Dave Trott, who was one of the advertising greats of the 1970s and 80s, once said that the difference between brands then, and brands now, was that – back in the day – a marketing manager used to work for the same company for thirty years, while today we are lucky if he works for the same firm for more than two or three. The same is invariably true of advertising and design people. The benefit of someone working on the same brand for thirty years was, well, consistency. The marketing manager, or the advertising account director, or the designer herself, became the guardian of the brand. They knew the personality of the brand inside out, they knew the consumer better than they knew their husband or wife. They had watched the brand evolve, and every step was just a step, not a leap. Consistency isn’t boring, it’s branding.
For many, the idea of working for the same company for thirty years is a frightening one. That’s unless you own the company and the brand is your retirement fund. When the success of your brand is something that only you and your bank manager seem to care deeply about, then the idea of spending years growing something doesn’t sound like a nightmare but a legacy. There is also a small but important number of marketing people who genuinely believe in the brands they work for. We remember one who went to work for the competition, but continued to ring up his previous agency whenever he thought the advertising for his old love was veering from the brand strategy.
At Craft we have been working with one of our clients for twenty years. That’s a very long time in advertising. We work with them because we believe in their mission, and they work with us because they trust us and (hopefully) enjoy the journey.
When you work on a brand for twenty years, and less, you become involved in all aspects of the brand communication. That, put simply, is why we not only do brand development, but also all of the key ancillary disciplines, like advertising, promotion, digital marketing and sometimes public relations. Some of our clients have even asked us to interview general managers and help sign up supply agreements. We’re not specialists in all of these disciplines, but I hope you agree we bring a degree of professionalism and thought into each of the pieces we have put in our portfolio.
Many of our clients have become friends. That’s why you see some more surprising examples in our work, like magazine design. When someone has come to you with their house remortgaged and a business idea in their heads, that’s when you do some of your best thinking. Their expectation is that you will design something that will last, something that will grow sales, something they can afford, and something that they can one day sell. They’re not looking for a quick solution, but a long-term solution. They’re coming to you and looking for consistency.