David Sable, Global CEO at Y&R and a noted Linked in influencer published an article back in September 2016 that pretty much encapsulated something that we’ve been talking to clients about for ages.
His post set out to question just how targeted those ‘targeted’ Facebook and Google ads really are.
At almost 44, I was fortunate enough to start in the advertising industry before the digital wave hit. That gave me the luxury of working at a time when we were encouraged to question everything and campaign strategies were in many respects, much more ‘human’.
Today, with brands pumping millions into social media every year, it’s crucial that marketing teams born into a digital generation interrogate the data coming from Facebook and Google as opposed to giving into blind faith. Remember, both of these companies make hundreds of millions every year from advertising, so their data is not neutral and whilst the conferences, workshops and courses are all fun, they are designed to encourage you to buy ads. We all have a worth to Facebook and Google.
So let’s start by taking a look at how Facebook profiles ‘you’.
Go to https://www.facebook.com/ads/preferences and check out the thinking. Facebook say:
“How we determine your ad preferences: We use information from a few different sources to figure out which ads might be relevant and useful to you. Things like your Facebook profile information, activity on Facebook and interactions with businesses can all influence the ads you see.”
Now, in the minds of many, Facebook and Google are infallible sources of pure data to be trusted with a fanatical belief. But the evidence would seem to suggest that in fact, their algorithms are fundamentally flawed and far from being in-depth, with the preference used to pigeonhole one’s points of interest often being tenuous to say the least.
Based on Facebook’s statement, the algorithms would seem to be pretty linear in their approach, failing to take into account human nature and that often, the online personas people project are very different to who they really are. We’ve all liked that page because we felt morally obliged to but never went back to it. We’ve all hit like on something just to keep a friend happy, but never bothered to actually read the article or watch the video. It’s just basic human nature rooted in the need for acceptance.
Like Mr., Sable, I think Google would struggle to know who I really am. For example, my search history covers topics related to work, which considering the scope of our client base, can be pretty diverse. Then there’s the fact that my granddaughter was addicted to Peppa Pig for three years and watched it every evening on my laptop before graduating onto a German speaking Gummy Bear song. So to say that Google or Facebook knows me well enough to target me, would be stretching a truth and a waste of your marketing budget.
I guess the moral of the exercise is that as a species and as consumers, we’re a lot more complicated and fickle than the algorithms would care to admit. Think on that the next time you’re putting all your eggs into a social media only basket.
‘Winning awards isn’t about being smug. It’s about setting an international standard for your clients’ work that raises it above that of its competitors,’ says The Mission Control Communications.
There is now a valid case with volumes of supporting evidence that proves, effective, creative, and award-winning work drives sales and improves share price performance in science and healthcare – a sector that previously had a reputation for shying away from ‘creative’ advertising and marketing.
This alignment between creativity and a booming bottom line was first demonstrated in the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s 2010 white paper, ‘The Link Between Creativity and Effectiveness’, which looked at 10 years of its Effectiveness Awards (which assess marketing ROI) compared with data over the same time period from The Gunn Report (an annual publication ranking the most creatively-awarded advertising).
Notably, creatively-awarded campaigns were 11 times more effective at driving market share growth than those that didn’t win awards. Even with equal investment, creatively-awarded campaigns were more successful across sales volume gain, market penetration, customer acquisition and loyalty, while a strong correlation was discovered between increased creativity (where more creative awards were won) and improved levels of commercial effectiveness.
This was substantiated a year later by James Hurman in his book The Case for Creativity, which analysed 30 years’-worth of data, including the business results from Cannes Lions’ Creative Marketers of the Year. He states: ‘In every case, the companies that have been most tenacious in their pursuit of great creativity have been among the ones outperforming the stock market and enjoying historic periods of financial prosperity.’” (source IPA)
Understanding the commercial benefits of awards to a brand, we approach every project with the mindset that no matter how small or seemingly insignificant it might appear, even to the client, it has the potential to be an award winner. Again – the award itself is not the objective; it’s recognizing that the thinking that goes into an award winning piece of work is proven to be commercially more beneficial to a brand. The actually trophies, whilst nice, are simply a byproduct.
We’ve applied this approach to every brand we work with and it works. Our clients have seen their ranking in the Fortune 500 jump and profits as much as double in some instances. Many of our clients have also found that a ‘winning’ culture has yielded successes in other areas of their business and in addition to the awards we enter on their behalf, they are also entering and winning directly across multiple categories.
The result, motivated workforces, confident investors and increased sales and brand influence.
All in all – we’d call that Mission Accomplished!
The 2016 Communicator Awards concluded last week in New York and we’re proud to announce that working in partnership with Taconic Biosciences, we won two Golden Awards of Excellence:
- Gold Award of Excellence Integrated Campaign – Business to Business
- Gold Award of Excellence Marketing Effectiveness – Integrated Campaign
Both awards reflect the combined efforts of everyone involved in creating and delivering an intelligent and engaging approach to communicating in one of the most tightly regulated spheres of marketing in the world.
“We’re delighted with the wins, as are the team at Taconic,” says James Killoran from The Mission Control Communications and Mission Discovery – the agency’s new dedicated science and healthcare division. “A lot of work went into creating these campaigns on both sides of the Atlantic and to see that effort recognised by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts is a proud moment for us all. I’d personally like to congratulate all those involved.”
…’and I won’t let that hold me back!’ says multidiscipline creative, Anthony. ‘We have some really exciting projects in the pipeline this year and I plan to play a big part in creating even more.’
Continuing our series of articles from the team at The Mission Control Communications, we chat to Anthony McCann, one of the creatives who joined the team last year and hasn’t looked back since. In this article, Anthony chats about what it’s like to work with international clients day in and day out and the challenges and opportunities that presents.
What would you say is the biggest difference between The Mission Control Communications and any other agencies you might have worked with? ‘Creative freedom. We live in the real world so of course we are constrained to an extent by deadlines or a client budget, but in terms of being creative we can really enjoy ourselves generating ideas. No idea is ever just dismissed. It may not work for a particular client or campaign we are working on but there has never been a moment where we’ve been told we can’t be creative. James has an ethos that he tries to instil in us – push an idea as far as you can. It’s a much easier task to scale back from a really crazy concept than to try and expand on something that doesn’t really have legs. I try to always keep that in the back of my mind when I start any project – push the boundaries, you never know what you’ll come up with.’
You work closely with brand managers on projects that are for products and services worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, do you find that intimidating? ‘Not at all, in fact I find it greatly rewarding that designing to a budget is not the sole aim of the projects for these people, it’s the outcome and it’s effectiveness – the cost is secondary. As a designer that gives me a lot of creative freedom to explore ideas and concepts that might not even be considered if a budget was very tight. It also brought me into a lot of unknown territory as I was working on some huge scale projects for the first time and thrown into the proverbial ‘deep end’ with things I had never encountered before. In doing that I found that there wasn’t really anything to be afraid of and, without sounding corny, seeing these projects come to life and the clients feedback from them is the reason I do what I do. Fear is the biggest killer of creativity so I won’t let that hold me back. There is also a great learning experience to take from these projects that will stand me in good stead for the next ones lined up.’
Strategy is something the agency talks a lot about. But how do you see the formality of strategy sitting beside the chaos of creativity? ‘It’s not just all about pretty pictures, there needs to be thought behind what we do! There is a reason why we create certain artwork, or why a campaign is aimed in a certain direction. Our outcomes are designed to not only to be visually engaging but effective in achieving the client’s goals. I’d liken it to creativity being this crazy energy that’s buzzing to get let loose and go, strategy is pointing it in the right direction to go and blow your mind!’
Last year, the agency picked up a number of international effectiveness awards, what would you say is the secret to that success? ‘We work very closely with our clients across the globe to the point where we aren’t simply seen as an external agency but more an extension of themselves. Having a much better understanding of our clients and their needs allows us to create better campaigns for them, and in turn means more effective outcomes.’
Will you be as active on the awards circuit this year? ‘In 2015 the team picked up some well-deserved awards for a few projects they worked on before I came on board. Seeing that filled me with a sense of pride and admiration that their great work is recognised on an international level – but at the same time the creative monster inside me riled up and screamed “I want some of that!” For 2016 we have some exciting projects in the pipeline that will hopefully bring the team in some more awards and I plan on being a part of that.’
The agency works across a number of B2B sectors, is there one that you prefer and why? ‘I actually don’t have a preference as I love knowing that everyday will bring something new and challenging. I may find myself again in unfamiliar territory but I love the thrill of the unknown. I also love that what we do has an impact in the real world – take some of our healthcare clients for example, projects that we work on with them contribute to their success. Their success in turn contributes to improving the lives of sick people. I get real enjoyment and a sense of pride in seeing our creations helping our clients to grow in every way. That they keep coming back to us is testament to how effective our work is.’
Agency culture – is there one and can you describe it? ‘We are a team. No one here pretends that they know everything, and everyone always wants to improve their skills and knowledge. We respect each other. We collaborate and bounce off each other.
One person’s weakness may be another person’s strength. If we need new software, we’ll get it. If we feel we would benefit from a talk or training course, we’ll get it. If we need Red Bull, we will definitely get that! All of this adds to a real fun, creative and learning culture. I think if you settle into a culture where you think you are the finished article and reject input from others then you really are lost. Everyone can, and should want to improve.’
My mother always said I had a face for radio, but that didn’t stop one of the team from breaking out his caera last week and doing some on-the-fly shots. In addition to some really cool images of the studio, he captured a few nice shots of some of the team as well.
And for anyone wondering if our guys are any good at retouching images, just look how natural they made all my wrinkles and grey hairs look. Talented feckers!
If there’s one thing we worked out a long time ago, it’s that if you want to make things happen in this world, well you need to get up off your backside and go out there and make them happen. There’s no point in sitting waiting or expecting for someone else to do it for you. That’s simply not going to happen.
So when an opportunity presents itself, grab it with both hands. That’s why when earlier this month, when we received an invitation to meet with a brand visiting London during a tour of their European facilities, well we were more than happy to oblige – even if it meant being up from 3:15am to catch the red eye out off International.
It turned out to be an 18-hour day well spent as we came home with the new business.
We’ve created something of a name for ourselves when it comes to delivering highly effective campaign strategies in what many would consider to be some of the most complex and niche markets in the world. As a result, we get recommended a lot and this has led to a lot of great opportunities coming our way over recent months.
In-fact, in four months we’ve won four effectiveness awards in New York and been appointed to handle four global marketing accounts – including the one mentioned above.
Proof that it pays to work hard, do a good job and keep clients happy.
We’ve every reason to be in high spirits this Halloween at The Mission Control Communications. In addition to winning four, that’s right, four international effectiveness awards, we’ve also been adding to the team. And if that wasn’t enough, we’ve also added three new brands to the client roster – including one this week which promises to be really amazing.
Big thank you to the clients for trusting us and to the team for all of the hard work!
It’s probably one of the best know logos in the world – yet when it comes to the design and marketing industry, perhaps one of the most misunderstood. When you look at the Apple logo – what do you see?
OK smartarses – yes you see an apple – well to be accurate, what you actually see is part of an apple. That’s right – there’s something missing.
Now – this is where I believe the confusion has crept in. Increasingly the world of business has come to see the Apple as a design solution as opposed to what it actually is – a tool – albeit a complex and expensive one.
So what’s missing? What is the Apple logo telling us if we take the time to study it?
I guess the short answer to that is – it’s missing ‘human creative input’ – that bit of inspiration that can only ever come from the neural circuitry and sparking neurons of a person that spends their life filling their head with ideas and asking questions. The person that thinks beyond the processing power of the machine and the limitations of the software coding.
For all of his creative wizardry and visionary design, the legendary Steve Jobs never managed to create that final piece of the logo. That little missing piece on the top right hand corner of every Apple logo that reminds us, great design comes from a person – not a machine. Then again – perhaps he always knew that!
I’ll be the first to admit, there are times when I can’t wait to post news about a new piece of business we’ve won or show-off a piece of work we’re particularly proud of. But as a rule, most of what we create is never seen or mentioned within our own brand promotions. We don’t even mention most of our clients in our client list.
It’s not that we’re not proud of the work or indeed the brands we work with, but when you get into serious B2B campaigns for brands that have turnovers in the hundreds of millions or even billions, then you really have to respect their confidentiality and consider the impact of your actions each time you name drop.
Think about it – what’s the easiest way to see what one of your clients’ competitors are up to? Answer – find out who their agency is and check out their site or social media pages and with a little digging and intelligence, from what is posted – you’ll be able to work out exactly what their strategy is for the coming months.
This leads me onto my next point. When you are posting work you have created for a brand, why are you doing it? Most likely it’s because you’re setting the scene to go after another piece of new business – in other words you’re showboating and stroking your own ego. And there in is the problem. You’ve taken your eye of the work you’re commissioned and getting paid to do and thinking about the next job or client. You’ve already relegated your client to second place and that’s just bloody bad service.
So – remember, it pays to keep your mouth shut and its much easier to lose an existing client than it is to win a new one. My advice – respect the clients you have and if you’re doing your job well, then new projects will come to you of their own accord.
If you don’t believe me – then just ask yourself, what would Chuck do?
All in all it’s been a pretty interesting couple of weeks. First – we won 3 Communicator effectiveness awards in New York and then one of the other clients we work with happened to win the General Election ousting Labour, UKIP and the Liberal Democrat leaders in the process.
So I guess we really don’t have that much to complain about on a cold, wet Friday afternoon.