What’s Wrong with an “Off-the-Shelf” Solution? (Part One)

What makes a great advertising or advocacy campaign? Why do some hit the mark and others fall flat? Our most successful client relationships start with an innovative approach rooted in a deep, evolving understanding of the problem.

We often say, “Don’t call and say you need an ad.” An ad may be exactly what’s necessary. But it just as easily may not. Instead, the E&V approach is to focus on the key problem or opportunity. Before settling on a one-size-fits-all approach, consider this: What does the communication need to achieve, and what action do you want your audience to take?

Eckel & Vaughan develops unique solutions for clients, leaning heavily on six key principles:

  1. Break through the clutter to arrest your targets’ attention.
  2. Consider more cost-effective methods to reach your target audience.
  3. Look inward first before creating outward change.
  4. Are you communicating with the wrong audience?
  5. Evolve and embrace new communications channels.
  6. Be authentic.

In Part One, we will delve into the first 3 principles. In Part Two, we’ll tackle principles 4-6.

Key Principles for Developing a Campaign that Makes an Impact

1 Break through the clutter to arrest your targets’ attention.

In the early 2000s, Dove was being overshadowed by competitors, and executives began looking for a way to revive the brand. They conducted a study of more than 3,000 women in 10 countries to learn more about women’s priorities and interests. What they found was startling. Only 2% of the women interviewed considered themselves beautiful. This key insight led to a huge opportunity. As they were making a push to move beyond soap and introduce other products such as shampoo and body wash, could they also start a conversation about beauty? Would a campaign that tapped into what women were thinking and feeling help Dove become more relevant?

Ten years after its launch, Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty is one of marketing’s most talked-about success stories. The campaign has expanded from billboards to television ads and online videos. The 2006 video, “Evolution,” went viral before “viral” was even a thing. And, Dove’s 2013 spot, “Real Beauty Sketches,” which shows women describing their appearances to a forensic sketch artist, became the most-watched video ad of all time.

This is a critical insight, especially when organizations are attempting to earn attention in such a noisy world. Eckel & Vaughan leveraged this principle in North Carolina’s “Talk It Out” campaign, with TV and radio ads that captured interest and started conversations.

2 Consider more cost-effective methods to reach your target audience.

When TowerCo came to us in need of help reaching a small and elusive target audience— site acquisition consultants—its larger competitors advertised almost exclusively through trade publications, which generated leads but were very expensive.

We studied TowerCo’s target audience and devised new ways to reach them, including using social media advertising and paid search for the first time and redirecting TowerCo’s trade show budget to creating a high-impact event.

By leveraging these cost-effective tactics, TowerCo substantially grew its return on investment, generated thousands of leads and strengthened its brand equity. In fact, the approach was so successful that it wasn’t long before many of TowerCo’s competitors had followed suit.

3 Look inward first before creating outward change.

Two of NC’s Local Management Entities/Managed Care Organizations (LME-MCOs) merged in 2015. This was just one of several mergers taking place across the industry at the request of the state. Eckel & Vaughan was charged with establishing a new brand that would remain relevant through future consolidations. As we began work, we noticed that many employees had grown nervous about the future of their company and the security of their jobs. As a way to boost employee engagement, we involved them in the creative process. That strategy gave employees ownership over the new brand and the future of their company and enabled them to become effective advocates for the newly created LME-MCO when the new brand was introduced to the region.

Dive deeper into principles 4-6 in Part Two (coming 6/11).