Freehand is defined thusly:
1. drawn or executed by hand without guiding instruments, measurements, or other aids: a freehand map.
2. in a freehand manner: to draw freehand.
When CMOs, senior marketers and their agencies say “consumers own brands,” it makes for good copy but bad management. Consumers buy products, weighing in with their pocketbooks as to taste, preference and price requirements, but they do not own the brands. Ad, direct and digital agencies have known this for years. It is what creates the conflict between client and agency. Clients want the work they want and agencies want the work they want. Clients own the brands.
Freehand messaging is what happens when you turn your brand over to consumers to manage. The conversation, then, can take any course it wants. Good, bad, indifferent. If I am working my ass off managing a craft cookie brand, around attributes of “naturally moist,” “healthier ingredients” and “complex flavors” — on a shoestring budget — I want to make sure people are talking about those things…the things that sell my cookies. Not cookie ephemera. When the consumer discussion is not guided by brand managers and agencies, the discussion is freehand. And marketers are not doing their job. Every dollar spent by a marketer needs to result in a deposit in the brand bank. Withdrawals are the Antichrist. Stop the freehand by managing it! Peace.