Strengthen your promise. On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic. The more consistent you are with communicating and backing up your promise, the better. Consistency only makes your promise resonate stronger. Be authentic and deliberate in all that you do!
As part of our series about “Brand Makeovers” I had the pleasure to interview Nick Platt.
As the CEO and Chief Creative Officer of LO:LA, Nick Platt is carrying out a lifelong ambition to not only re-imagine advertising creative that resonates but is also “Made with Love.” With a career spanning two continents and three decades, Nick Platt creates magic in the moments that matter.
Prior to founding LO:LA Nick was Executive Creative Director at RAPP, responsible for all creative output produced in the agency’s Los Angeles office, including creative campaigns for clients such as Toyota, Nescafe, Bank of America, Flemings, Roy’s, and Mattel as well as pro bono work for the Special Olympics and Stand Up to Cancer, among many others. His particular focus was on delivering creative solutions that are simple, relevant and original. He also worked in that role for the past 14 years, 6 years of which he spent in RAPP’s London office, where he was responsible for managing accounts including NSPCC, Apple, Sony, Barclays Bank, and CRUK.
During his 30 years of experience in advertising and direct marketing, he has worked at a range of prominent agencies, including Saatchi & Saatchi, Proximity, and TBWA\GGT, among others. He has won numerous industry awards, including the Grand Prix at the New York Festivals, Gold at the ECHOs, D&AD, John Caples, DMAs and London International Advertising Awards.
Nick is proudly a big agency ex-pat determined to prove that independent creative shops can be nimble, fast and cost-efficient without sacrificing quality. He’s making outstanding advertising available.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit more. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
When I was at school the one class that gave me the greatest pleasure and comfort was art. I just loved to draw, and to find myself making it into a career has been a blessing, branding and advertising are more than just drawing but to be able to use creativity to solve problems and make products relevant to people, is a skill that goes back to those art classes of my youth. Having my vocation turn into a lifelong career certainly does “beat working for a living”.
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing or branding mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I think one of the biggest mistakes I made was trying all too often to write ads that I just liked, about things that I personally thought where cool, which, in a sense, narrowed my outlook. In my earlier days, you could always tell the ad work I had created- which initially may have come across as a novelty, but over time likely provided some amount of amusement for my colleagues. Getting out of my own way and headspace and truly creating work for others was the lesson I learned.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lesson that others can learn from that?
I guess for me that goes back to when I first started out. Nothing would make me happier or prouder than immediately showing my latest ad or campaign to my mum, for which her response would often be the same: “That’s nice dear!”. I’d always walked away a little deflated and confused that mum couldn’t see what I could see. Then one day, I brought home an advert for a travel company and this time I’d really taken the time and effort to understand the audience and make something for them and not me. My mum’s reaction said it all. She wanted to know how she could book the holiday, she actually bought into what the ad was selling and wanted the product. My “ah-ha” moment was in the difference in how I approached the problem, the task. And since then, I have never looked back.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes! We have just embarked on a partnership with an emerging electric vehicle company called ZEV. They are really innovating the EV space, for both consumers and businesses. They are on a mission to break down the barriers of adoption and make ZEV the preferred choice of mobility for every person on the planet by democratizing it, making it accessible to all.
ZEV came to LO:LA (my agency) because as brilliant as their technology and mission is, they needed to find a way to turn it into a compelling story- for customers and investors. This is a brand that really understands the need to express it’s “why” to the world. We have helped ZEV better position their brand and create a real sense of purpose. We are now applying that to how they pitch to investors and licensing partners, how they market to individual customers and business fleets, as well as how they educate the general public on how ZEV will revolutionize the world…for the better. All very exciting stuff!
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
Pause. Breathe. Taking time for yourself, being away from the problem(s) you are trying to solve can be a great way of putting together that puzzle. Find a way to make the time where you get to really unwind and relax. I have found channeling creativity in other areas of my life can also be a great help. And get over the concept of perfection, you’ll never get there. I’m not suggesting you ever settle for second best, but the stress involved with looking for perfection creates a sure-fire road to burnout.
Ok, let’s now jump to the core part of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define the difference between brand marketing (branding) and product marketing (advertising)? Can you explain?
First of all, you need to define your brand’s “why” along with a story that embodies and conveys this concept. Many businesses also miss that their brand is a promise you make to customers, to the world. Once you have your “why” and brand story established, then you can concentrate on the advertising or marketing, determining what are the best ways and platforms to articulate your brand’s promise (and most importantly, how you keep your promises). It’s all about engineering an experience for people through your brand, helping them to perceive and connect with the value in your business. This is how you should look it: your brand is your promise, and your advertising is the evidence you are keeping that promise.
Can you explain to our readers why it is important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, in addition to the general marketing and advertising efforts?
It is so worth spending the time, energy and budget to truly build (or refresh) your brand, to define your audience and story in a way that exemplifies how you want customers to view and connect with you. As critical as this first step is, it’s often missed. Many businesses look to jump right into actual marketing efforts, searching for tangible ROI’s and KPI’s. However, without a clear and cohesive brand, message and story, any marketing efforts will come across unauthentic to both internal and external customers. And I challenge you to start by first looking internally, to galvanize your company around a single thought so your team can become champions of your brand. All too often employees don’t know the why, the purpose behind what they do within a business or organization. This only permeates to confusion in the eyes of your external customer. Your brand should focus on creating a reason for customers to come back to you time and time again! Look at creating or refreshing your brand as an investment, rather than a cost. Having a fully developed, ever-evolving brand provides you with value, synergy and clarity as well as saves you an exorbitant amount of time and money in the long run!
Let’s now talk about rebranding. What are a few reasons why a company would consider rebranding?
A company should consider a brand refresh or rebrand when they see disconnect and confusion within their own internal teams. And if a company is not sure if a disconnect exists, just go ask a handful of employees why they are there, how they perceive the brand and the brand’s purpose. If you get different answers, you know you have a problem. And if your brand’s goal is to drive more loyalty amongst current customers and/or grow or connect with new types of customers, a rebrand can absolutely accomplish that. Also, many brands don’t think about their customers from the perspective of their ongoing life journey. As people, we all change and evolve- our beliefs, priorities, our perspectives, etc. Shouldn’t your brand evolve as well? Rather than ramping up your advertising spend. It may be wiser to look at revamping or repositioning your brand (and also might be a simpler and cost-effective route as well).
Are there downsides of rebranding? Are there companies that you would advise against doing a “Brand Makeover”? Why?
If it’s not broken, why fix it? I think you do need to look at all the indicators of a broken brand first- low net promoter scores, bad customer reviews, lack of repeat orders or transactions, declining sales as well as “softer” indicators like internal buy-in, unmotivated teams, competitors growing market share, etc. If these descriptors don’t apply to you, then you don’t fit the mold of a broken brand and I would suggest you keep doing whatever it is you are doing. But you can never lose by turning your attention to ramping up advertising that shares your promise to the world (and how you keep it).
Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. Can you share 5 strategies that a company can do to upgrade and re-energize their brand and image”? Please tell us a story or an example for each.
1. Inspire your customers. Focus on the “why” of your business or brand and back it up with a consistently great story and experience for your customers.
2. Make a promise. Your brand is a promise kept. Create a consistent value or experience that customers can expect from you. Answer an unmet need your customers face. Then do it again, and again, and again.
3. Tell the world about your promise. Be creative in how you communicate your brand (aka your promise) to current and target customers. Use all channels available but make the communications relevant and consistent to that promise.
4. Keep your promise. Be singular and stick to what you say and convey. Customers, more than ever, are savvy and inundated with information and advertising. Always try to go beyond expectation and offer surprise and delight wherever you can.
5. Strengthen your promise. On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic. The more consistent you are with communicating and backing up your promise, the better. Consistency only makes your promise resonate stronger. Be authentic and deliberate in all that you do!
In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job doing a “Brand Makeover”. What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?
Right now, I think Burger King has done a great job of sharing a brand refresh that is built on the promise they made to the world- delivering an engaging and authentic alternative to McDonalds. Going back to their roots and staying true to their promise has helped create a tone and look that is playful and distinctive, which sets the brand apart from other fast-food chains. Burger King has done brand refresh that hits all the right notes.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. J
I think we should all take the time to find out our why. Why am I here? Why do I do what I do? Why would customers (or even employees) care? I think if we all encourage each other to find our why, the world might just benefit J
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
We are not alone in this world and we will always need each other to create something truly great. Intelligent collaboration has been a life lesson for me- the idea of embracing teamwork and opening your mind to new ideas and approaches is how to do things. Any other way is just too difficult (and much less fun).
How can our readers follow you online?
- Instagram: @lo_la_creative
- Facebook: @TheLOLAAgency
- LinkedIn: LO:LA (London: Los Angeles)
Thank you so much for these excellent insights! We wish you continued success in your work.