When you know what you know, there is no turning back. You can’t un-know it.
This is why campaigns done by advertisers who brainstorm before a crash course with a client work better. Before the pitch, before the ideation session, before the brainstorm, before we know what you know about your company, that point is the most important point, because that point of ignorance is where your consumer lives.
Consumers do not bother with the nuances of your brand like the way your logo incorporates a subtle gradient. They don’t know the reasons why you do what you do and to be honest, they don’t really care. Like you, they have other things to bother with, like another cup of coffee or tea or if their reports went in on time, or if their kids’ birthday parties are all planned for. Consumers are busy people with busy lives, and that is their world.
You see, to you, your company is your world. Your consumer has a whole other world they bother with, and it’s far from yours. This is why effective advertising is simple, obvious, and has a singular message. And that’s why 9 times out of 10, you can’t do your own advertising, or at least, it wouldn’t be very effective. You already know what you know. You can’t put yourself in the ignorance of a consumer, because you have instinctive, subconscious assumptions about your business and your products because that’s the world you live in 24/7 and you know it inside out.
This is also a good reason why industry-specific advertising agencies often produce sub-par ineffective content. They already know what they know about the industry.
Take dentistry for instance. A dental ad agency will have lots of experience in dental marketing and that’s great for them. But they would have already forgotten what it’s like to be a consumer, because they know the nuances of the dental industry. They can’t speak to the consumer because their world is dental. They can’t unknow it, so their work would already be working with certain assumptions… assumptions that the consumer is ignorant to. It’s too far away from that blissful ignorance for it to be effective. They would assume that people will know the ins and outs of dental hygiene and the specifics of whitening because they already know it.
What about a vast topic like law. As a consumer, you’re 100% ignorant to how it all works and the loopholes, but for a lawyer, they assume that you’d know about the importance of an explicit termination clause, because it’s obvious to them. But to the average Joe? It’s not because it’s not his world.
However, I’ve seen so many clients opt for that because it’s easier for them. It’s easier because they, as a client, have less work to do, less approval to do and feel like because that agency have the experience in their own industry that it’s better. But it’s not good for the business… The advertising would be ineffective, therefore not really generating interest or revenue, and then the client is left with the belief that advertising doesn’t work; when really, it’s not the advertising’s fault, it was the simple fact that the advertising wasn’t effective, because it made dangerous assumptions about a consumer’s ignorance.
Advertising is never easy. It’s always going to be hard, and it’s always a hit or miss game with zero guarantee. That’s the world we live in. We operate with the assumption that no one knows anything and we’re not a priority for anyone. It’s the safest and best starting point: rock bottom, or ground zero. We believe that the consumer’s we’re speaking to are busy, preoccupied and couldn’t give a monkey’s about why your brand is better than a competitor’s. This allows us to then pull back all the complicated language, the nuance of the brand, and get down to the brass tacks, because that is what the consumer remembers: brass tacks.
So, if you’re ready to get to brass tacks with your consumers, let’s take you for a spin and see what magic we can make together. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but that’s just life, no guarantees.
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