Thursday, July 26, 2012

Should Have Looked at Specsavers

Too many brands act slowly these days.

I don't mean in terms of strategy, it's always good to have time to develop things properly. As great as a skill it is to think quickly, time is always good.

However, in terms of making the most of a new opportunity, or doing something topical or relevant to the world in that exact timeframe, brands need to think quickly and be preapred to move.

Too many brands want to approve everything in microscopic detail, research, double research and triple research everything they do. But you have to know when to move quickly, and to understand that sometimes not perfect is better than not at all. Of course I understand that you need to be careful about spending money, and that budgets are not infinite, but sometimes dawdling is your worst enemy.

I recall once suggesting a really nice, cheap PR idea for one of our former brands, they liked it but never did anything about it; wasting what would have been an excellent opportunity because they ummed and aahhed about it for so long that the chance had gone.

Do you think Oakley took their time when they gave out free sunglasses to the Chilean Miners? They saw an opportunity, they weighed it up quickly and acted. Decisive management who knew when to take a risk. End result, an estimated $41m worth of publicity for essentially giving away 33 pairs of their shades.

Look at Specsavers, when something happens in the news or popular culture that fits their brand message they get in quickly. They had an ad about Ukrainian linesman up and ready in about 24 hours at the European Championships. I saw one online already about the Korean flag/DPRK flag, but I can't be sure if it was genuine or mock.

They see an opportunity, weight it up and act. Sharp thinking. The fact they know when to act quickly is also a sure sign of a brand that truly understand what it is about, what it believes in, and how it needs to communicate. Instead of worrying about whether the idea will be perfect for their exact demographic or can we get triplicate sign off on the product cost, they know when something is right and just do it.

It helps that they are not afraid of taking risks. They have the metaphorical balls to try things, and if they don't work move on to something else. It doesn't mean making stupid decisions because they know their brand well enough to know what is a risk worth taking. "No tagline?" "Well people know it anyway, it's funnier without it..." "Ok go for it."

In fact the only bad thing about it, is that it is not an agency who is helping them to work this way. We should be listening and learning (or in this case looking) to the speed at which Specsavers, and others who think fast, operate when they see an opportunity.

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