Friday, September 11, 2009

When is it time to retender your creative?

This question popped into my mind the other day, for no other reason than I received some invoices from my creative agency. I receive invoices from them all the time, so this was not a new event. I still don't know what triggered it. Possibly the amount!

But this question is an interesting one as it comes down to a decision about whether longevity and a solid understanding of your brand, your business and your products trumps a fresh look at, in particular, your brand. Generally, I think there are arguments for both. But...!

I work in the financial services space in Australia - to be specific superannuation, our version of pension funds. Now this is an Australian sector way behind the Usain Bolts of the FMCG sector when it comes to sophisticated thinking about brand and what it means. This is due to generally low consumer engagement with retirement saving, usually until it's too late to rescue a parlous situation. In other words, consumer apathy lulls providers into a false sense of security about their brands.

In Australia, an onerous regulatory environment that wants competition between funds to reduce fees and costs to superannuation beneficiaries, yet doesn't want funds to spend any beneficiary money competing to add scale, also contributes to this brand malaise. The latter can be the subject of another blog!

Believe it or not, the layout and language of some sections of disclosure documents here are prescribed by law and regulations. And guess what? The people determining that are not tuned in to brand or even communications - they are regulatory officials, lawyers and actuaries (probably all working within the presentation compromises of Microsoft Word - refer previous post). Tell me the last time you saw a legal or actuarial document that was comprehensible! The regulators are driving industry uniformity, thereby dumbing down the creative process. What happens if you can think of a better way of presenting your business or disclosing important information? Bad luck, stick to the script!

So, under these conditions, my original question swings heavily towards retaining the existing provider, assuming the business relationship is in good shape. Let me take another look at those invoices.... hmmm, just pay them and get back to the knitting. What's on at the weekend?

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