What Must An Idea Do?!

McKinsey Consumer Decision Journey

McKinsey Consumer Decision Journey

Consider the Consumer Decision Journey as defined by McKinsey. It shows that purchase behavior doesn’t happen in a funnel. We need a model that reflects how consumers inhabit and experience the world itself. That’s why the CDJ is a cycle.

Certain life events act as triggers that inspire a person to seek out goods or services based on a need in the moment. If a brand wants to succeed in this kind of non-linear environment, then it needs to purposefully have presence with relevance and utility within the context of the Consumer Decision Journey. That’s what I call Depth On Demand™.

So the point of the matter is … What must an idea do?!

The issue is now one of creative judgment. In the past, I’ve been through countless rounds of internal reviews at which competing ideas have won or lost. The line of reasoning and application of good judgment in those meetings — some as recent as last week — arose from decades of advertising and marketing services precedent set by best-in-class agencies and marketers.

But Depth On Demand™ and the non-linear Consumer Decision Journey are changing the foundations of that learned history. It’s so common for anyone who’s worked at an agency to recall how a “campaignable” idea is chosen based on its TV and print executions; then it’s handed off to the marketing services people to “blow out” the idea in “non-traditional” media. Well, plenty of agency people are changing their approach. Some are more successful than others. But I propose that they don’t really know nor understand WHY they need to change.

It’s really based on what an idea MUST do … now. The measuring stick is “useful and relevant.” Can the core idea hold up in the variety of contexts that the Consumer Decision Journey shows us (through data and planning) are most relevant to the consumer? Which of the competing ideas on the wall can be shown or proven to hold up? It’s really just an expansion of the judgment and reasoning that agencies have applied in the past. But instead of being media-centered, it should be experience-driven.

For example, can we envision the idea holding up as a social media object? And in what formats does it come to life with either/both usefulness and relevance? Viral video. Facebook app. iPhone app. Widget. Webisodes. Mobile app.

Can we envision conversation and/or discussion erupting around the idea or its social media objects?

Do relevant promotional offers arise from the idea?

Can we envision branding applications that offer usefulness to the consumer by demonstrating the brand benefits?

Does the idea make email worth opening, reading and replying to?

Does the idea resonate in 140 characters or less?

You get the drill. It means that agencies need to do more work and take on added responsibilities that have greater liabilities and consequences for both failure and success. It also means that agency personnel need to catch up on far greater knowledge — what my friend Jeff Coburn at Momentum calls “situational awareness” — of how marketing disciplines outside their own base actually work.

It’s not sufficient to have dabbled in promotion, direct response, digital, social or (for those who came from marketing services) broadcast. But there are so few true Renaissance Practitioners — the term DraftFCB uses to describe the ideal integrated marketing professional of today and tomorrow — that we need teams.

Dynamic, generous, selfless teammates emerge from onerous, dreadful and perilous ordeals with victory in hand. It works for the Army. And it can work for agencies that practice Depth On Demand™.


2 thoughts on “What Must An Idea Do?!

  1. Typically edifying and trenchant. “Situational awareness” indeed — the advent of tablet computing and pervasive democratization of interfaces like the iPad’s will present even greater demands on agencies.

  2. Pingback: Speak in ideas « Biersma Creative's Blog - Corporate Branding, Marketing and the Impact of Design on Business

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