One of the main roles of a strategist within the advertising mix is to maintain a strong sense of who we are talking to. Yes, we need to meet the business objectives and yes, having the opportunity to produce revolutionary ideas is exciting but both of these factors will fall perilously short if the people that we are trying to communicate with cannot relate to the piece of navel gazing that the creative agency have produced at the client’s expense.
Never has this pitfall been more apparent than since the advent of digital. Being a new medium, it was primarily used to target a younger audience. This quickly expanded to a wider demographic when it was astutely noted that the population of the internet expanded beyond the 18-24s. However, whether through habit or laziness, the strategy used to launch a new range of glitter lip balm often finds its way into the brainstorms and discussions of the products and messaging of an altogether disparate audience.
A digital brief is not a pre-requisite to a pop up shop in Shoreditch with its own hashtag that can be reverse graffitied on a treasure hunt along Brick Lane. This solution is not going to make Kirsty in Sleaford any more likely to switch the kids’ packed lunch choice.
We are of course jumping ahead to media, which should never be the approach to producing a strong idea and digital is at its strongest when integrated into part of a wider campaign. It just strikes me that the responsibility of ensuring that the right message gets to the right audience lies in the hands, not of the media agency, but of the strategists. This should be viewed as an exciting opportunity that allows us to implement some real human insight and understanding.