How clients benefit

Clients are able to reconcile conflicts within their communications, select the most appropriate service for the job in hand, improve project briefing and demand more from their suppliers.

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Communication auditing – understanding and reconciling conflicting objectives

What we do

In today’s competitive environment, organisations focus on the detailed analysis of each campaign they run and base future activity on the results. Some go further and allocate a cost against every response they get, so why is there a need to add to this careful, considered process?

At Town & Town we believe that if the only way to get responses is to constantly run promotions and money saving offers, then the marketing effort has only been successful in a limited way. To truly assess the effectiveness of the current creative work, one needs to look more closely at the brand building component to see whether a bank of goodwill (creative capital) is being created with your customers or eroded.

Good creative work can do more than just sell products and services; it goes beyond a bigger and brighter banner, a larger and more aggressive discount or cash incentive for customers to use your products or services. Truly effective creative can be a key component in building a loyal customer base. With our background and wide experience in creative service provision, we can assess the effectiveness of your creative output and measure it against your competitors.

Here’s a situation you may find familiar…

Sophie was taken aback by the call from her old friend from Uni. Was her company really offering such big discounts to customers that it looked like it was giving the product away, or worse still, going out of business? She called a meeting of her fellow VPs, and didn’t like what she was hearing. Job offers rejected, sales figures down, the bank asking difficult questions, and her CEO worrying about new legislation on handling customer data. Some clear thinking was required.

Finding a solution

Bringing in an independent adviser was the obvious solution – someone with an unbiased view who could offer a completely objective approach to the problem. A full report quickly alerted Sophie to the best way forward, involving a complete rethink of the company’s marketing policy and a move away from aggressive discounting. A programme of brand rebuilding was undertaken with the emphasis on quality over value.

Resulting benefits

With the right creative approach and a more long-term view in the marketing department, Sophie’s company was soon back on track. Greater brand loyalty and improved consumer perceptions filtered through to the employees in the form of increased confidence and higher levels of job satisfaction, and big discounts quickly became a thing of the past.

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Service selection – advising on selection of appropriate creative services

What we do

The way in which creative services are acquired often influences the quality and effectiveness of the work produced by suppliers. Clients generally veer towards one of two extremes, either seeking out the company with the brightest reputation within the industry for their creative work or, at the other extreme, concentrating solely on cost and looking only at the most competitive providers.

It seems unlikely that an organisation would make that kind of mistake, but often we find that the selection process can be subtly diverted from its true course and this is how it ends up.

By setting out in detail the organisation’s requirement for creative services, sensible criteria can be agreed and all supplier applicants measured fairly against it.
At Town & Town we regularly manage this process for clients, and in situations where confidentiality is required, suitable applicants can be selected and shortlisted whilst shielding the client’s identity.

Here’s a situation you may find familiar…

Sam had been charged with beefing up the marketing operation in the UK. This was his first meeting with two new senior marketing execs, Chloe and Vic, and they had very different ideas about the way forward. Chloe was keen to use the agency from her old fashion brand, while Vic wanted to go with a set-up in Singapore who ‘could beat anyone in the UK on price and worked on jobs overnight’. Sam wasn’t convinced either way.

Finding a solution

“Well, I can see both these agencies making a valuable contribution to the business,” Sam said, “so here’s an idea. Let’s get someone in who can independently assess our needs, draw up a list of requirements – a complete specification of all the tasks that need taking care of, both here in the UK and in all our other offices. That way we keep emotion out of the decision.”

Resulting benefits

Armed with a clear specification, Sam was able to quantify the requirement and recruit suitable agencies accordingly, confident that he was embarking on a number of solid, ongoing contractual relationships. By choosing this route, he avoided the pitfalls of the ‘one size fits all’ solution in which both strategic and tactical marketing objectives are rarely well served.

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Brief building – translating requirements into actionable tasks for creatives

What we do

The single most difficult task for marketeers is good briefing. Creative briefs must avoid suggesting the solution, yet not be so vague as to be unfathomable. When the person giving the briefing does not have an advertising or marketing background, it makes the task doubly difficult.

Problems can also arise when someone at a senior level has to take an active part in the creative process, or when someone from outside the creative environment is asked to manage a major project. These circumstances have a habit of arising at times of tension within an organisation when major changes are afoot and good decisions are vital.

We help clients get the brief right by using appropriate language to communicate key fundamentals so that the creative supplier is able to deliver what the client requires and fulfils all aspects of the brief.

Here’s a situation you may find familiar…

Anna felt that she had been dropped in at the deep end. New to the job, she had been asked to oversee a major product launch while HR scrambled to find a replacement for her Marketing Director who had just left the company at short notice. Struggling to forge a good relationship with the agency, she just didn’t feel that they knew what she wanted.

Finding a solution

Fortunately for Anna, the company understood the need for good communication. An external specialist was called in to translate the new product launch objectives into a clear and appealing brief, so Anna was left to get on with the job she had been brought in to do, and the agency were left to deliver the launch on time and on budget.

Resulting benefits

With one success story under her belt, Anna was encouraged to learn from the experience and spend time working on thorough, clear briefs to the agency. By the time a new Marketing Director was appointed, she felt that things were under control and that she could continue to extract more value from the agency in terms of commitment and creative output.

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Supplier partnering – improving two-way communication and streamlining workflows

What we do

It is not unusual to hear suppliers say that their clients just won’t let them help them. At Town & Town we know exactly what they mean, as clients often fail to give their suppliers the opportunity to contribute to the marketing process. More often, suppliers are simply on the receiving end of difficult jobs with impossible deadlines.

Busy marketeers are unlikely to have the time to sit down with their suppliers and listen to their suggestions for improving quality and workflow, but creative suppliers often have a unique understanding of the client’s business and can offer useful comparisons with the working practices gained from their other clients.

Similar issues arise with workflow, where internal systems are inadequate to handle ever-increasing volumes, and are clearly not ‘fit for purpose’.
As good listeners, unbiased in our views and with the time and skills required, we are well placed to develop better working relationships and more efficient workflow systems for our clients.

Here’s a situation you may find familiar…

“What’s going on?” Account Exec Sarah had every reason to be annoyed with her in-house Design Manager, Dom. She couldn’t show the visuals to her client – they just weren’t good enough – and two days had been lost out of what was already a tight schedule.

“I suggest you get this fixed – and if you don’t have the time, then bring in someone from outside to sort out the problems with workflow.” Dom definitely didn’t have the time

Finding a solution

There was obviously a breakdown in communication here that was leading to poor outcomes. Dom enlisted the help of outside professionals with special expertise in creative workflows and briefing, and followed their suggestions for the creation of briefing templates, service level agreements, order processing systems and a range of other fail-safe measures that tightened up the process for all involved. No more jobs were taken on without a proper brief and an agreed delivery date.

Resulting benefits

By improving communication between departments and setting up a professional workflow system, Dom soon saw big improvements in morale and output, with the creatives being left to get on with what they do best. And Sarah found that she had less cause for complaint when she dropped in on Dom and his creative team.

 

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