to the last detail of execution in planning her product line shoot, she never loses sight of the larger strategic goals she has set out for the Habitat brand.

The problem with no, the real problem, is that it’s not yes. Turning no into yes is often a cat and mouse game with the marketing team. You might have 10 clients on a single brand with a claim to input and by the time you’re done, your big idea might not be so big any longer and your enthusiasm may certainly have waned… but your idea finally gets moved upstairs with the warm endorsement of a semi-aligned brand team. Sound familiar?

If this is a regular routine and when you look yourself in the mirror and with absolutely no self-aggrandizing bullshit you can say, without equivocation, that this is your best work and that the big idea for the brand has been pillaged to death by no, you’ve enter the club of no authority.

The club of no authority, wields the only axe they are authorized to carry; no.

Have you noticed? The decision making around big ideas by marketing teams is sadly, often a chess match of realpolitik in the face of the true authority upstairs.

They cannot give you a yes, because yes is not in the room.

When the idea finally climbs the last flight of stairs and enters the corner office, it may not get that yes because it’s been watered down and the corner office thinks and behaves differently. The corner office is not worried about the corner office. The corner office wants the big idea to be truly big and liberating. The corner office wants your expertise above all else.

This is your moment.

Do everything in your power to be in that room and have your original iteration of the idea at hand. If the idea starts to take a dive offer the alternative solution, one of your originals.

If it achieves yes, immediately give credit to the marketing team for pushing you to no end.

If it all falls flat, accept responsibility and start asking a lot of questions, get the corner office in on the dialogue. Show your humility in the face of their expertise, work to an insight, listen intently, walk out armed, tell them you’ll be back in 48 hours, ready to deliver a yes.

All client companies have their rules of engagement and most of the time you will be bound by these rules and the culture that defines them. Work towards a presentation plan with your client team, they will appreciate this effort more than you realize. After all, yes benefits everyone.