We want to be innovative (maybe)!
As I sat in the meeting, I heard the words ‘This is an important issue to our members. We need to adopt an innovative approach to achieve the best possible outcomes for them.’
So we drafted an innovative strategy, based on and tested through focus group research with the stakeholders that we needed to influence. It included the tested messages that would resonate, have impact and deliver the best chance of achieving the results.
‘What are your thoughts?’ I was asked by the client during one of the focus groups. I told him that my thoughts weren’t as relevant as the panel sitting in front of the one-way mirror.
The strategy was supported, in fact embraced by the steering committee, and a budget larger than any other campaign they had run, was allocated to it. But then it went to the Board, the advertising agency, the photographer, the new spokesperson and things began to change.
The Board didn’t want a campaign launch ‘because it’s not something we usually do’. The agency felt the messaging needed to change, the photographer had his own ideas of graphic representation and so the innovation was slowly eroded. Six months after the strategy was submitted, I looked back at what had been done. It was almost exactly the same as the previous campaigns, except this time the client had incorporated social media.
One of our key recommendations was to market test the messaging, the visuals and the creative. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. So the input of the people who attended the initial focus groups melted into the uninformed opinions of the grey suit brigade. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent and wasted.
Sadly, the results were also the same and the members who needed the support, the members who had no say in the approach, were the real losers.
Innovation is easy to want, but needs courage to be implemented.
By David Hawkins