Winning Strategies

Winning Strategies

Ad Age magazine released an article last week with advice from the top advertising companies who had award winning ad campaigns this year. Brands like Old Spice, McDonald’s, Dove, and more. It was solid advice, but also reminded me that big business is not so different from a startup in Zimbabwe.

You’ve got a great creative idea, but it’s potentially risky. Now what do you do? Ad Age asked people behind this year’s most decorated campaigns how that work came to life—and for advice on how to see innovation through.

Here’s their advice:

Don’t be afraid to develop the idea

Sometimes you have to test your concept and step out there before the great idea becomes clear. It’s okay to pivot, switch, or rejigger your idea if at first it doesn’t land properly. The best brands in the world are brilliant at this.

Trust your team

When high management knows the team, they trust their understanding of the brand…it does not mean pushing the boundaries is always easy, every brand gets challenged and have passionate debates, but with the right partners, the right team will propose ideas that are right for the brand. Trust your team.

Move out of your comfort zone

A famous ad agency in San Francisco started a meeting with a large brand, “Hopefully you guys will be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable…” This is a given for an entrepreneur, but we often overlook it. Actively seek to encourage yourself to get outside of your comfort zone. That’s where the magic lies. No one discovered a pot of gold in their comfort zone…

Stay true to your brand

Genuine advertising is the best. Be genuine. Be who you are in your communication with your customers. There are expectations in doing business (be professional, be courteous, be honest), but that doesn’t have to be boring, and it certainly should be fun.

Keep it fresh

Old spice says “Our mission is to keep our guys entertained, so you always need to be coming up with new, fresh, unexpected ideas.” Couldn’t have said it better my smelf (that’s a pun, if you haven’t seen their ad campaign Google “I believe in my smelf”).

Turn a problem into an opportunity

McDonald’s Canada was called out recently for their so called nutritious food. Rather than fight fire with fire, they took the approach of describing why their food is cheap, why it’s photographed the way it is…”We knew our brand story and the facts about our food…Our approach was to engage in compelling and interesting conversations that were open and transparent.”

Whether you agree with McDonald’s or not, there’s something to be said about taking a problem and converting it into an opportunity to positively talk about your brand. I like this, take the negative and spin it positive. Done the right way, with forethought and insight, it can be a very encouraging thing for your customers. People like people who are positive.