All that glitters isn’t gold

Ian Palmer

In Campaigning, GCC, Strategy Posted

It’s a fact that passionate people are – more often than not – go-getting, high-octane, speed-demons, who dart to start their next project, service or campaign and ride the wave of excitement that comes from the launch of a new venture as soon as possible. That’s not a surprising character trait, and ultimately, it’s one that makes these the exact type of people who should lead campaigns: their passion and energy will be contagious, and will convert followers.

However, it’s a character trait which does mean that sometimes, the rush to deliver means an essential planning stage is skipped or hurried, and that can have far reaching and, ultimately, catastrophic consequences further into a campaign.

It’s something we’ve seen again and against in both charity social media campaigns, and in political candidates’ campaigns: a clear sense of needing to do something ‘as soon as possible’ but less thought going in the ‘what’ which is needed to be done. In the charity digital space, that often means charities investing vast sums of money in hugely expensive content development or advertising placement, without considering their market, or testing what messaging works for them. I’ve recently come across two examples in the UK. One where a high profile non-profit spent $70,000 to develop a two minute video on an issue campaign. The video was great: the ask? Good question. What return on investment did the organisation get from that $70,000 spend? ‘Awareness’ is the answer one always gets returned. But awareness in itself is rarely a useful strategic outcome. It has to be attached to the next rung on the ladder of engagement. Do you want these people to advocate for you? To change their behaviour? To donate? Do you want to reach a client group and let them know the services available to them? Too often these questions aren’t considered, and the glamour and glitz of the latest digital ad agency, riding on the passion of the potential client, wins the budget, and doesn’t help the organisation much at all.

It’s not just in the ad space either. Another New Zealand example: a big name, small budget organisation was convinced to run a $60,000 campaign to draw in donations from supporters. The approached agency ‘didn’t believe in digital’, and seemingly didn’t understand the objective: the $60,000 outlay resulted in $3,000 of donations.

Senior staff and boards have a responsibility to their organisations to deliver good value for money and ROI. Too often, unfortunately, the hype and jargon, glitter and shiny distractions, of the creative space make organisations forget to properly consider their objectives – or assess whether what’s being pitched will help them.

Here at GCC, we pride ourself on the holistic range of services we offer to make you achieve your objectives. That’s the key though: we don’t take on clients who don’t have objectives, because we won’t simply provide services with no sense of what’s to be achieved. If you have an outcome you want to achieve, and you want a communications, marketing or digital campaign to help make that happen, contact us and we’d be delighted to have a chat about what we can offer.