Sometimes a client will come to us with the task of creating a marketing message that presents an unusual challenge. In this case the challenge was conveying availability of space at a cemetery.
If that made you take a second glance then you are not alone. Thinking of a cemetery as a business is not top of mind when it comes to honoring our loved ones but a cemetery is indeed a business. Our client represented a very well established cemetery with over 125 years of history which is, coincidentally, when the city it resides in was incorporated. For the first time in a quarter of a century burial and cremation space has become available in this 100 acre park-like setting due to the release of plots purchased over 70 years ago but never claimed or used.
It all made perfect sense. Pre-planning funeral arrangements takes the burden off you and your family and part of that planning is where you or your loved one may be interred. For some, as in life, it’s location, location, location. The task was to present the availability of space at this well sought after location and preserve the dignity of the message. Somewhere between avoiding the message sounding like a real estate offering and a morose sounding stereotype lay the copy. The budget was also very small so any complex production graphics and visual embellishments were not within reach.
So what would you do?
This is where client communication is so important. Taking time to get to know a client, their business and their clients is paramount. We know our business but we don’t know theirs. It’s our job to learn, ask questions, understand and believe in the client’s message. Our business is the art of effectively conveying that message. It’s also our ability to embody public perception of that message; to be the virtual sounding board. Any business owner naturally fills in details in their heads when envisioning and creating an ad however the public doesn’t have that intimate knowledge and experience. There can be gaps. What makes sense to a business owner may not be fully conveyed to the audience in the finite time or space of an ad.
Any client should not think a TV, radio or internet ad is unaffordable or unobtainable. This also is where client communication is equally as important. It is about what we can do within the budget and not about what we can’t do.
These types of challenges can and are enjoyable. There is no traditional advertising go to approach. They make us think and stretch our creativity and to think outside…our choice of words. Advertising and marketing isn’t about what we think. It’s about what our client, and more importantly, their clients think.