We figured that if we were, then we needed to take advantage of the time to have a proper think about our business. What was working, what wasn’t and what we needed to do about it. Books were read. Reports absorbed. Webinars attended and podcasts listened to.
The result? A desire to grow the business we wanted out of the pandemic, not grow back the business we had.
So what did we do? The first task was to crystallise our agency offering - to be really clear on where we add value and where we don’t. This means being able to say ‘no’ to the type of work that doesn’t allow us to do what we do best. Freeing up bandwidth to focus on the work we want…or attracting more of that work. This means business development. And those are dirty words when you’re running a creative agency.
One of the biz dev books devoured during the pandemic was The Challenger Sale: How to take control of the customer conversation, by Mathew Dixon and Brent Adamson. Clumsily paraphrasing the entire book to one sentence: “tell potential customers something they don’t know to create a conversation”. At the same time, we were itching to show off just how much we know about the role of digital within the brand conversation - catalysed largely by listening to Prof G saying that the future of consulting firms needs to be more data-driven…
“Everyone says data is the new oil. No, it's not. Data is everywhere. You need to refine that oil and turn it into petroleum. And that is why you need scrapers. You need ways of distilling that data down to rich formats that you can present. And then you need the gangster processor in all of human history. And that is a grey matter in between your ears to translate that data into information and recommendations. And your recommendations can be wrong. But as long as that catalyzes a debate that interrogates the truth and leads to better decisions across a variety of outcomes, you have done a great job”.
(Prof G Podcast…State of Play: The Economy, August 2020)
Out of this meeting of minds emerged Clarity. A tool that we envisioned could blend the challenger sale with data-driven consulting in our key area of expertise to create something really valuable to brand owners.
So what is it?
Firstly it’s based on the following fundamental instinct we have about brands…
If you communicate coherently and consistently with your audiences, you’ll outperform your competitors.
A Clarity report gives brand performance insights - holistic and objective scores for each brand in any given category. We use our own expertise in branding, combined with a wide range of publicly available data to measure how ‘clear’ (hence Clarity) a brand’s communications are. The important thing to stress is that this isn’t another audience behaviour and sentiment tool - there are lots of them on the market. This offers a score based on the brand activity, not the customer response.
So, we select a category and a range of brands operating within it - somewhere between 10 and 20 in total. There’s not a lot of science involved in this first step - it’s who we know combined with a little bit of Googling, to arrive at a reasonable spread of brands within the category.
Then we run these brands through the Clarity tool (which we’ve built and automated from scratch) to score them across more than 50 data points split across seven sections:
Share of Search
The most basic output of the tool is to stack rank the brands in the category in relation to the clarity of their brand and comms. We think this will appeal to brand owners, as it’s a natural instinct to want to know where you sit in relation to the competition…and to understand what needs to change for improvement.
Naturally, the more we drill down into the sections and rank the brands within them, the more the observations and questions come to the surface. In that sense, we’re confident that Clarity will certainly catalyse conversations.
Our early thinking is that we’ll publish contracted versions of the Clarity reports on our site - with a view to opening up consulting conversations with those brands that are interested.
This is new and exciting for us and we’d love to discuss it with you, so if you’re interested in Clarity and what it could tell you about your brand, then please drop us a line.