‘Get your mandate in place before you start’ by Toyota
'Make mistakes' and how to speed up content production whilst creating the magic
One of the biggest learnings is that ‘you never can be too early to manage expectations’ tells Willem Verschuur [till September 2019 GM Marketing at Louwman & Parqui — end responsible for all marketing disciplines for Toyota Netherlands].
‘To set up an effective content campaign, you need time. At least a year. And you need a budget for production and for media buying. With just ‘great content’ you will not get where you want to be. You need media exposure to grow.’
‘There is no proven way forward’ he continues. ‘You need to experiment and dare to be different. Show your guts. If you do what you always did, you will get what you always have gotten. If you want to change, you need to change.’ This sounds like a no-brainer. In reality, it is a bit more challenging to set up provocative campaigns that are significantly different. Then, all of a sudden the C-suite gets hesitant and lacks the real guts to break the status quo to be different.
There is no proven way forward. You need to experiment and dare to be different
To surpass and prevent that last-minute change of mind, get your mandate in place. Manage upfront your boundaries and limits for the execution of the concept. What you can and cannot do on those politically sensitive subjects, such as edgy content about your competitors.
‘Inform management and stakeholders once, and then just do it.’ Willem explains. ‘Prevent that they interfere in the content details. The management almost always gets a bit nervous and switches to the political safe game, once the real edginess and details become visible.’
The indispensable requirement to run an edgy campaign with mandate upfront is to have the trustworthy seniors in place for the execution of the details. You need trust. Trust they will not go overboard, have the political and sensitivity radar, and they truly do understand the boundaries of the mandate.
Next, to manage the mandate, Willem recommends managing upfront that you will make mistakes. Pushing the boundaries, doing new stuff and making that next step, will never be flawless. Where people work, mistakes can be made. Manage that the management doesn’t panic at the first flaw. You and your team need to have the trust and the time to fix the mistake and learn from it. Given the mistakes made are not major and do not immediately impact the business. Often the small little flaws in innovative projects are blown out of proportion at first view.
Again, here you need the senior on board. Gain and maintain the trust earned for the mandate and mistakes-topic.
Last not least two hands-on tips from Willems years of experience
Speeding up content production
If you want fast content production and shorten the timelines from idea to publication, set up your in-house team. Or work with smaller execution specialist agencies. Have the topnotch agency for the creative big idea and be agile in execution with your smaller suppliers. Great for speed and for your budget.
Attention makes the content magical
Creating high quality and effective content takes time. And it is your personal dedicated effort that creates the magic. It shows when the topic touches your own heart and you go the extra mile. Simply put ‘attention makes everything more beautiful’.
Example by the book, the production of the content for the Winter Olympics 2018. An amazing and emotional video with Paralympic snowboarder Chris Vos that really made an impact. Excellent scouting for the athlete, crazy short production timings, storytelling at the most personal level and all for a budget on peanuts — compared to the usual TVC budgets.
‘Creating beautiful content with meaningful people that contributes to the business objectives’ is what makes Willem love his job.
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One of the biggest learnings is that ‘you never can be too early to manage expectations.' ‘To set up an effective content campaign, you need time. At least a year. And you need a budget for production and for media buying. With just ‘great content’ you will not get where you want to be. You need media exposure to grow.’ according to Willem Verschuur.