1-Minute Marketing Lesson: Jettison the Meta Language

I recently had the pleasure of judging the North American Effie Awards with a lot of great people from both the agency side and from some of America’s marquee brands. The Effies are unique because awards aren’t handed out just for excellent creative. The campaigns are judged by the thinking behind the creative: how well are the marketing challenges identified, and how insightful are the strategies and creative executions that address those challenges.

The campaigns we judged were wide-ranging. But there was a commonality in all the best work: they stemmed from elegantly simple creative/marketing strategies. Once again, I was reminded that crisp and insightful strategies are more powerful than long, circular prose. Quality beats quantity. In fact, the best campaign I reviewed stemmed from a strategy sentence that was less than 9 words.

Moments like this should remind all of us that the craft of brand building, the craft of creating big ideas, starts with rolled up sleeves and deep dives on the front end. And once we’ve done that, our capacity to edit ourselves and jettison meta language needs to be fearless. Because tight, crisp strategic thinking is still the most liberating foundation for great ideas.