Special thanks to Source One Management Services for this guest post

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“What does it look like to throw like a girl? Fight like a girl? Run like a girl?” Remember this Super Bowl commercial that got everyone talking? Do you remember how captivated you were at the end when the producer asked a young girl what it meant to run like a girl and she answered, “It means run as fast as you can.”

Leo Burnett’s Always ad “Like a Girl” took home the 2015 Emmy for outstanding commercial at the National Academy of Television Arts and Science’s annual Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony. This commercial beat out Gatorade’s Derek Jeter tribute “Made in New York,” Budweiser’s “Lost Dog,” and Snickers’ “You’re Not You” spot “Brady Bunch” (Diaz, AdAge). This commercial was up against so many other memorable ads, so what made it go viral and why was it so groundbreaking? To put it simply, it challenged the typical advertisements for feminine products. Procter & Gamble’s Always brand used an empowering message to reach their target shopper.

Creating a successful business means teaching your customers about your product and generating brand awareness. Somewhere along the supply chain you will begin to market and advertise your product and there are countless ways to do so, including: promoting your product as a necessity; highlighting the trendiness of your product; or emphasizing your product’s cost effectiveness over the competition, etc. The key? – focusing on your customer.

It comes as no surprise that the idea for the “Like a Girl” commercial came from analyzing customer research. Fama Francisco, Vice President of Global Always, and her colleagues looked closely at the data and found that girls experience a significant drop in self-confidence when they hit puberty (Berman, Huffington Post). This consumer insight allowed the Always team the ability to step back and think about why young girls have less self-confidence during this time and how they can impact this.

When thinking about creating a memorable brand, it is crucial to have an advertising agency that will sit down with you and understand your message. You want an agency who will focus on your target customer and create a campaign that will be just as timeless and captivating as the “Like a Girl” commercial.

When considering the right advertising agency for your company, it comes down to five main criteria.

  1. Company Culture – The ideal advertising agency should be a cultural fit for your company. For example, Always is a Procter & Gamble brand. Procter & Gamble’s core values are Integrity, Leadership, Ownership, Passion for Winning, and Trust. P&G would want a marketing agency with similar values. Having similar fundamental values will help set expectations from the start and limit the likelihood of any friction between your organization and the agency.
  2. Account Management – Not only do you want to find a company with similar values as your company, but you also want an account management team who will treat your brand with immense care. The Account Management team will be spending many hours working on building the right marketing for your organization, and you want to be sure they connect with your brand. Get to know the people who you will be working with and learn what motivates them to produce their best work. For the “Like a Girl” commercial, Fama Francisco found a team at Leo Burnett who brought her vision of addressing young girls’ self-confidence to fruition.
  3. Creativity – After choosing a culturally-fit agency and getting familiar with your account management team, next assess their creative and innovative capabilities. As in the “Like a Girl” commercial, Always no longer wanted to go their normal route and simply talk about the product. They wanted to address the real issue: young girls’ self-confidence. It may be helpful to utilize focus groups or conduct research, but it is also pivotal to have creative minds. You want to create an image and concept that will resonate with your consumers. Creativity and out-of-the-box thinking differentiate the right agency from the competition.
  4. Experience and industry expertise – Experience in the field is vital. You want to choose a partner who has industry knowledge and ability predict how your advertisement will be received. Leo Burnett’s industry experience was likely a factor in P&G’s agency selection decision. The advertising firm was founded in 1998 and is the 9th largest worldwide agency, creating influential advertisements for companies such as Hallmark, Coca-Cola, and Allstate.
  5. Commitment and flexibility – Lastly, you want to choose an agency who is going to be with you every step of the way, even when you encounter obstacles. In the very beginning, don’t forget to ask: Why did the agency you chose, choose you? Why were they so passionate to be on your account? Do they only want to add your company name to their website, or do they feel that your brand and company has a purpose? If the agency you choose can connect with you on a more fundamental level, then that company will be committed to producing an impactful advertisement. They will be flexible when problems arise and they will help build your brand.

Choosing the right advertising partner may be a difficult task, but keeping these five criteria in mind will allow you to better assess potential agencies and maybe even put you on the right path for an award winning marketing campaign.

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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