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Author: Team DIGO

Take The Word “Brief” Seriously

The following post is an excerpt from Digital@Speed, authored by digital marketing guru Mark DiMassimo. Visit the official website here to download your free copy today.

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Ernest Hemingway is said to have created the shortest short story ever. Over lunch at the Algonquin Round Table in New York City, Hemingway bey his writer friends he could write a compelling tale in only six words. His lunch mates happily bet $10 each that he couldn’t do it. Hemingway scribbled six words on a napkin, then passed it around. Each writer read the napkin and immediately conceded Hemingway had won. The six words: “For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.”

At DiMassimo Goldstein, we could say, “We’ll get you to a better place and we’ll get you there quicker.” But we say, “Higher standards. Shorter runways.”

So let’s not ever make each other guess which part of a brief is the important part. Let’s just include the important part. Let’s make sure our briefs are simple, compelling and crystal clear. Nothing in an agency is more sacred. – From the DIGO Standard .

I like to think that it’s called a brief for a reason. This is not about “minimalism” or some fetish for curtness. Before a brief can be a tool for getting the right creative work or media thinking out of a team, a brief is a tool for getting thoughts focused. Focused thinking is elegant. An elegant solution is everything that is necessary to solve a problem, and not one thing more. Looking at it from the other directions, you want it as simple as possible, but no simpler.

Think problem/solution. Question/answer. Stimulus/response. Just as listening well is essential to communicating effectively, defining the problem is essential to creating a solution.

 

Tom Christmann Joins The Don’t Get Me Started Podcast

Agency Partner and Chief Creative Officer Tom Christmann has been a busy man as of late. Aside from spearheading our awesome creative department, he’s been recording podcasts – and great ones at that.

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This time it’s the Don’t Get Me Started Podcast, hosted by Dan Balser, the advertising head at the Creative Circus in Atlanta. For a little over fifty minutes, Tom takes us through a timeline of his career, recounting pivotal moments and events that have altered his philosophy and the processes behind how he works. Other topics Tom and Dan discuss are subcultures and how they align with the advertising industry; the advantages of game theory; the importance of a work-life balance; how to review a portfolio; the Mad Men Bowling league; and the challenges facing the industry today.

This podcast has been years in the making, but the conversation was well worth the wait. Listen to the the full episode below.

 

And, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out Tom’s last podcast appearance HERE.

 

Craft Your Questions

The following post is an excerpt from Digital@Speed, authored by digital marketing guru Mark DiMassimo. Visit the official website here to download your free copy today.

It’s not hard to find the smartest person in the room. Just listen for the best questions.

Take time and care to develop your questions. Think about what’s most important. You’ll get better answers. And more importantly, you’ll get answers you can use.

Ant think about using questions to create engagement in social and digital media. Questions are a great way to engage, and the answers can be surprising and valuable as well.

 

Game Changing Isn’t Game Winning

The following post is an excerpt from Digital@Speed, authored by digital marketing guru Mark DiMassimo. Visit the official website here to download your free copy today.

I love game changers. They drive the world forward. They are the natural force in national selection. They are the good guys of business. And I want them to win. I want them to end up on top.

But, often they don’t. Because game changing and game winning don’t automatically go together. Think about it this way: Innovation creates a window of opportunity. The window opens with the introduction of the change. It closes when the new way is copied, tweaked, improved and deployed by the competition.

What the game changer does between the opening and the closing of that window is everything. If you move quickly to own the change, to own it in the marketplace, to own it in the minds of your target audience, then you make it much more difficult for your much larger and richer competitors to co-opt that innovation.

Between the opening and closing of the window, there is DIGO.

 

Simplest Possible Explanation – ANA’s Media Kickback Report

Our Chief, Mark DiMasismo, takes to the DiGo Beach to shed some light on the controversy surrounding the recent Association of National Advertisers (ANA) report on media kickbacks. To see the full transcript, scroll down below.

Mark DiMassimo On Media Kickbacks from DiMassimo Goldstein on Vimeo.

Transcript:

“So a lot of folks want to know what’s all this fuss about kickbacks – media kickbacks – that the ANA (the Association of National Advertisers) and the 4A’s (the American Association of Advertising Agencies) are squabbling about in public. In fact, the ANA, which represents the nation’s largest advertisers, is about to release a report that is predicted to say that most holding companies and agencies are taking kickbacks. Now I don’t know that that’s the fact, and I don’t know that that’s in the report, but that’s what’s being said in the press. And the 4A’s, which represents all the large agencies and holding companies, is coming back and saying ‘before you release your report, ANA, make sure that you have the facts’.

 So what is this? What do they mean by kickbacks? I wanted to talk to you about this. I care a lot about it because I run an independent agency. And Independent agencies aren’t necessarily represented by either of those groups.

 So we’re on the DiMassimo Goldstein beach here. Let’s look at these bowls of sand. Advertiser: let’s say that this is your media budget (holding bowl 1). And here it is again (holding bowl 2). And this is the independent agency bowl (bowl 1); as you can see, it’s transparent and nearly full. And that’s all your sand right there. In this other bowl, the holding company bowl (bowl 2), they’re probably going to tell you there’s more in this bowl than there is in the other bowl (bowl 1). But if you were to get really close, you would see that there is actually less – maybe 15% – 20% less – sand in this bowl (bowl 2). Why is there less sand in this bowl? I’ll tell you why. Because what is predicted to be finally reported by the ANA is that the holding companies are taking a little bit of the sand from each of those bowls and filling up their big, hidden crystal bowl that they keep in the back room, and are now challenging the 4A’s to prove that they have. But let me tell you, as an independent agency competing against the holding companies for years, I have long suspected and heard from many people on the inside that this bowl does, in fact, exist. And that while holding companies will promise clients ridiculously low commissions in order to get business, in fact, clients are paying bigtime in ways that they can’t track or see. Because the big bowls of media money are hidden, and the only things they see are the small bowls on their report. 

 So in short, since we don’t know all the facts and can’t know all the facts until this report comes out, and the lawsuits ensue, the fighting between the big advertisers and the big media companies works its way through the court, and there are decisions, etc. Since we can’t know, I would offer you this: in the meantime, there are many good independent agencies. DiMassimo Goldstein and our media arm, Proove, are completely transparent. Clients do not have to wait for a court to tell them where their money is, because it’s 100% evident and transparent, because there only is 1 bowl. There’s only 1 business here – only 1 bowl – and all of the sand that’s in it is your money, the client money. It’s all in there, 100% accounted for. So all of your money goes to helping you build your brand and sell in media. I hope that solved it.


See Like An Optimizer

Optimizers have a way of seeing.

The following post is an excerpt from Digital@Speed, authored by digital marketing guru Mark DiMassimo. Visit the official website here to download your free copy today.

If I can’t get this across to you, then nothing else in this book will get you all the way there. You have to be able to project things forward in your mind. Like a chess master, to think trough the next few moves. You have to develop a feel for how things might go. The truth is, we all have this radar. It’s just human instinct. But some of us have better access to it than others.

This has been scientifically proven. If a threat – say a rat or a coyote – enters your peripheral vision, your little hairs will stand on end before you even consciously know what’s going on. Something in you knew, and reacted.

We know. Even when we think we don’t. Even when we’re so invested in the idea that we don’t that we’d swear to it ten ways to Sunday. We know.

We need a way of getting it out. I write a journal. I meditate. I play devil’s advocate with my partners and ask them to do the same with me. I indulge in focused worry sessions, to make sure i’m not missing anything.

Project forward, and optimize.

 

Our Top 8 Takeaways From The New York Festivals

Last week, we attended the New York Festivals – World’s Best Advertising creative sessions and awards show. Going in, we didn’t know what to expect. Throughout the day, we listened in on four panel discussions and saw an inspiring award show in the evening. By the end of the night, we felt extremely motivated to create work that will positively impact and change the world.

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The 4 panels:

Content Disruption with Beth Collins Ellard (AdCouncil), Maya Draisin (WIRED), David Angelo (David & Goliath), and Jennifer Bremner (Unilever)

Is Content Marketing the Only Marketing Left? with Andrew Hanelly (Manifest), Duncan Milne (Imprint), Jacquie Loch (St. Joseph Communications Media Group), and Rachel Jo Silver (Love Stories TV)

Pushing Buttons – and Cultural Boundaries with John Mescall (McCann), Gary Osifchin (Mondelez International), Josy Paul (BBDO India), and Jenna Young (Weber Shandwick)

Beyond Your Portfolio with Raj Ramamurthy (Ogilvy), Jessica Shriftman (Weiden & Kennedy), and Nick Smatt (BBDO)

What We We Learned:

1. Know Yourself: In the first panel, Jennifer Bremner, brand director for Dove Beauty, said “If you know what you stand for, it’s easier to take risks.” If you don’t know who you are, you can’t create anything with real confidence. It’s okay to make mistakes along the way, but strive to always be an authentic brand, agency, or individual.

2. Matching Values: “When an agency and a client understand their core values, and share in these values, genius and magic happen.” – David Angelo, founder of David & Goliath. Agencies and clients who are driven by the same purpose will naturally create awesome work together. If values do not match, relationships will inevitably suffer.

3. The Moment: Not every moment is the right moment. Put your idea out into the world when it makes sense, and has the potential to inspire change. Jessica Shriftman, art director at Wieden & Kennedy, waited for the perfect opportunity to share her creative idea for Father’s Day with the right client at the right time. And Delta thanked her for it. You can watch the finished product HERE.

4. Smart Decisions: Jacquie Loch, vice president of content solutions at St. Joseph Communications Media Group, said, “Don’t feel the need to cover every social channel. Find the ones that work for your brand identity and own them.” Rachel Jo Silver, founder of Love Stories TV, also stressed the importance of brands keying in on social media that fits with who they are and reaches their audience: “Think small when selling on big social media.”

5. Channel Emotion: “Goosebumps good” – David Angelo. Content that stirs an emotion you can’t put into words, but can feel, indicates greatness. Underheard in New York, made by Jessica Shriftman and team, is a perfect example of creating lasting emotions and all the feels.

6. The 70/20/10 Rule: This applies to the usage of advertising budgets. Spend 70% on traditional advertising, 20% on nontraditional advertising, and 10% on experimental advertising. This allows for growth while maintaining stability. The 10% may not work out all the time, but when it does it will certainly pay off. And if an agency believes enough in a new idea, it shouldn’t be afraid to financially pitch in to bring that idea to life.

7. Don’t Be Afraid: “At the core, there is a force of courage in all of us and shame/guilt/fear suppresses it.” – David Angelo. Don’t simply look at numbers. If 20% of people hate your campaign and 20% love it, remember that positive reception almost always outshines negative reception. “Without hate, there’s no love.” – Gary Osifchin, VP, Global Brands and Communication, Biscuits Global Category Team, Mondelez International

8. Live Your Truth: It takes bravery and effort to live your truth. “Staying true to yourself will inevitably alienate people. This creates room for the people that support you for being you.” – Gary Osifchin. See how Gary and his team helped Honey Maid live its truth HERE

More Inspiring Work We Saw

Touch the Pickle: watch HERE

McWhopper: watch HERE

Love Has No Labels: watch HERE

Today I’m Brave: watch HERE

Winners from the 2016 NYFA awards show HERE

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Being in the presence of these great marketing minds reinvigorated our purpose as creatives. We aren’t here just for the sake of making print ads and TV commercials. We are here to change society and impact the world for the better. We are here to inspire action.

– Erica Grau (Art Director), Dan Hickey (Junior Copywriter)


7 Things Challenger Brands Do Differently

Learn from challenger brands.

The following post is an excerpt from Digital@Speed, authored by digital marketing guru Mark DiMassimo. Visit the official website here to download your free copy today.

Apple. Virgin. Southwest. JetBlue. Crunch. Snapple. Groupon. BlueFly. Zappos. The Motley Fool. What do these brands have in common? They’re challengers, and successful ones at that.

They’ve mastered the art of zagging where others have tended to zig. They’ve taken on the goliaths of their industries and come out on top. The truth is, it’s a challenging world out there, and every marketer these days needs to be a successful challenger or go down.

Market leadership doesn’t create an exception. Look at Citibank and IBM, for example. By becoming their own best competition, they’ve looked like ready challengers, reinvented their businesses and continued to grow.

Here’s what challengers do differently:

1) The top dog is INVOLVED. Intimately.

Some folks think the reason they got degrees and big titles was so that they could independently run their own empire. Some of these people are actually pretty smart. But nine times out of ten, this attitude will do them in.

A boss is not a meddler to be avoided. If you were playing chess, you wouldn’t leave your Queen in the background and try to fight it out endlessly with your lesser pieces. Or would you?

Forget the org chart. Every player on the board is on your team. Use them!

If you want to make things happen @speed, you want the least distance between you and your boss. And you want to access the power your boss has to smooth situations and to make good tactical decisions into great strategic initiatives. Plus, you want the power to change things that you’re not personally responsible for, because changing those things will make all the difference in your ability to create success. So, you bring your boss in as a collaborator and ally. As much as possible, you lead hand in hand. It’s the challenger’s way to use every last person.

2) The advertising conversation and the business conversation are THE SAME CONVERSATION.

Don’t separate what you’re doing from why you’re doing it, even for a moment. You never want to be the one saying, “But we failed with work that was on the strategy we were given!” That is a level of responsibility, but it’s the wrong level.

You want to be responsible for the success of the enterprise. You want the brand and business to reach its full potential. You want to use not just your authority but your influence. Because nothing beats being a part of something great and you don’t want to leave that to chance.

In this context, great advertising is advertising that works for the business and brand. It brings the business strategy to life. It creates the connection that reflects the intentions of the business while both suggesting and fulfilling its promise.

This is where experience meets selling meets branding.

3) The work is seen as the ultimate weapon for conquering the competition.

Where is the unfair advantage to be found? You are not in a position to outspend. You’re not going to break the law. Or trying to change it to favor you. But you can pack more power into the product, the packaging, the service, the story, the propaganda. You can be smarter about the technology, the testing strategy, more ingenious and industrious about the optimizations.

You can win it in the marketplace of ideas. So, do that.

4) The brand is seen as a precious asset and the ultimate defensive fortification against copycats and commoditisers.

Challengers build unique brands and they value them above all else. Customers are intensely loved, but they come and go. Employees are highly valued, but the sort who are attracted to a challenger business can only be held by a great brand. A unique culture and point of view is often the only thing to hold onto in the perfect storm of growth.

A brand is armor and a full tank of gas. A brand is everything. And you only need a business to build one!

5) The VISION of the top dog drives the advertising.

Steve Jobs met every other week for intensive sessions with Lee Clow, the creative chairman of his advertising agency. In the most successful challenger businesses, the vision for the brand and advertising comes from the top. No question about it.

That kind of courage and purity of vision can’t be bought. It can’t be outsourced. No committee could sustain it. For a business that has its founder to get the full advantage of that fact, the vision must be owned and driven from the top.

6) The vision of the agency and the vision of the client are complimentary and synergistic.

The mutual inspiration society should include client and agency, vigorous discussions, sharing inspiration, lots of choices, and plenty of going back to the well.

The most sophisticated team wins.

7) Decisions get made in meetings, not just in between.

In big, bloated bureaucracies, meetings only ratify decisions that are made elsewhere. Which is why most people in those places feel that there time is wasted in meetings. Because it is.

But you don’t have time to waste. So you’re not going to protect your own ego or anyone else’s by pretending for a second to agree with what you don’t. You’re going to have real conversations. In front of whoever is there. And when some people complain about that and they try to negotiate with you to stop the open, inclusive, challenging, passionate dialogue, you are going to say, “I understand how you feel. And, no. Absolutely not. Because that would be replacing occasional discomfort with the endless pain of mediocrity and failure. Which you wouldn’t tolerate for long… you’d be gone. So, no! Let’s just agree to be respectful to each other, to put the good of the work first, and to say exactly what   is on our minds.”