The power of long-term thinking

Successful brands need more than just an end line to capture audiences’ attention today. Here, Stephen Hancock, ECD at TBWA\Media Arts Lab in London, explains how establishing a platform for a brand allows for more creative freedom

What constitutes a campaign? Is it defined by the length of time it runs, the number of assets, the comms plan? Or simply that it’s referred to by the client and the agency as a campaign?

And how should we define the metrics of what the success of a campaign looks like? Short-term sales increases, a rise in brand affinity, the impossible-to-measure and easy-to-fluff ‘cultural impact’, or the accelerated numbers of impressions (always a dubious one)?

As the traditional components for what makes up a campaign have been broken down, the conventional formula (a 30-second film, etc) has shifted to anything that works. The right work, aimed at the right people, at the right time, in the right place. More sniper than scattergun.

There’s an immediacy to campaigns, but they can also feel sporadic, random and ephemeral. They normally take flight for a few weeks and then disappear – landing a tactical point, before the brand moves on. All that great strategic thinking, creative investment and clever media comes and goes. Blink and you often miss it.

This is where building a longer term brand platform works. Campaigns come and go, platforms stay the distance.

Top and above: From the Behind the Mac series for Apple


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