Measuring effectiveness of marketing investment is critical to any campaign that goes to market, and the scale of investment shouldn’t matter. In our industry, your investment should be considered by the strategist/creative/media planner’s as if it’s their own. From the outset your agency team should understand what needs to be done for your business/marketing/communication objectives to be deemed successful. And then deliver over and above.

The ultimate acknowledgement of effectiveness in our industry is the Effie Awards – a globally-recognised, peer-judged, showcase of extremely high-quality work delivered in local markets.

Each year the bar is raised, and 2021 is no exception. There are always our favourite entries - those that won our hearts, taught us something new and made us think “I wish I’d thought of that”. And every year we glean learnings and challenge our own thinking as we endeavour to continually produce exceptional, effective work for our clients.

A couple of things that stood out for us this year in the entries we judged, and how they relate to our own clients:

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1. Dig for real insights

We can’t sit in our Ponsonby offices and pretend our kids live and breathe the same as those in South Auckland. We might have a lot of experience, do multiple CMI runs, and have access to WARC, but if we don’t create safe spaces to get inside our prime prospects’ hearts and minds and use our skills to distil down key insights that will help establish an idea, we are simply making up a story. Use of closed Facebook groups is one way to get into the heads of hard to understand the motivations of hard to reach audience. We conducted focus groups earlier this year to understand people’s relationships with their power companies. We can’t make this stuff up; we can’t be shy about understanding what we’re really dealing with to create the bones of an effective campaign.

2. Articulate your cause

If there’s one thing people are tired of reading about in a post Covid-era it’s how much money X company has made. Yes, we need sustainable businesses in our midst to ensure New Zealand succeeds, but don’t make this your ultimate end goal or reason for being. Our client BusinessDesk is all about the need to preserve the fourth estate and how critical it is to democracy, in a world of Kardashians and clickbait. Delivering subscriptions to their product simply helps sustain this. People buy into brands that stand for something. Many finalists focus on behavioural change and therefore human lives are their ROI – the value of saving lives or the betterment of society, which is incredibly compelling in the world we live.

3. Work with what makes your brand unique

Consumers’ lives have become so cluttered with choice resulting in the struggle for brands to grow or even survive. Historic brands that have to reinvent themselves in categories that are becoming harder to win impress us when they go back to timeless truths. What are your own hidden gems? Our client Instant Finance’s latest brand campaign uses its I and F characters that have been around for 50 years to highlight its ability to make (what seems) the impossible, possible.

4. Integrate everything

The best entries always show strategy, media, and creative working together as a well-rehearsed orchestra. An idea is not a script or a media plan. An idea is a thought that leads to a seamless communications and creative strategy and can be fully leveraged across all executions and channels. Recognising media’s influence is critical e.g., does the idea work in a 15” video? Long form content is only workable if it’s an exceptional story that will engage people to the last second. A brilliant example of integration is our own Silver Effie award winner for Tourism NZ’s Freedom Camping – the idea was to build a Wi-Fi network from the ground up to enable our illusive audience to still connect to the ‘gram, and in turn using it to target them with our message.

5. Ask how current your solution is

Now more than ever we’re being forced to adapt to new norms and marketing is no different. Reinventing eCommerce offerings, being agile when facing lockdowns, chasing revenue holes with new ideas are all part of being effective marketers. Recognising the changing face of New Zealand consumers is critical in this and diversity is now a hygiene factor. It’s easy to roll out old classic ads that everyone loves, but if they don’t accurately reflect the changing face of Kiwis, think about a smart twist to create inclusivity to make your brand more current.

Roll on award night, we are eager to see the results of the efforts of the incredibly talented industry we are part of in New Zealand.

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