“If the message is right, who cares what screen people see it on? If the message is wrong, what difference does it make?” – The Ad Contrarian

Image Source: Red Signal

My friend Bob Hoffman, CEO of a nice little $100 million agency in San Francisco, has built an alter ego brand around challenging most everything.  He has a way of getting to the point that is both charming and infuriating, depending on which side of the point you happen to be on.

I love the piece of wisdom that Bob espouses in the headline of this post.  It is a truth that transcends all of the hubbub that is written every day about new channels, new digital platforms, apps, and all manner of new widgets that will change how we communicate.  For those of us in the advertising business, keeping up with all of these changes is cost of entry.  What is still the most important thing we can do for our clients is help them create messaging that is relevant and true to their brands.

Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the channels and choices that technology has created and forget that the business we are in is storytelling.  But the beauty of a great story, a brand story, is that regardless of where you heard it or saw it—you remember it.  And if we do a great job of telling that story, you act on it.

Right now brands across the country and next door, are crafting their messaging for 2013.  It is my favorite part of the year, as we look at the competitive landscape, the customers, the channels and the market changes that become a puzzle to be pieced together strategically to form the launching pad for our clients’ 2013 stories.

My friend’s–Bob’s–caution is one for all of us who are marketers to remember.  Do what it takes to first understand what sets our product or service apart.  Spend the time to craft and test the messages to assure that how we express our differentiation resonates with our targets.  And then unleash the creativity to use every channel (new and old) to effectively connect.  Measure, optimize and repeat.

It is this faithful formula of discipline coupled with imagination that makes agencies and their clients successful.   After all, we are in the idea business and big ideas are not defined by the size of the screen.  Right, Bob?