Find out how the agencies involved in Honda’s latest integrated campaign delivered award-winning thinking and powerful results.
You want… an integrated campaign with a single creative idea that’s cleverly executed to each medium’s strength. You get… inter-agency wrangling, wayward creative and a lack of strategic thinking (otherwise defined as ‘that inevitable sinking feeling’).
Getting a big integrated campaign to work properly is never easy, but as we’ve found with our latest ‘Hondamentalism’ campaign –www.hondamentalism.com - there are simple rules clients and agencies can follow to help the process go more smoothly and successfully.
Set the goals
…and believe in them. A campaign without simple, clearly defined goals is doomed from the start. But just as important is for people to believe in the goals, to truly embrace them and actively target them.
For Hondamentalism that meant sitting down with all the key agencies involved and setting a series of digital goals that would deliver on Brand, DM and Media objectives. This not only governed the digital delivery but also influenced the media purchase and TV delivery.
Make sure these goals fit into a wider strategy
It helps to have a client that will challenge you on this. If not, the agencies should challenge themselves. Is there a wider strategy you are working towards and will the goals for this campaign help deliver that?
A strategy is NOT simply a ‘good idea’ said by someone who sounds authoritative, or a rigid set of instructions. It is a long term plan that by its nature is flexible. If the strategy isn’t there, neither will be the results.
Use each agency’s strength
With everyone claiming to ‘do digital’ these days, it’s important to look at your agencies’ core competencies. If they claim digital, find out what they’ve done and how long they’ve been doing it. If it’s a few banners created by a hastily put together digital ‘team’, then it’s hardly a core competency. Equally, if your digital agency is claiming they can do your next TV ad, ask them why.
Be brave with your ideas
You need to get the strategy and goals right, and you need people working together. But… if the core of the solution isn’t an engaging creative idea, then it won’t work.
So which comes first, the strategy or the idea? The truth is it doesn’t matter. Both have to start on day one. A great idea can give birth to a great strategy, and great strategy can give birth to cracking ideas, but you have to have both.
It’s not easy getting everyone collaborating, but if you make a joint response a requirement, and give your agencies shared metrics and shared incentives, working together becomes much more of a necessity. The last thing you want is digital ‘tacked on’ to the end of a long creative development process. Digital can help inform ATL creative just as ATL informs digital. Get digital involved from the start.
….actually requires effort. Agencies have a tendency to get into comfortable little cliques, but the fact is you need to get out of your comfort zone to communicate. Try and break down the layers of account management between creatives, go to the pub, or out somewhere and get on. It will come more naturally to some than others, but it won’t happen if you don’t put regular effort into ensuring it.
Say no to emulation
Don’t simply emulate offline. Play to each medium’s strength and use that to inform the creative work. Is another game based on the ad concept really going to deliver the right audience? Appeal to self interest, make online about the user, as well as the brand. For ‘Hondamentalism’ that meant getting users to understand the concept by seeing if they shared its characteristics. Learning about Honda meant learning about yourself.
Have an escalation point
They should be senior, far enough removed form the team, respected and be able to cut through the crap. They need to exist in all key agencies and they need to be accessible. Why? Because sometimes you just need a sensible external view to ensure things stay on the right track.
Clients of endearment
Perhaps most importantly, you need clients who understand and believe in all this. As an agency, you have no idea how important that is. Good client or bad client, agencies get paid anyway. With a client who believes and understands, you’ll deliver exceptional work.
So what did all this mean?
For Hondamentalism it meant:
- 168,853 visitors to http://www.hondamentalism.com/ during the first 6 weeks
- 23,000 spent over 13 minutes completing the challenge
- 2007 Campaign Digital winner (Best Automotive Campaign)
- At its peak, 168,000 mentions on Google
- Still 90,000 / month to site
- Digital campaign gave flexibility and long tail – 18 emails since the campaign went live, building an opt in database of subscribers
Even during a very challenging F1 year, Honda’s sporty image brand metric is up
1. Think about why you are doing something (goals).
2. Have some brave ideas.
3. Test those ideas against your goals.
4. Talk to each other, a lot.
5. Accept that you won’t always see eye to eye, so make sure there is someone you respect to mediate.
6. Talk to each other again.
7. Have some more brave ideas.
8. Clients – give your key agencies shared financial incentives.
9. Agencies – think about the cultures of your agencies – how can you facilitate working and communication together better or more easily?
10. Be honest and challenge each other.
11. Invite and respond positively to honest feedback.
12. Keep going back to those goals – will what you are doing deliver on them?
13. And finally… do what you are good at. If you have all the above right, your agencies should just need to do what they are good at, be it a media plan or a website. That’s the easy bit.
The fact is digital is hard to deliver well. Good campaigns invariably come from agencies with years of experience who have made their mistakes and learnt what does and doesn’t work.
For the foreseeable future, agencies will need to work together to deliver integrated solutions. Their ability to do this directly affects the success or failure of any campaign.
Critical to this is ensuring the silos of expertise in agencies are brought together regularly to ensure that the strategy is right and every opportunity is being leapt upon. That means open and honest lines of communication at all times.
It also means a fundamental change of mindset. With collective working so important, egos must be left at the door and everyone needs to adopt a more grown up approach.
In other words, if you want to deliver an integrated campaign, everyone needs to move out of their comfort zones.
By Greg Doone, Managing Director, Collective, http://www.collectivelondon.com/
Greg Doone joined digital creative agency Collective as MD in December 2006, following 3 years as Collective non-executive director. Greg started his career in project management, and has planning, strategic consulting and change management expertise. He was head of strategy at JKD (now TwentySix), and was the highest ranked of his intake of executive hires at Accenture in 2005. http://www.collectivelondon.com/