In the international market, we’re seeing a huge shift happening that is pushing experience toward the center of the marketing ecosystem; that’s exciting for us. Brands are eager to tackle fresh new ideas from strategic marketing partners who come to the table with creativity and flexibility in mind.
I always strive to set a vision of what beautiful looks like for our clients, then articulate exactly how we can help them achieve it — especially in a market where brand experience has become our direct line to consumers, serving up content that becomes amplified for a bigger message. But in order to create that successful outcome, it’s imperative that, as a partner, we are involved in the strategic process as early as possible.
Begin at the beginning
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for strategy, but there is what I consider to be the best starting point. When clients bring us in at the very beginning to help develop their strategic plan, we always start with understanding the audience and what do we want them to do. At the end of the day, the magic behind brand experience is its ability to enable deep connections with audiences, ultimately changing the way they feel, think, and act. So, a prerequisite to get started is a complete understanding of the audience and what behavior you ultimately want to see.
When a partner is not included in early discovery and strategy work, acting only as the executor of the plan, that key audience understanding is often lost in translation, or what is planned may not necessarily be the right approach. That’s why it’s so important to have everyone on board from the beginning, striving toward the same vision rather than a strategy that looks great on paper but doesn’t achieve the right audience connection in execution. When a partner is brought into a project later in the game, the process of creation can become nonlinear, causing inefficiencies and reworking as the team solidifies a bit too late.
Transparency is key
To realize true success, it’s important that we ensure that not only the audience is understood, but that the overall plan ties back to the client’s business objectives and the level of investment for the experience. That requires real transparency from all parties, which is true of any good partner-client relationship.
Partnering together early on with a holistic approach to the project, as well as a greater level of trust and transparency, fosters a far better outcome than if the project is treated as a series of transactions. At Freeman, we have a rich and diverse team around the world with deep skill sets and backgrounds. Working in an open, transparent partnership allows everyone to flex their individual strengths and perspectives to help solve our clients' business needs and achieve their objectives.
Couple that with being fully clear on a project’s boundaries up front, with a level playing field from the start, and we know not just where we’re beginning, but can easily see the path to where we want the project to end up. It’s much better to know what you’re working with, from objectives to budget to time frame, to come up with the best solution from the start, rather than having to whittle down a plan that may not work as well on a smaller scale or achieve the client’s ultimate goals.
A strategic partner can be integral in helping a brand take its marketing to the next level through meaningful, personalized experiences. When the partner-client relationship is made a priority in the project process and is approached with trust, openness, and understanding, then that’s when you can best leverage what everyone brings to the table to create the basis for something truly special.