Listening to podcast This Cultural Moment which discusses the rise of secularism as the dominant Western worldview, there was a one liner that caught me:

 

Be careful believing what you want to believe

 

The discussion was that in this era of platform trumping influence, it’s very easy to find anything out there which can help reinforce something you believe, or wish to be true. This discussion was on faith, but it’s equally true in our world of marketing.

I’ve recently finished How Brands Grow, an absolute counter-culture view of how our agency has grown. The premise of this book is to debunk a lot of marketing folklore pitched around loyalty & niche marketing. The key takeaway being Brands with the largest physical & mental availability will grow the biggest & fastest.

It debunks this through reference to multiple case studies and research reports cross category and cross decades.

I’m still formulating how this influences my thinking, as we have been lucky enough to witness first hand the success of direct to consumer businesses using targeted groups of people to achieve growth.

But at least the meta-learning I had was crystallised after reading Start With Why as the next listen on my list. Within 1 chapter, I could feel my subconscious relax. That here was a book preaching to me what I already believed, it was safe again.

People are rational, people have values that drive them, people look for brands that share these values with them, people use these brands to connect & engage with the brand and others around them that share their philosophy for life.

I firmly don’t believe either view point is 100% correct, that there is somehow a one size magic secret sauce for all brands to grow and succeed full funnel, but I realised I’m already extremely well versed in the power of communicating a core differentiation and purpose in marketing to the smallest viable audiences; it’s how our agency and our clients have grown.

But the last 18 months in particular, as our agency has grown-up to provide full funnel advertising. I’ve learned the power of Reach & Frequency, Distinctiveness over Differentiation and I’m learning that how you think Consumers see your brand and who your competitors are, is not actually how they see you.

 

It’s hard to listen to the opposite of what you thought you knew. It’s why when I survey the advertising landscape there is a clear distinction between Brand Agencies and Performance Agencies, and very few (if any) who believe in the power of both.

 

We’re still making our way there, but our goal is clearly insight for Intentional to be a truly full funnel agency for direct to consumer brands. The only way to get there will be fostering a culture of openness to being wrong.