New ideas are scary. They push us towards the unknown and untested. As marketing professionals, we often depend on the tried and true to get results that will make our clients happy and keep the agency in business. But the inverse effect of this mentality is that the service we provide can get stale. Clients love results. But they also love to make a big splash. They want to stay at the forefront of their industry and so rely on their partners to bring them fresh, breakthrough ideas that will get them noticed by their audience and bosses.
When people say, “act like a startup,” what they mean is take chances. Startups are fresh to the game and don’t have “standard” protocol or processes that hold them back. They aren’t afraid to get out of the comfort zone and push their clients to new, stratospheric thinking. Because the clients that respond and grow – or at the least respect and appreciate being pushed a little – are the ones they want. They’re not begging for every morsel, they are shaping their own destiny.
If it makes you uncomfortable you’re on the right track. No one ever broke through by staying in the comfort zone. Don’t feel the need to force every idea to do all the heavy lifting. How can you spread the love around? Design a holistic program with arms and legs to hit different strategic needs. If you have a smart concept, you’ll be able to roll each and every tactic up under it so that every touch point reinforces the whole. Experiential stunts make for great awareness and sharability. But they have to be simple to work. Don’t overload them with “must haves.” PR can serve to amplify your awesome experience or event. Paid can run a variety of messages in different creatives and mediums, including elements of your awesome event. And website and social can deliver your longer form engagement.
Take, for example this 2008 campaign from Offsetters (Agency: Rethink), who suspended life rafts from Vancouver skyscrapers and placed lifesavers under the bus stops around town. The stunt raised eyebrows and garnered major media attention, but they let the media coverage, social engagement and paid ads do the heavy lifting.
Or this recent campaign from Apple, who simply curated some of their favorite photos taken on the new iPhone 6. The intrigue and sharability of enjoyable content is priceless.
Designing a smart program can also help you deliver your game changing idea to the client. By balancing the strategic needs and messaging across the program, the client will be more likely to go for the cool new idea, knowing you’ve got them covered on requirements.