By Greg Berube, February 19, 2012
I’ve been in the Branding game for more than 20 years. One of the reasons I’ve enjoyed the industry is the lack of real rules. This may sound strange, but with branding being a creative game, conforming isn’t the most natural path!
Comments like “we don’t do it that way” or “it needs to be like this” are far too limiting for the Creative Branding people.
One test I have used in the past to judge the level of “acceptable” is to put a solution in front of the client that answers the criteria but is very, very liberal – just to see the reaction and body language in the room. Believe me, you can learn a great deal, plus give yourself a benchmark and an understanding of the boundaries.
That being said there are a few rules of the industry. These are simple and can really guide your path or career.
1. You must be able to do the work – simple, you need to be able to understand the problem and put forward reasonable solutions.
2. You must be able to present – this one always surprised me, how can you be in a communications industry and have a fear of presentations? You must be able to convincingly communicate and sell your idea.
3. You must be financially responsible – responsible to the internal budget – it’s part of your job to drive profit.
As the world changed there are now a few more considerations:
1. 1+1=3. This is important – – all solutions MUST drive revenues for the client. The client may appreciate your ideas but if you can’t turn it into revenue it will most likely die.
2. The CFO gets two votes. In today’s corporate world the CEO or the VP Marketing will not have the last word on your solution. The CFO will hold the final card – again, you must convince this “show me the money” person – that your solution will equal dollars.
This may not sound as “fun” as it should be – but if you get the CFO on-board with your thoughts and direction early, you will have a better chance of your solutions succeeding. You can establish boundaries and tolerances and still have enough room for creative interpretation.
Always remember – money talks! Learn how to talk the money.