Successful companies don’t create their own advertising…or presentations

Monday, February 18th, 2013 by Simon Morton

As a child, you got the sense that Christmas was around the corner when the ads for toys came on the TV.  The gawdy ads for plastic rubbish worked a treat as my parents will pay testament to – my toy cupboard was filled to the rafters with toys and games which promised so much in the advert but delivered so little once unwrapped.  Aaah, the power of those clever advertisers…

Now a lot older, greyer and (at a stretch) wiser, advertising still plays an important role in parting me from my cash.  Now the objects of my desire are grown up things like audio equipment, furniture and (shudder) lawnmowers but the effect is the same – aspirational, engaged and willing to nag mercilessly until the product is purchased.  Damn, those advertisers are good…

Great advertising grabs hold of us, no matter how old we are.  It demands attention, pulls on the heartstrings and engages it’s audiences in powerful, almost magical ways.

So who is responsible for these perfectly formed 30 second segments of loveliness?  The short answer – experts (although you might like to call them advertising agencies).  Importantly, an advert is rarely the creation of the company who’s goods it is designed to sell .

Whilst somewhat cliched, let’s take Apple as an example.  Their powerful “Think Different” campaign in the late 90s is often referenced as the turning point for what had previously been a slowly fading business.  “Think Different” was a call to arms for Apple, elevating Steve Jobs from maverick to expert business leader and the arbiter of all things cool.

So who came up with the concept?

  • Steve Jobs?  Nope.
  • The army of marketing experts working within Apple at the time?  Nope.
  • This watershed marketing slogan and associated campaign was the brainchild of an outsider – the creative agency TBWA\Chiat\Day.

Outsiders have the ability to see through the inevitable internal noise of a business and it’s thinking.  They’re in the enviable position of being able to play Devil’s Advocate, point out the Emperor’s New Clothes or simply declutter the whole mix of content, opinion and research to a point where the message is loud, clear…and, most important of all, relevant to the audience.

Steve Jobs and Apple knew that successful companies don’t create their own advertising – they left it to the experts (and continue to do so).

From advertising to presentations…

Think of your next presentation as an opportunity to deliver a rich, multi-layered and hugely focussed advertisement directly to your target audience of 1.

How much would you pay for such an opportunity: a 1-to-1 chat with the person who has the money, authority and need to purchase your goods?

With this in mind, consider Apple.  Just as they recognised that moments like “Think Different” are just too important to leave to chance and that working with the experts is the right thing to do, smart companies are starting to recognise that their presentations deserve the same respect.

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