“Know what I hate? “Maintenance Mode.” That’s the feeling you sometimes get when you’ve been working with a client for 1 — 2 — 3+ years and the program is WORKING but seems to be on AUTOPILOT.”
The key here is information – the more you have to work with, the greater and grander the possibilities. Clients don’t always realize what information or goings-on can be spun into a great story and earn them great publicity. Routine calls should be the bare minimum of your interaction; daily contact with your point person, via phone or email, just to check in – crucial. Seeing your clients face-to-face, being in their office, watching them work, observing, and witnessing firsthand what they’re doing can be an amazing inspiration when it comes to identifying fresh ideas for long-term clientèle. So visit often. A Monthly Brainstorm can be great, but it’s tough to force inspiration. Close contact means continuously bouncing ideas off of one another, developing concepts, slowly but methodically…which can really help reinvigorate a robo-account, ‘when brainstorms’ just don’t do the trick anymore.
Another way to keep things from getting stale and mundane is to keep a constant eye on the competition. Who are the other thought leaders in the industry, what are they doing and saying? With what brands does your client compete? That competition can often act as catalyst for the best ideas and most innovative campaigns and stunts, even years into a partnership between the client and agency. Stagnancy WILL happen, unless you preempt the process. Understanding the enemy is vital in war – and the business world is certainly no different. Make use of your “down time’ by learning everything you can about the competition and every move they make. You’d be surprised as to how many mistakes they’ve made on which you can capitalize, or how many good ideas they’ve had that you can improve upon.
Lastly, there’s niche news. As the Media Landscape forms, melts, and re-solidifies – Journalists are constantly looking to bring the niche news into the mainstream. Browsing online micro-communities and perusing smaller, interest or industry-based outlets, on a regular basis, can often provide fodder for an new round of ideas, especially if you can employ your client’s expertise or their brands unique aspects as a vehicle to make this niche news digestible by the public and in bringing it to mainstream outlets.
As Always…If you have any thoughts, please share. Do you disagree with these tactics? Do you have another Idea? A Proven Approach? Let us know!
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