[Translate to English:] Saint Elmo's: Der Satz, der in keinem Briefing steht


The sentence that's not in any briefing

18. October 2019, Hubertus von Lobenstein

Good briefings, bad briefings

Such briefings then say a lot about the particular product that needs to be promoted. In bad briefings on interchangeable products, there are herds of words that end in –er: Washes whiter, is ecologically better and cheaper. Or drives faster, uses fewer and is cheaper.

The hope that three marginal differences that hardly concern the consumer and the competition through advertising addition will become a truly uniquely relevant reason to buy is as widespread as it is in vain. In good briefings, on the other hand, the uniqueness of a product is usually succinctly summarized. Such briefings also say a lot about the target group, whose hearts and minds are to be conquered with the product.

Bad briefings elegantly shirk clear answers. Because actually you want to reach everyone (and ultimately no one properly). Good briefings, on the other hand, define a crystal-clear target group, analyze their psychological sensitivities and the resulting insights for a campaign, and describe their media behavior. In such briefings, there is also a lot to say about the positioning or attitude of a brand (new meaning: purpose) for which consumers want to stand, be respected, loved.

In bad briefings, there are many phrases from the textbook "Corporate Bullshit Bingo". Sentences for service companies such as "For us, people are the focus of our actions". Sentences for a car such as "This car stands for the innovative power of dynamic driving" (both sentences are from real briefings). In contrast, good briefings state that the brand stands for driving pleasure. Or for pioneering spirit. Or for simplicity...

Briefly considered factually

However, I never read the most important sentence in a briefing, even in the best briefings in my 30 years of being an advertiser. And that would be more necessary than ever in view of the following facts: According to Nielsen, total gross advertising expenditure in 2018 amounted to EUR 31.9 billion. And I'm afraid they weren't smarter than in England. For them, there's a study from last year, according to which 4% of the advertising was positively remembered and 7% negatively. The remaining 89% simply went unnoticed. Transferred to Germany, that would mean that we would have thrown € 26.7 billion in advertising spending out the window.

In the briefings, we concentrate on product features, consumer insights, rational and emotional reasons for buying, etc., because we automatically assume that our target group is interested in our messages and wants to listen to us. We believe that if we only prepare all the facts properly, then our advertising will be remarkable (worth remembering!) and effective. And that's exactly why 89% of our work is likely to leave its mark on those it's supposed to. 

My father had a certain pitch that reliably announced an advancing verbal thunderstorm. My favorite teacher had a certain way of talking about topics and questions that came up afterwards in class work. My football coach had my attention for the booth at half-time because of the way he stormed in.

And then the sentence of all sentences...

First comes the perception, the noticing. Then the facts. Attention is the ticket to the hearts and minds of our target groups. Without this ticket, it's ultimately irrelevant what the briefing says they should learn. They will not listen to you – no matter how high advertising pressure.  Therefore: Simply write the set of tickets in the next briefing. Right at the top. And look forward to a noticeable improvement in results:


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