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August 17, 2016
Lost in Our Own Underwear
 
In this business, we get so caught up in our own underwear, many times we forget who the boss is.
 
It’s not the client. It’s not the Chief Marketing Officer. It’s not the Creative Director, the Account Director, the President, or the CFO of the agency.
 
It’s the consumer. And you better believe it.
 
Because when we forget who the boss is, we also forget what we are selling.





 
(DANGER, Will Robinson, DANGER! DANGER!)
 
So, what do we sell? We do not sell products. We do not sell services.
 
We sell the solutions the services provide. Or, we sell the end benefits of what the products do.
 
For instance, Apple sells the ability to Think Different. Not just a shiny new Mac. They don’t sell a phone. They sell the ability to stay connected with work and friends while on the go, without missing a beat.
 
I again point to Apple because they simply get it right, when so many others are only interested in “moving the merch.” Believe me, no one moves more Merchandise than Apple, but they do it by selling the problem they solve, not the product.
 
We have enough to consider already, with the ever-moving media landscape shifting under our feet daily, with client expectations for conversions propelled from media platforms built for follows, likes, and shares.
 
Knowing what we sell, by never forgetting who the boss is, has always been key to developing the most indelible brands in modern history. When I was cutting my teeth as a young copywriter on BMW at legendary ad agency Ammirati & Puris, even though most of the executions featured a hero product shot of a car, the message focused on what the driving experience does for the driver. The story transcended the metal, glass, and rubber. It was about what the car did for you — not just the car.
 
Today, we spend our energy on gaining shares, likes, and follows, which are all important, no doubt. But none of it will matter if we forget what we are selling, by forgetting who the boss is and what the boss wants: the benefit that product or service provides.

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Steve Biegel develops transformative ideas through persuasive communications programs to help change consumer behavior, and has done so throughout his career. Steve is a battle-tested thinker with a broad perspective on the industry who can infuse others with creative energy while applying it to the details of the craft. Steve helped hatch some of the most effective campaigns for brands of all sizes and shapes. His ambidextrous approach to creative problem solving through digital, social, and traditional mediums is built on provocative ideation that surprises, informs, and rewards audiences. Steve is co-founder and Creative Director at Scarlet Heifer, a NYC digital communications boutique. Contact him here
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