Often the real problem isn’t the one you’re concentrating on.
Often the real problem is upstream of it.
Here’s an example.
We had just started an agency and I was sitting talking with Barry Pritchard our head of planning.
We’d just left a really good agency to start ours.
Barry said, “The question is can we do better work here than we did there?”
I said, “The question isn’t doing the work Barry, the question is running the work.The best work never sees the light of day. It’s killed off in research. That’s the real problem.”
Barry said, “It sounds to me like the recruitment is wrong.”
I said, “What do you mean?”
He said, “Well, we’re writing daring and exciting scripts that are getting killed in research. So we’re writing Opinion-Former work, and researching it amongst Opinion–Followers. Of course it’s getting killed.”
I said, “What do we do?”
Barry said, “Recruit Opinion-Formers. In any demographic group there are people who disproportionatly influence the others.
These are the people who are ready for new ideas, who talk about them and spread them. Watch any group of people. They may all be the same demographic, but one will be doing most of the talking, That’s the sort of person we want for our groups.”
And Barry was right.
We achieved a trickle-down effect.
It cost less to reach a smaller number of influential people than a larger number of non-influential people.
Our ads got made, and were way more effective, because Opinion-Formers picked them up and spread them.
Without the creativity of the planner, our creativity wouldn’t have seen the light of day.
As George Lois used to say,
“It don’t matter how great your roughs are. If it don’t run it ain’t advertising.”