Proof Or Truth.


At McCann-Erickson, a huge and venerable global ad agency, the tagline is Truth Well Told.  Lots of agencies make up taglines — more like ad lines — but few have them for their own brands. Truth Well Told is one of the better ones.  Back when invented, the McCann shop stewards understood advertising would be rife with untruths and near truths.  The word truth is bandied about a good deal by planners (strategists) today. I’ll let you decide what the word means along with it nuances but, certainly, there is nothing wrong with hanging you marketing laundry on a truth.

At What’s The Idea? we are in the brand strategy business. Not the ad business.  In this world one must convince consumers a brand is better. Songs are nice, so are pretty pictures. Funny is good too. But to convince a consumer your product is better you have to prove it. It’s not good enough to just say it.  This is where advertising and much brand strategy falls short. Planners’ day jobs are to dig for insights. Insights that make marketing communications more personally motivating and unique.  But those insights, which may be truths, aren’t always proofs. They may be stimulating for creative teams, yet might not create muscle memory around a brand position. That’s the job of proof.

I often tell clients brand strategy is about finding that business-winning claim then proving it every day. That’s the job of the planner, the brand manager, the marketer and the ad agencies.

There are a lot of truths out there in the world. But not all truths, which may or may not capture the attention of consumers, will sell your product. That’s the job of proof.  If you would like examples of how proof and proof planks are organized into real brand strategies, write