Do more than be where your audience is

Be where your audience is. Duh, right? That’s like saying “water is wet” or “Hollywood loves remakes.” Not so fast. That statement needs to be dumped, or at least evolved. Being where they are isn’t enough. To use an analogy, it’s like going to the restaurant-bar on “lady’s eat free night” looking for a companion. Sure, there are a lot of females in attendance. But most came to have a drink and hang out with friends. Very few are looking for what you’re selling with your bare chest and popped collar.

So how should that thinking evolve? If you’re just where they are, won’t they eventually choose you? Nope. Borrowing from the bar analogy again, you’re just an annoyance standing in the middle of the dance floor trying to get their attention with your attempt at the Milly Rock. You’re interrupting their streaming/IG-ing/FB-ing/TV-ing.

So here’s the shift: rather than being where they are, you need to help them find you. Because they’re looking. They’re sitting in front of the demi-god Google, garnering wisdom from her all-knowing algorithms. They’re seeking out IG influencers to show them how to do this or that. They’re tapping out queries on Amazon and seeking out blogs of interest. They may not even know they’re looking for you, but they are. They spend an average of 12 hours a day connected showing you they are. They’ve shown you that through their search queries, page visits and streaming selections. They’ve shown you through their social follows, YouTube views and app downloads. And, if you believe the internet rumors, they’ve shown you through their private conversations your devices are listening to. (Okay, we don’t know about that last one, but we think it’s probably true.)

The key is accessing the data and using it. And there are a plethora of strategies to do so. The digital tools at a great agency’s disposal are endless (and BTW, Faktory is a great agency). Behavioral targeting, contextual targeting, demographic targeting, content targeting, retargeting, geofencing, SEM, SEO, and on and on and on. And tying them all together into a comprehensive, successful strategy. Knowing what people want helps you narrow down your audience to those who are most apt to buy. Then you’re not only where they are, you’re what they’re looking for.

So find a great agency (again, Faktory) that has the digital tools and knows how to strategically use them. And you can leave your attempts at the Milly Rock at home.


Want an agency that understands digital media marketing? Contact us.


How an outside perspective helps

Nobody knows your company better than the people within it. You know why it works, what separates it from the competition. Better yet, you know you’ve got a great team of talented, hardworking people. Driven to help the company succeed, because when it does, they feel that success. With all of that being true, it would seem to only make sense to produce all levels of marketing in house.

But the above factors, despite being positive, can actually counterintuitively hurt when creating consumer facing materials. It can be all too easy, understandably so, to become too close to the product or service you’re providing. It happens all the time — people know what they’re providing is great, and since they work with it every day, they can assume everybody else does as well. Or, on the other hand, they fall into the trap of thinking, “Hey, I know it’s great, all I need to do is let people know then they’ll come in droves.”

It would be nice if it were that easy. But no matter what you’re providing, there’s going to be competition. And people need a reason to care enough to watch an ad, let alone remember it. That’s where the outside perspective comes in. Despite appearances, advertising agencies aren’t random groups of crazy people daydreaming about robot unicorns destroying a venetian uprising of rock-people. (Well, maybe sometimes).

A good agency is a collection of smart, trained, and strategic thinkers used to solving the problem of getting noticed for a variety of brands. They’re able to take the knowledge and love from your company, then take a step back to analyze ways to allow an outsider to connect with that passion. Able to see things a little differently, call out what you may think is common knowledge, or simply package that branding in a way to make it stand out.

The best way to make it stand out? Memorability. A strong campaign doesn’t use others as a crux. Too often we see tech companies trying to mimic Apple, or athletic brands copying Nike. When the average person sees those, the takeaway is usually, “Oh, that looks like a Nike or Apple ad.” When Nike and Apple, besides having great products, got there by doing it their way first. By being memorable.

Think of an agency as a necessary extension for your brand. We take what you’ve mastered and use our expertise and knowledge to package in a memorable, palatable, digestible way for your customers. It’s hard, frustrating, and drives you a little crazy. But as you’ve probably gathered, that’s what draws us to this in the first place.


Looking for an outside perspective? Contact us.


Radio advertising: we can all do better, can’t we?

Note: when I refer to “radio,” I mean all forms of audio advertising. Broadcast. Playlists. Pre-roll as you listen to your favorite chef’s podcast teaching you how to cook the perfect turducken.

What the AM-drive-time happened to great radio advertising? What happened to humor? What happened to using the theater of the mind? What happened to “Real Men of Genius” from Bud Lite and Ortho’s “Fire Ant Killer?” What happened to being smart, witty, or, at the very least, mildly interesting? It’s like ad agencies have given up. They’ve said “uncle.”

And, I get it. Great radio is hard. As a writer, I’ve sat at the keyboard, finger-wrestling with copy as I try to figure out how to keep Mr. or Mrs. Listener from voting me off the island by skipping my ad. It takes time to write something well. You have to noodle. You have to rewrite. And, time and time again, you have to start over. But it’s something clients should demand of their agencies. Because it’s well worth it. Ask Motel 6 and their agency the Richards Group, creators of what I believe is the greatest radio campaign of all time: Tom Bodette. Radio built that brand and continues to build it to this day. It’s won more Radio Mercury Awards (radio’s most prestigious competition) than any other campaign in history. So, a little advice on how to write great radio from an agency that also has multiple Radio Mercury Award experience.

First, don’t forget the three elements that make any great ad (audio, video, static, whatever). Those are a truth, an emotion, and a story. For more on that, read our post on the First Rule of Advertising.

Second, ensure your agency keeps it simple. Consider this Radio Mercury Award winner we did for the Utah Education Association. One voice. No music. The concept is clean, simple, and memorable. You don’t have to inundate your audio ad with sound effects. It’s the concept and the writing that matters. The best steaks don’t need steak sauce. The best radio ads don’t need a cacophony of effects, music and voices.

Third, the ads you run should surprise people. I’ve always considered great audio ads a sort of theme park ride. There are unexpected drops, twists and turns. Say things in ways never said before. Express your product promises in ways never expressed before. Bud Lite’s “Real Men of Genius” does this. Mr. Giant Foam Finger Maker? Mr. Bumper Sticker Writer? Mr. Over-Zealous Foul Ball Catcher? And it’s not just the titles that make me see something I’ve seen my entire life differently. Everything about the ads creates a new view of someone we ought to be honoring. Like Mr. Silent Killer Gas Passer. Yep, the real geniuses here are the writers of that campaign.

And fourth, approve great audio ads. In the end, clients decide what type of radio they run. If your agency presents scripts that make you laugh or feel some other emotion deeply, approve them with as little tweaking as possible. Move ahead. Get them produced and on the air. You responded emotionally to the ad. Others will, too.


The marriage of agency and production.

Recently, we had a client come to us with what can only be described as a “positive problem”. Through the sponsorship of an event, they had been awarded some national ad-time during the broadcast. The issue? They were made aware of this 10 days before the live event would be on air. They came to us asking what existing work they should run. To their surprise (and in all honesty, ours as well), we recommended that they shoot something new instead. We assured them that we could logistically make it happen, that it would be affordable, and most importantly, that it would be good. Sure, we had great existing work that we could run, but these new spots would be shot with the event in mind, making them a perfect fit. 10 grueling days later, we not only had a happy client with FIVE beautiful TV commercials, we had validated a process that Faktory had been working on behind the scenes, no pun intended, for the past 18 months. With the overlap of agency and production services, we were able to create work that was efficient, under budget, and timely. What more could a client ask for?

Logistical Nightmares

Coming up with a great video idea is only half the battle. The other half comes from the perfect alignment of cast, crew, locations, schedules, and equipment. Given the previous example, this would have been nearly impossible to pull off with such a short deadline. Traditionally, the agency comes up with the idea and then passes if off to a production house to figure out how to actually make it happen. With Faktory’s new model, we were able to have these two processes nearly synchronized. The creative team would pitch an idea and was given immediate feedback by production as to whether or not that could be executed within 10 days. This saved precious time and kept the budget in check from the very beginning. Rushed schedules generally mean the immediate sacrifice of staying under budget. With this project, the production team was able to give constraints to the agency while they came up with concepts, keeping the ideas fiscally grounded.

Good Content is Timely Content

Oreo nearly broke the internet with their infamous Super Bowl tweet. Ever since then, it’s been a race to see who could be the most relevant. With agency and production house under one roof, this has been the biggest advantage for Faktory over the past year. It allows us to respond quickly to current events and create content that is tailored specifically for its end destination. Producing five spots in 10 days is about as timely as it gets. Does this approach work for every project? Of course not. No agency wants to rush through a campaign in a week. This is simply another wrench to add to the toolbox. We’ll continue to shoot and produce in the more traditional sense, but this gives us the flexibility to say “yes” when most others can only say “no”. We understand that “content” is currently the king, and we want to be best prepared to create that content in any situation possible.


Ideas that scare us.

Alright class, time to sit down crisscross style — today we’ve got a scary story. One day there was a company, and it was scared to do things differently. It saw others, sometimes even competitors, implementing successful, new marketing techniques, and thought “hey, I want to do that!”

And they did. Copying styles, tones, avenues. Some would say they lost their very souls. In the end, they were completely forgotten. Why? Because in a world of copycats, it’s easy to get lost in the herd.

How to avoid that pitfall

The title may have been a bit of a spoiler: to stand out, a company needs to do things that scare it. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean creating advertising campaigns consisting of roaming ravaging groups of zombie dinosaurs, although we’re not opposed to the idea. No, it’s a simple matter of taking some risks, believing in concepts, executions, and ideas while having the fortitude to follow through with them.

Now obviously, these ideas can’t just be random nonsensical concepts akin to some confusing piece in a modern art gallery. They have to reflect your brand, the values it represents, and be supported with a sound strategy. But these aren’t constraints, they’re guides, and still leave quite the box to play in.

That doesn’t sound too scary

In a vacuum, this all seems pretty simple and straightforward. But doing things different is inherently slightly risky. But the best things in life come from taking risks. Think of it like asking your crush out back in high school. Yea, they may say no, and yep, that sucks. But you learn and grow from it, moving on to grander things. Or, and this is crazy but hear us out — they say yes, and you have an awesome time, all for having the temerity to do something you believe in.

And when it comes to business and marketing, putting yourself out there in a potentially vulnerable scenario can seem a little similar. But when it’s backed with sound strategy and reflects your company’s values, in our minds the biggest risk is not to take any. We can’t lie — there’s obviously potential consumers won’t love it as much as you do — although with a strong understanding of who they are, the odds of that happening grow increasingly unlikely. But in a glass half full mindset, if it does turn out you missed the mark with your idea, you actually learn more about your customer’s behaviors and beliefs than you would have by rolling out something that’s been done before. And at the end of the day, the worst thing possible for any piece of marketing is for it to not be memorable.

Inspiration to learn from

Every huge company people know and love has gotten there by pursuing scary ideas, by challenging their customers and elevating the dare we say it art form of advertising. Think Apples, Nike, Old Spice or Geico. However, herein lies a problem we see far too often. People see these companies and their success and feel like replicating them is the right answer. Think of how many tech companies you see copying Apple, how many sports apparel brands crib the exact same tone as Nike.

You know you’ve seen it, but probably have a more difficult time remembering the names of those companies. Why? Because Apple and Nike took the risk to pursue scary ideas first, so they have that tone and feeling almost monopolized. To be successful, it’s imperative to pursue your own version of a scary-smart groundbreaking idea.

So what should really scare all of us? Simply, the mundane.


Failure isn’t okay. It’s essential.

In advertising, we love winning. We love it so dang much that our industry created thousands of awards just so we could win something. But the reality is there are campaigns that underperform, processes that could be smoother, and clients that leave. And yah, an agency is really admitting they have flaws. Spoiler: all of us do. Perfection is a myth. Failure isn’t just ok. It’s an opportunity to regroup.

Admittedly, failures of any kind sting. Sure, we’re often told to accept it and move on. But what if we embraced it? Consider the following.

Stagnancy is worse

If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll never reach your full potential. The odds of failure increase when you try something new. In the ad world, we’re always trying something new. It’s a new target. It’s a new media strategy. It’s pushing for creative that’s never been done before. You’re not going to get it right every single time. It’s a high risk for high reward business. If you don’t try new things, you don’t learn. If you’re too scared to fail, you’re holding back. Playing it safe is for children.

Failure is often the price for excellence. It creates experience. And experience is essential.

Setbacks reveal strength

No one sets out to fail. After a setback, you get to mope. Then, you get to work. It takes grit to own up to error and improve. The resilience behind a blunder is what really marks success. Failure can be one of the greatest motivators out there. It offers something success cannot; it ignites newfound purpose.

If we could be vulnerable for a moment, we’ll open up about how we lost one of our largest clients. They decided to create their own in-house agency. It’s becoming a common trend. The transition was graceful, and we maintained mutual respect, but we were shaken. It was a scary position to be in, but it revealed our guts. To oversimplify, we worked our butts off to find new clients. We’d like to believe we never took our longstanding clients for granted, but we’re as vigilant as ever.

Failure makes us stronger. Cue Britney Spears’ “Stronger.”

Errors ignite change

Failure exposes flaws, but it also provides opportunities to create solutions. It’s a time to re-evaluate. In order to get better, you have to note what went wrong and why. When the dust settles, you have to take the time to tally up the mistakes, look at the metrics, and then make adjustments. This kind of growth is hard. We’re not saying it doesn’t suck, we’re just saying it’s necessary.

Failure sparks improvement. You have to make effective changes.

It’s human to fail

Mistakes are ok, but not if you make the same one twice. Yes, failure kickstarts an uncomfortable process. But it helps those who push beyond it thrive. Don’t trust an individual or agency that doesn’t have a redemption story. People who know the pain of shooting high and failing — and have used that failure to become better — tend to be people you want on your team. *Whispers* Like Faktory.


Importance of Emotion in your Brand Story

The world has changed. Hey, that’s life, right? Same thing applies to consumerism and media. At this point we all know the way the vast majority of people consume and interact with information is different than it was fifteen, ten, even five years ago. What hasn’t changed? The importance of evoking emotion through brand stories, regardless of what channel they live in. In fact, in the days of constant consumption in the palm of your hand, it’s even more so now.

Break Through

We’ve always been inundated with constant information. Well, maybe not Grandpappy Jebediah, but we can’t all live that sweet, simple life of backbreaking work. But as you know, the level of distraction has only skyrocketed with the advent of social media, smart phones, and the surreal draw of looking at anything-but-saccharine memes when you should be doing something like, say, writing a blog post.

ANYWAYS, the only way to hook and hold a consumer’s attention, even if only for a brief moment, is employing the oldest trick in advertising — emotion. Funny, heartwarming, empathetic, it can be anything as long as it makes you feel something. Because that brief moment where a person willingly takes the effort to stop and consume a brand message means they’re far more likely to remember it in various situations going forward. And, let’s face it, these days getting that brief moment can be a win in and of itself.

Nobody’s as Invested as You

So far this probably all sounds pretty straightforward. “No doy, random ghostwriter.” First, we agree, let’s bring back “no doy”. Second, while it seems like a no brainer, we want to bring up a major trap that’s easy to fall into — thinking everybody outside your company cares about it. This is nothing new, but with extra divided attentions these days this problem is exacerbated. And we’re not saying what you’re doing is bad, doesn’t matter, or isn’t important.

You’re involved with your company almost every day of your life, you care about it and know what you do for it is good. Sometimes, this can lead businesses to thinking if they just let the public know about their service or product and attach it to a price or deal, they’re good to go. Who wouldn’t be enamored with what you’ve worked so hard on?

The simple fact is that with so much going on in people’s lives, they need a reason to care.

Think about companies or advertisements outside your industry, the ones vying for your attention. The most memorable ones are able to create a connection with you through tying emotion to their brand, making you associate their product or service with said emotion, so you remember them the next time you need something in that category.

Where to Start

It all begins with knowing what your brand inherently stands for. If it’s a fun recreation product, the emotion you evoke should reflect that. It’s about knowing the brand, the company, the people, and what that all stands for, then shaping a compelling narrative to put that on display along with your product or service. It can be incredibly difficult and takes diligence and exploration, but when done just right, nothing is as rewarding.


The Agency Business is a Customer Service Business

All a business wants is to succeed. A lot of the time, however, we’re left wondering what drives that success or how to continue that growth.

At Faktory, we believe it starts with customer service. The success of any business hinges on the relationships it fosters because it’s how we’re able to understand exactly what our clients’ needs are, setting us up to help them accomplish their goals. If that’s something you need, hire us.

If you’re just curious to learn more, here are three traits we’ve found to be vital in delivering the world class customer service our clients have come to expect.

Listening

Listening allows us to have empathy — the ability to step into our clients’ shoes. It’s not a one time thing, either. As companies grow, thrive or even go through struggles, we’re constantly right there with them, listening — giving us the necessary knowledge to wisely solve their problems. Only then can we be confident in the solutions we provide.

Here at Faktory, we taken a page or two out of the listening playbook of our client, Ken Garff (whose tagline is “We hear you”). Companies know themselves better than anyone.

That’s where listening comes in. Without understanding a client’s needs and goals, it’s impossible to know how to help them grow. It’s like when your high schooler fails Trigonometry — we can ground them until they check themselves into a retirement home, but if we listen, we might learn that they don’t understand the material.

Oftentimes, we’re even able to identify potential roadblocks and solutions for clients before they even occur — all simply due to taking the time to learn everything they’re about.

Cultivating Culture

At Faktory, we’ve developed a unique client-first culture, focusing our teams on specific clients and their needs. Our entire agency, be it media planners, account coordinators, creatives or anybody else, has to operate with this singular goal in mind. After all, that’s why we’re here.

Communicating

The second somebody’s unsure of what’s going on with a project or service is the second something’s gone awry. Ensuring everybody’s aware of different processes (and who’s taking care of what) gives everybody peace of mind and takes care of potential problems before they have a chance to occur.

Faktory believes a constant line of communication, flowing both ways, is the only real way to keep everything on track. It works wonders at home with our families, but we’ve found it’s the only way to keep clients happy.

Looking for a team focused on the customer service model? Hire us.


The Making of a Great Commercial

Commercials face more obstacles than a vegan at a chop house. Generally speaking, everyone hates them — commercials, not vegans. The good news is that every spot shares this challenge, making the playing field tough, but fair.

In order to do its job, a television spot has to do two things: catch the audience’s attention and then keep it. In other words, it has to be beyond good. Lucky for you, we’re pretty dang good at going beyond good, so hire us.

A great spot is memorable. To make a great spot, the idea has to be one thing:

Simple.

Oh, and it has to resonate. Sometimes, that means humor. Others, it means a universal truth or emotional connection. Creative agencies are really great at taking any message and giving it new meaning with a fresh idea. Here’s a great example of how we at Faktory have really tugged on the heart strings of parents all around Utah.

Sure, sick kids are an automatic emotional pull. The true task was doing it differently. To really tell people what Primary Children’s Hospital is about, we realized we needed to tell their patients’ stories.

We know when kids are at their weakest, they reveal their true strength. We decided to celebrate that spirit. Because when families are faced with the unthinkable, they search for hope. We wanted to show them a place that’s something more — a place where kids win.

It was a universal truth turned into a simple idea, executed in a way that made people cry (not the ugly kind).

A great spot starts with a great idea. The best ideas survive because of trusting clients.


The power of Brand Equity

The phrase brand equity sounds like jargon. It’s not. Brand equity is developing people’s perception of a product or service. Often, it’s the difference between competitors. It provides an advantage.

Brand equity is valuable. Its value is revealed in a number of ways.

Profit

Brand equity helps create higher price points for products. It’s one reason people are willing to pay more for certain things. For example, grocery stores often have their own generic versions of popular food and beverage brands. More often than not, customers choose the comfort and perceived value of Heinz verses an unknown brand. Even if the ingredients are identical.

Awareness

Consumers are inclined to choose a product or service with a good reputation. For services, such as our client Intermountain Healthcare, brand equity is critical in this regard. Years ago, Faktory helped Intermountain Healthcare rebrand. From there, we’ve dedicated efforts to support that branding.

Because healthcare isn’t always a daily demand for individuals, it’s vital Intermountain’s brand retains its emotional connection. It’s just as important to remain top of mind. Not everyone needs certain specialized care. But in their moment of need, the power of brand equity is revealed in their choice.

Loyalty

The power of brand equity is also evident in consumer loyalty. Consumers can feel attached to brands because of positive brand equity. It’s why one athlete may only wear Under Armor and another only Nike. Both are great companies. Their individual brand equity is the tipping point.

Apple has one of the strongest brands in the world. Their brand equity is so positive people are willing to wait hours in line for their products. Customers are even willing to pay a premium price for it.

Retention

The underrated power of brand equity is the ability to rely on it for unanticipated reasons. No one can predict mistakes, or they wouldn’t make them. Companies aren’t perfect. Brands can blunder. The equity a brand builds can be a safety net. If people like your brand, they tend to extend forgiveness. This is a fact.

Although there are multiple factors that contribute to brand equity, advertising agencies play a huge role in creating it. They’re capable of building brands, reinforcing stories, increasing recognition and beyond. Faktory teams with a variety of clients to get it right.

We treat brands like an organism. It takes figuring out the best route for growth and development, or maintenance.

Behind brand equity is an agency. The power of it drives success.