Monday, April 20, 2009

The Ol' Irrepressible Force and Immovable Object

I learned something today from a client. I've been working to design some newspaper ads for him, and I've been pushing back pretty hard on his use of some elements that simply don't reinforce his brand message. My art director and I developed several alternatives for him to review. Bottom line, though--he prefers his original direction. We sparred on this a bit (which I think is a healthy thing), but at the end I came to realize that in spite of our difference of opinion we weren't entirely on different pages. Ultimately, he reminded me that it's just as important to consider the medium as it is the message.

Last year he spent tens of thousands of dollars on focus groups to understand what customers found most valuable in a newspaper ad for his product. The answer--exactly what he was telling me to include. He agrees with me that his direction does not necessarily reinforce his brand, but for various reasons he's somewhat stuck working with newspaper advertising for the foreseeable future, and as such he has to make sure his use of that medium is as effective as it can be.

As we talked, I came to realize that the damage potential to his brand by making these branding concessions for newspaper were probably not that great. And I ultimately got him to concede that we need to revisit his entire promotional strategy such that it better reflects his brand image.

I was happy with this outcome. It validated both of our points, but also identified a course of action that could potentially be more successful than what he was currently dealing with. I like to think this is what happens when the irrepressible force meets the immovable object. The universe doesn't collapse in on itself. Instead, I think that compromise happens, and new opportunities present themselves, as they did for me today.

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