Thursday, 15 August 2013

Still life with product. The role of a brand agency.

Hurst, Warhol, Van Gogh, Michelangelo, the caveman… Fine artists have inspired us since the beginning, expressing their thoughts in visuals, both beautiful and tortured.

No doubt, there’ll be more.

But not from a communications agency.

As responsible agencies know, having the inspiration and talent to create objects or pictures of beauty, shouldn’t mean we do it for our own edification. We are commercial artists, first and foremost - and with that comes responsibilities.

An agency creates art, design and literature to sell its clients’ products, their brands and their services. Though, by our high standards, agencies should make these ads or pamphlets as pretty as masterpieces – we are obligated to make them practical too. The client’s story is the story. And the call to action, the customer’s next steps, is the response to that story.

The agency, and its identity, should be invisible in the final product, except to ensure the work looks and feels inspirational, professional and functional, properties drawn directly from the clients’ DNA.

To do this, an agency has to know its client, and, understand how to motivate its client’s customers. Industry-accepted rules have developed over years, since long before Lux invented soap operas or David Ogilvy sold vacuum cleaners door to door.
These marketing giants have left us this prodigious heritage to help us. A wealth of knowledge and experience which we use to execute our primary task: sell product.

But, as in fine art, this story is not static. Once an agency knows the rules, truly understands them, it is their duty to endeavour to break them. Not for their own sake. For their clients. To deliver their client’s message to their customers in a fresh, original and cut-through way.
But only if it works. Only if it’s functional.

Otherwise we should swap our pay-cheques for the irony of starving artists painting succulent fruit.

Hilton Alexander Rose
Your Brand Agency | Director