By Jeffrey Hedquist
Instead of just gathering information from your client and then going back to the station to create something to bring back to him, you can improve your chances of success by getting your client to participate in the process.
(In this article, he/him/his could just as well be she/her/hers)
This doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll be writing with you.
Start by reminding your client that his potential customers are bombarded with over 5,000 messages a day, that when people hear what sounds like a commercial, they don’t pay attention and that they all have Advertising Attention Deficit Disorder. Now you’ve set the stage for selling him on the importance of crafting a commercial that doesn’t sound like one.
I’ve talked before in detail about asking your client what I call Audience Needs Analysis questions – the atypical questions that will generate interesting stories. “Peel the onion” with him to uncover the emotional problems that his product or service solves.
Talk to your client about his reasons for doing what he does, his passion for his business and for helping his clients. Record the conversation and take notes.
As you continue the interview and probe for stories, give him feedback on the unique, usable stories he comes up with. Often, the things that he thinks are insignificant will make terrific commercials.
By asking him to stop and elaborate on certain stories, by making note of them and bringing his attention to the best ones, you’re reminding him that he’s providing important input for his campaign.
Review the interesting story-worthy points with him before you leave. Make sure you’re both in agreement on the direction. Get his buy in on the reasons for creating commercials that don’t sound like commercials, and his understanding that you’ll elaborate the stories he’s given you.
When you return with the campaign or spec spot, reinforce with him that you’ve taken his input and ideas and have created his campaign based on your agreed upon goals.
This client participation should improve your chances of getting commercials, campaigns and spec spots approved and improve his chances of getting results.
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