Unusual Ideas from Unusual Places

Unusual times require unusual ideas from unusual sources. Here are some examples from recent work with creative agencies.

Making Fear, Paranoia and Uncertainty Work For You

There are a lot of nervous clients out there, and a lot of agencies nervous about cancellations. I have found that the best way to protect yourself against this is to acknowledge clients’ unease and speak directly to it. 

One way that one of my agency clients did this was to develop an assurance product. It is based on the OODA loop which originated in military strategy (it’s a key part of the strategic doctrine of the US Marine Corps) and then developed a cult following in some areas of business. In essence, it provides assurance of staying ahead in fast-moving and confusing situations. It also lends itself naturally to being billed as an ongoing retainer rather than a project. You know how hard that is to achieve, especially in current conditions – and how valuable it is. 

The video explains the principle.

As for how this worked  for an agency :

  • The agency Observes daily: what are competitors up to, what is being said on social media?
  • Twice a week there is an Orientation call with the client;
  • The client has a weekly meeting to take Decisions;
  • Decisions are put into Action (for instance by creating new content) within 48 hours.

This means that the maximum time delay between something happening in the outside world and the client making an effective response is 14 days. This compares with a couple of months previously.

The client here is a leading high street retailer. The logic for them is that they keep in touch with what’s happening while all their shops are closed. The logic for the agency is that it’s something to offer while all their client’s shops are closed and most media spending has been stopped.

How to Sell to the Paralysed, Paranoid and Anxious

Understanding the psychology of loss aversion is very powerful. The video explains how behavioural economics insights enabled us to deal with a “sorry, but we need to suspend operations for three months…” email from a client and turn the situation around. 

And Finally, Do You Have a Right to Exist?

This is an insight from the person who, probably more than anyone I know, understands crisis situations. He’s a turnaround investor whose job is to put tens of millions of pounds into failing companies and make them successful. He talks about a company’s “right to exist”. If you get this right, he says, everything else is fixable.  The video explains.

Find Out More

If you want to find out more about how any of this could help you in these very strange times, let’s talk. This link gives you direct access to my calendar.