By: Jonathan Young, Marketing Services Director
Successful television shows are brands. You may know of the writers’ rooms that breed scripts for those series. These are bracing and brutal hotbeds of co-opetition: a half dozen creative talents spawning ideas, bouncing them off one another, killing the weak, beefing up the fittest, and polishing the results till they gleam. It’s a necessary process for a few reasons.
There’s the million-monkeys-with-typewriters principle of content generation. More writers mean more writing means more chances to generate something great.
There’s the cross-pollination of great minds inspiring one another.
There’s the efficiency of having poor ideas culled quickly and decisively by people who know the difference.
And there’s the inevitable competition between high-achievers striving to out-do each other, pushing each other to fresher and finer work…week after week.
What it takes to make this dynamic productive is a sense of shared purpose. Yes, the show’s producers recognize the strongest contributors. But it’s the team and their environment that brings out the best in the best, as well as bringing out the best in the second and third best.
This is true for any workplace fueled by ideas for the purpose of driving business. Your marketing department is just such a place. Or, it should be.
But how many companies can attract and retain truly great marketers? And not just a few great marketers, but enough great marketers to energize the brainstorming process, bring powerful ideas of their own, recognize dead ends early, and take the best ideas up to the next level all the way through execution?
The Wall Street Journal reports that the average tenure of a CMO is 43 months. This suggests executive management has replaced the hotbed of ideas with a hot seat, looking for fresh blood whenever they need fresh ideas. It doesn’t have to be this way.
While many companies have—rightly—brought much of their marketing operations in-house to save money, the smart ones also have a retained relationship with an outside source of ideas and expertise to maximize the performance.
Done poorly, this can lead to turf wars and wounded pride. Some marketing agencies assume they have been brought in to compensate for the client’s poor hires. Such consultancies are mercenaries whose first loyalty is to their own reputation. Without a sense of shared purpose, in-house contributors can actually be demotivated, focused on their own job rather than driving value for the company.
And then there are the allies. These agencies tie their success to that of their clients. They can deliver the goods on their own, and they can inspire in-house staff to greater achievements. This cultural fit is more important than a dazzling portfolio in building durable success. It all comes back to a sense of shared purpose: bottom-line results.
So next time you’re binging your favorite show, consider how it came to be. Is there a model for your company to sell more of whatever you sell? Are the writers able to evolve the characters without losing their core qualities? Do they surprise you without confusing you? Do they always include the elements that make the show both distinctive and comfortable?
If so, that’s great brand management. And it was created by a team of allies. Enjoy!