Advertising agency is the expert in branding and communication. This is true; however, as agency, we should not overestimate our expertise and oversimplify the branding process. Often, we forget that brand is not only expressed via communication process, but is deeply rooted and built from the inside out. A brand comes from the inner vision, mission of the brand leader and each of the company employees. Another way to say is advertising agency has very little power to guide its client’s core brand strategy. If the agency thinks they have a better “brand positioning” than its client, think again before proposing one completely new direction.
To the best of my experience, even when the client requires agency to “re-position” its brand via a re-positioning campaign, our client won’t expect a completely new strategy. The mistake of agency is to look only at the “criticism” angle, analyzing and finding rationale for why the client’s current strategy doesn’t work. We forget that to achieve such position as today, numerous time and money have been spent. Therefore, via the “re-positioning” campaign, what the client really wants is to “leverage” and “renovate” its current brand strategy, not finding a new direction.
To propose a new strategy, numerous risks should be taken into account. If we really believe a new strategy is required, there are several questions we must answer to both ourselves and client: What if the current strategy still works? So we start building our brand from scratch if we follow the new strategy? How can we be so sure that the new strategy will work?