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How To Kill a Great Campaign

Who owns your packaging and advertising content in your company? When it comes to packaging, advertising and promotional material, most managers involved can agree that a single-focused message would be most effective. Apple, for example is BRILLIANT at executing effective clear and simple marketing pieces. But watch this short video and you’ll see an example of what happens in many organizations.

This example is a dramatization, but often the people involved in finalizing a marketing piece will get into heated disagreements on content and design as the deadline nears. The result becomes a massive compromise that will sometimes do more damage than good. For example, an advertisement may have a single-focused message of “speed”, as the machine cranks out the most widgets per minute. The ad design reflects a captivating tie to speed and the simple content tickles interest and leads the viewer to engage in learning more about the fast machine. That’s a pretty straightforward process, but then more stakeholders get involved… Management insists an ad promote the company with its “years of experience” using words to show the industry that we are “leaders” and “innovators”. Engineering becomes adamant that if you don’t show the gear that makes the machine so fast, the viewer won’t be interested and Product Management won’t approve the ad unless you change the words on the tagline and add 4 bullet points so that readers can understand why the product is fast. Does this scenario sound familiar? Is it painful? It’s painful to everyone and it is common scenario.

The challenge comes from leadership not integrating “brand presence and marketing communications” into their long-term or even annual strategy and then having the backbone to back it up when executed. The reason various messages get piggybacked onto one marketing piece is because the stakeholders don’t feel their messages are coming across. With a long-term plan that is backed by company leadership, the individual marketing materials can tie to an overarching strategy. Each communication item can maintain its own effective single-focused message and serve its purpose. Leaders need to have a solid, well-communicated strategy and be steadfast in sticking to it.

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