2009 has been a year when on several occasions I have had to look people in the eye and say, yes, we can do this without being 100% certain we could. It was also the year when, leaving behind the sweet non-committal years of strategic planning, I have had to put a price on what I believed to work or not.
Scamp places planners last on the list of people who should be asked to comment or have a say in the final form of a TVC (read here), and, somehow, he may be right because, unless the kind of planner you are makes you take responsibility for your recommendations, sometimes the environment can release you from the burden of a final decision.
Not so in 2009, when, after being asked how much I was willing to pay if my agency screwed up a project, I again found myself in a situation where the full burden of a budget was placed on one thing alone. In December 2009 I was asked if I thought replacing the full offline budget (non-trade) of an FMCG brand with online activities was going to increase its brand awareness and brand profile sufficiently to warrant a volume increase. In a crisis year.
I said yes and I am confident that we can make it happen BUT I find myself aware of the scarcity of tools at my disposal to give me the confidence I had offline that my answer was not hasty.
Think of these:
First, we cannot/will not/ have not measure[d] the impact of online over brand. Second, we have approximate tools to recommend media planning and split of budgets according to website clusters. Third, we are fully unequipped to complete the conversion funnel online for anything other than items which can be sold online. Fourth, we cannot measure something that has become more than 50% of the online time of users: social media. Fifth, most relevant social media channels are NOT monitored in Romania. Sixth, we are slowly but surely losing the credibility battle online now that concepts such as branded content, brand utility or brand spaces have but been buried by the financial crisis.
So, do I feel confident? No. Do I think I have my work cut out for me in 2010. Hell yeah! :D
communication is essential to business making and it involves more than the ability to name your product, write a tag line or a press release. It's an intricate, rational and scalable effort and, let's face it, not anyone can do it.