Here comes 2016: The age of Low-Fi marketing.
Advertising revenues are on the decline. Audiences are more resistant to flagrant propaganda, shouting offers at us wherever we look.
At Houston we see the rise of ‘charitable thinking’: brand initiatives that offer value to an audience without expectation of return.
The route of an idea from genesis to execution can now be minutes.
In this arena, consultancies that are expert at delivering ideas swiftly, at low cost and with precision are the best bets for brands.
If I was still working in-house, I would be moving all of my poker chips to the ideas people.
PR agencies, often an afterthought in budget discussions, are supremely comfortable and match-fit in a ‘less-is-more’ environment.
We are adept at making a little go a long, long, long, long way.
And today it can.
In the last six months I have visited 4 ad agencies and in every case their foyers have been large and empty enough to fit our entire business at least four times over. I doubt this will last.
Here’s my shot at some rules for the era of Low-Fi marketing:
- If you can’t be fast, don’t do it.
- Low cost does not mean shoddy. It is more likely to mean authentic. Consider, for instance, that the material value of most of the world’s most iconic images is less than £100. The value is in the idea.
- Things that whisper your message are often better than things that shout your message.
- A consultancy that needs more than a week to ‘immerse itself’ in your business is probably indulging in a bit too much bubble bath.
- Ads that ‘work’ aren’t ads anymore. They are PR stunts.
- Showing your brand’s soft underbelly is from time to time a good thing. It radiates sincerity and emotion. It builds rapport with real buyers.
- Don’t be afraid to be authentic or carefully divisive. People who ‘unsubscribe’ in response to an authentic message are doing you a favour. A ‘no’ is often as valuable as a ‘yes’.
- Process can be costly and seductive. Whole marketing techniques have been built on the illusory reassurance of process. This is all about commercialising professional insecurity. Ask yourself: What is the fastest rational, professional and emotional route from A to Z? Take it.
- The world is a palimpsest. There is always an hour from now. Change is exponential. Keep going, keep talking, keep engaging.
- Tactics and strategy are now hybrids. Each should embody the other.
- We no longer manage brands, whatever our business cards suggest. Our customers do that for us. We are brand shepherds.