Something good happens when you bring people together. When you dedicate time to focus on your brand, objectives and concerns. When you talk face to face.
You learn where visions align – and, perhaps even more importantly, where they diverge. Sometimes big time. You hash out these differences and, hopefully, gain understanding and the consensus needed to pull together for a unified effort.
Our clients give us a seat at the table. By doing so, they get our best. Because that process makes us a better, savvier partner. It enables us to suggest more strategic ideas and tactics that get results.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
Craftsmen know creation starts with preparation. It wastes time, treasure and talent to go back and redo a slipshod effort.
Our client SmartSky Networks provides an excellent case for doing it right the first time. Wireless industry pioneers and serial entrepreneurs make up its management team. These guys do their homework. Lay the proper groundwork. This team convened recently at the Satcom Direct headquarters in Melbourne, FL., to look at the year ahead holistically, identify key opportunities and prioritize activities. We reviewed a number of possible campaigns – weighed the pros and cons of each – and came away with a clear, broad direction. Allowing the agency to then refine and finesse creative and how it will play out across the various online and offline engagement channels.
You Never Know What You Will Discover
For years we resisted codifying our planning process, thinking our standout creative was all the proof needed to show we have a clear way of getting from Point A to Point B. But we began to see that clients need to not just see the results of our thinking, but how we arrive at them. So, a dozen years or so ago we outlined our process, which we call Ascend. It has three stages: Fuel (planning), Lift (creative) and Range (channels).
Discovery serves as a key element of the Fuel stage. And that’s what I’d like to talk about here. The value of this kick-off, in-person workshop cannot be overstated. It’s proven its worth time and again. Most recently, for new clients Global Polymer and PDS Med.
During the discovery with Global Polymer, Plant Manager Jeff Hieb became a convert. The Global Polymer team drove eight hours in icy conditions to be part of the session. Yet Jeff said, both he and President Todd Huntimer, found it “off-the-charts cool” and “wanted the sessions to continue and would have stayed until midnight.”
Our group’s diversity of backgrounds and experience, session readiness and interaction of ideas wowed him. “I was impressed with the number of your employees that took part in this session,” he said. “It gives us great confidence that we have a ‘Group’ helping us move forward.”
Planning Makes Perfect
We have the opportunity to make a substantial difference for PDS Med, which just acquired a new company. Our challenge: combine two brands into one. The discovery process kick-started that effort, adding clarity and focus. “It was amazing to watch you all process what was on the screen and pull tidbits of insight from each slide,” says Kim Snare, PDS Med director of marketing and sales. “I am thrilled with the progress that we are making.”
Working with a client from the beginning discovery phase through the end creative process and engagement plan helps us be both strategic and efficient. Planning creates a launch pad for everything that follows.