Frank: Freaking out — is it us or them?
by Mimi Nicklin (@MimiNicklin) Every day, I read someone else’s panicked LinkedIn status talking about how we need to adapt to the “changing media landscape” or “diversified consumer behaviour”. Yawn. Why are we all up on stage freaking out about the medium?
People are people; talk to them as such, wherever they happen to be — authentically, gently and without driving them bonkers! It’s really not that hard.
Yes, you can collect their data, and analyse it, and retarget them into submission but, to be frank, it’s sad when the professionals no longer care about the creative work they’re placing, in lieu of their fear for clickthrough numbers, and percentage completion rates on a spreadsheet.
Did you sell anything?
You might meet your clients’ KPIs this month but did you sell anything at all? A belief, a concept, loyalty or stock in store? Does anyone remember seeing it, or were they watching it auto-play while they double-checked if the broccoli were ready?
Now, I love a good media strategy but I’m bored to tears of defending bad ones. Why did we stop selling ideas and start selling space? Who is winning here, other than our trusted Excel spreadsheets?
As I see it, it may all end in a heartbeat nowadays so, if you don’t plan longer term than this campaign’s digits, you might just get fired. Today, you save your bacon but, tomorrow, someone might ask you to justify why Nike gets you all excited to think outside the media click box but our wonderfully loyal and trusted client today doesn’t.
What happened to telling people a story by capturing their hearts, not their increasingly fast fingers? Give the young ones a set of TikTok tracks they think is ‘lit’, and give us millennials something that makes us laugh, or cry, or feel anything other than frustrated on good old Instagram or YouTube. But take note that doing it in a 6” slot that screams at us, with a flashing gif of a stock photo, an RTB and a web address, may get you your numbers because the audience “watched it through to completion” — yet did anyone watch it? Maybe, with one eye, half of one ear and 223 other thoughts at the same time. But we didn’t care and we probably didn’t click.
So, let’s stop freaking out on stage and go back to trusting what we know — that creativity sells — and stop freaking out our consumers with increasingly shouty ads described as ‘content’.
Stilted content at speed doesn’t sell, whatever medium we put them on. Stories do.
Based in Dubai, Mimi Nicklin (@miminicklin) is managing director of RAPP MEA, an Omnicom company. An experienced leader — she’s led global and regional brands from Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa on both agency- and client side — she believes in the systemisation of empathetic leadership and influence. Mimi considers leadership to be 100% about serving her team, rather than the other way around, and is avidly committed to creating change for good in the industry. She is also a keynote speaker and thought leader. Her new MarkLives column, “Frank”, focuses on being frank and open about issues in adland.