The other day I saw a TV commercial that was a variation of a script I had presented to the same client. I was surprised at first. I didn’t think it was an infringement of intellectual rights. I was surprised that the client, having rejected my original script and creative recommendations in favor of making a commercial that was his idea, ended up making a new commercial with another firm that was , more or less, the same creative direction I originally presented.
So, the client was wrong and I was right.
I believe there is no original idea; only an original variation of an idea. I can be a vulture of creativity. I swoop down on the carrion of past marketing ideas to pick off the best bits for regurgitation in the form of new concepts. This is why I could not be offended by someone taking the best bits off one of my ideas. I would be hypocritical if I were.
Another client showed me a TV commercial and he wanted something similar for his stores. I became the marketing vulture and settled down to pick off the choicest bits for the new creative.
The TV commercial, for a retail shoe store, was made and presented to the client. I felt it was better, both in visuals and written word, than the other commercial. It was an effective TV commercial for a small budget client.
“Where is the Brannock device?”
A Brannock device is the tool that a customer stands on that measures the length, width and arch length of a foot. It’s found in most every shoe store and I thought it was not as important to show versus spending more time extolling the virtues of their product.
I was wrong. Apparently, their demographic finds it important to go through the process of having their foot measured to confirm that they are indeed the size they always knew they were but feel reassured by the expert verification.
The foot being measured shot got, pardon the pun, shoehorned in and the client was happy.
So, I was wrong and the client was right.
The lesson is about discussion and trust. We marketing professionals can have strong convictions about our recommended directions. That may come from our belief in the idea, our many years of experience or a balance of both. A client should learn to trust in those beliefs and recommendations the same way they want their own customers to trust in them.
Conversely, marketing professionals need to truly listen to clients in order to effectively present the message. We creative types can get caught up in our “art” and we question shot or graphic changes. We can even become offended as those changes will “destroy” the ad. Yes, there is a bit of a diva in all marketing people. It’s important to keep focus that we are there to sell product to people. If the client says their customers truly care and are motivated by something that was originally dismissed then we had better listen and set our pride aside.
Remember, the client isn’t always right and neither are you.