Return on Strategy



Ad agencies make money selling stuff. Want a TV commercial? That will cost you $350,000. Want a billboard? $25,000. How about a direct mail program? $125,000. Website? $75,000, if we don’t have to outsource it. If there is commissionable media…all the better.


As an ad guy coming up in the business a great day was one during which you presented brilliant creative and the client approved it with excitement, energy and money. If the creative really worked and sales followed you could just smell success.


But, today, as a brand planner the real excitement comes from presenting a brand strategy that lights up a CEO. When s/he reads the paper or the screen and breaks out in a smile and says “You get me” that’s the home run.  A brand strategy is not the creative, it’s the idea that leads the creative — it is the long term idea that makes the money.  I use a line in presentations all the time “Campaigns come and go, but a powerful branding idea is indelible.” Powerful branding ideas are how agencies should make money. Their ability to deliver on that idea should be the key to remuneration. Therein lies the ROS (return on strategy) conundrum.


Any thoughts on how to make this work? Drop me a note at Peace!