The World's Leading Independent Agencies 2010 is a Campaign advertising supplement published for thenetworkone.
Much has been said about consumers having the power in their hands nowadays, as if this were something new. Truth be told: the power has always been with them. Remember: if the ad in the magazine didn't concern them, they simply flipped the page. If they weren't delighted by a TV commercial, you can bet they changed the channel. Even before the remote control was invented. And if they didn't like the product, they simply didn't take their time to go to the shop to buy it. The principle remains the same. What has happened is that the ways of expressing and exercising this power have increased considerably.
Today, consumers relate to brands in a different way. Their voice has never been so active. They speak by new means. More than that, they make themselves heard: blogs and forums decide a product's life cycle. The hand that pays for the product is the same that writes a post on Twitter complaining about it. Reputations are destroyed with a single post. Mass media, that one-way street where companies used to be the only voice, has lost strength. The space is now shared with more interactive and segmented media. The AB 25+ class male no longer exists. There are individuals now. And individuals with power.
The great challenge is convincing this individual, who lives besieged by an avalanche of information, to stop for a moment and look at you. Listen to what you have to say. How to place a brand in the consumer's mind? How to stop the remote control from killing your commercial? The answer to the one million dollar question exists. And it is as simple as it is old: make yourself interesting.
Who doesn't know the "1,001 nights" story? The king, fearing a betrayal, orders the execution of his wives after spending the night with them. Until Scheherazade comes in, and starts telling stories that get the king's attention, night after night. A good idea is capable of giving results beyond any expectation. Whether it's a movie, an ad, a mobile app or a good story. The consumer is an unmerciful king. But it's possible to become interesting and conquer a lasting relationship.
Fischer+Fala! believes that integrated communication is the best way to do this. Even before becoming a category at Cannes and looming large in PowerPoint presentations, this was already a part of our day-to-day routine. Before a great idea, you need a great concept. From this point onwards, communication unfolds and becomes effective in every touchpoint between a brand and its target.
This is what we've been doing for the past 25 years. Some campaigns made advertising history; others came out of that history and became part of the pop culture, enhancing the brand value of the likes of Coca-Cola, Honda, Heineken, Monsanto and Panasonic, to name but a few.
The problem is that, sometimes, that is not enough. Today, a brilliant campaign that doesn't sell can't be considered that brilliant. Remember: the power is in the consumers' hands, and our mission is to make sure our products will be there too. To accomplish that, the agency has to go beyond the market share debate. Ideas that are effective in helping a client's business are required. It's what we call commercial intelligence. Between selling and being creative, we pick from both.
After all, the world has changed, but consumers' needs remain the same. They still want information. Need products. Love to be surprised with cleverness. Like when brands do things that are relevant to their image.
And they get angry when brands try to be something they are not. Technology creates new ways of communicating with this public every day. But it will never replace the power of a good idea. Because technology mesmerises the eye, but a good idea speaks to the heart. It makes one vulnerable. Changes feelings. Puts the all-mighty consumer's thumbs up, not down, when deciding if a product should survive.
Don't presume, however, that we can in this way convince consumers that this or that product is the one for them. Nobody tells them what they should do anymore. They are the ones telling us what to do, where to look and how to approach them. The consumer calls the shots. And this has always been so. What has really changed is the approach. If in the past we could engage in monologues, now only dialogues rule. A conversation between two equal parties. Where one speaks and the other answers. If a company goes on Twitter, for instance, it has to be aware of its exposure (and it has to behave) as an individual. If it's not prepared to plunge deep in and devote to this new media, it had better not even try. Gandhi has long taught us that "man ruins things much more with his words than with his silence".
In 1971, John Lennon wrote the song Power To The People. It had a clear message: "We need a revolution. Power to the people." The revolution has come. And consumers have never been so aware of that. Our mission is to keep on surprising, touching, thrilling consumers, whether in a magazine, a newspaper, on the streets, on the internet, on the phone, at a flashmob, on Facebook or any other media that exists or may come to exist in the future.
It is our mission to make them run away from boring programmes and stop whenever they see something they like. Because this was, and always will be, communication's great power.
Eduardo Fischer is the chairman of Fischer+Fala!
AT A GLANCE
Eduardo Fischer, chairman; Antonio Fadiga, chief executive; Allan Barros, chief commercial officer
Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Bogota, Lisbon
What would you like to see more of in 2010?
The union of boldness and relevance. Because relevance without boldness is just another wave breaking in the sea. And boldness without relevance is not even that. It's nothing
Which country's creativity (other than your own) do you most admire?
Singapore. That's where I see a relentless quest for new ideas