If you’re looking to raise brand awareness, you could do a lot worse than raise your awareness of what’s going on in the real world. In this fast-paced, fiercely competitive industry, real life gets squeezed into the margins, Marketing Week and NMA become your bedtime reading, you lie there imagineering robust added value rev-stim strategies and before long you’ve forgotten there was once a time when you would have given anyone using the phrase “imagineering robust added value rev-stim strategies” a well deserved slap. In this context, it’s little wonder that so many agencies end up recycling each other’s lacklustre ideas.
Fresh, engaging solutions stem from fresh, engaging problems, big ideas from big challenges, so when your client’s problem is nothing more compelling than how to shift more credit cards or cappuccinos, then perhaps it’s time to start looking elsewhere for inspiration.
We’re not talking about ye olde cause-related marketing here, it isn’t necessarily about aligning your brand with a charity or fundraising initiative, it doesn’t even have to be worthy at all. It’s about identifying a need, any kind of need…Can you think of a temporary use for all those empty Woollies? Can you help south Londoners find a cab willing to take them home at night? Can you inspire more young people to apply for apprenticeships? Can you help short people get the barman’s attention? Can you think of a good use for all those underemployed estate agents? OK, maybe that last one is a little far-fetched, but you get the idea – there are an infinite number of genuine needs that could inspire far more engaging campaigns than “Can you help brand X uplift sales by 15% in Q3?”.
Nowhere is having a special purpose more important than in the fragmented digital world. If your online offering isn’t genuinely useful you better have some damn funny kitten photos.
Livity’s rapid growth over the last few years has been built, in part, on conjuring up ingenious answers to real, compelling problems and taking them to brands perfectly placed to take them on. Having a healthy balance of public, private and third sector clients helps, running a pioneering non-profit youth project from our office helps even more – the key has been keeping our feet rooted in the real world.
And how can others do it? Get out more. Break out of your bubble. Forget marcomms conferences and despatch your best creative minds to community consultations, third sector summits, police stations, social enterprise salons, boot sales, beach parties, protests, airports, art schools, gadget fairs… anywhere in the real world where real needs arise every day.
Because if you don’t burst out of your bubble every once in a while, you may find your only real problem is that you don’t have any real problems at all.
Callum McGeoch is Creative & Insights Director of Livity
Livity is a member of the MCCA
www.mcca.org.uk / 020 7535 3550