The One-Shot Answer: Brand salvation in today’s disaster of complexity.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 2.25.20 PMWhat is your brand trying to mean to people? Right now. The strategy behind all your marketing? If you can’t state the answer in one crisp, concise phrase, you don’t have an answer, you have a 45-page deck, a long-winded website, a brochure, an undisciplined blah blah blah that talks in endless circles around it.

If you can’t clearly and succinctly articulate your brand in one phrase, how can your consumer?

Ask eight different people who work on your brand, and the odds are good you’ll get eight completely different answers, or minimally, eight noticeably different wordings.

That’s why brands desperately need one short, provocative, razor-sharp set of words that states exactly what the brand means to the world. A single, pithy phrase that directs and connects ALL communications. A One-Shot Answer. That’s what we call it at The Baiocco And Maldari Connection.

Anyone who has spent any time in marketing knows how epically hard it is to get to a single phrase because “adding” is a marketing disease. Everyone must add something. It justifies positions and titles, it legitimizes research, it validates boatloads of money exchanging hands. No one gets paid a million-dollar fee for not adding anything, for saying “I think it’s good as is.” Not gonna’ happen. Also, we’re quite clever at making it all fit, at playing marketing Tetris. But just because we can make it fit doesn’t mean it should be in there. There’s a great Antoine de Saint Exupery quote: “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Great marketers realize this. They avoid self-inflicted confusion. They look to purify, not add more toxicity. I can state unequivocally, of the thousands of things I have worked on in my career, the best were driven by one, unifying brand phrase.

Here’s why the One-Shot Answer works:

It galvanizes everyone that touches the brand.
-It can be put up on a wall. All can follow it.
-People can rally behind it. (It’s hard to rally around eight different povs.)
It provides a guiding principle for all the work.
-You can now more easily decide if any given piece serves the brand or not.
-It gives your consumer one consistent, driving message, so you create cumulative brand power.
It assures you are driven by brand not platform.
-It counteracts the trend to chase every new technology whether it’s right for the brand or not. With the One-Shot Answer, decisions become clearer.
-All new tools, tactics and technology serve it, versus the opposite.
It generates more proprietary ideas and executions.
-When you’re forced to cull it all down to a short phrase, you must be more choiceful, and more clever. So a One-Shot Answer automatically starts from a more distinctive place, which means your output becomes more uniquely your own.
-It provides the launch pad for an explosion of ideas across all media, R&D and beyond.
It’s easy to act on because it’s clean and to the point, so ideas get to market faster.
-No one is paralyzed by interpretation.

Most people would probably agree simplicity is good, so why is it so hard to get to a single, unifying One-Shot Answer? The communications world is an overloaded disaster of complexity across the board, and makes it next to impossible to achieve singular clarity on anything. Besides the obvious maze of too many meetings, layers and testing, the biggest offender is language itself. Trying to get to a marketing answer, you drown in a sea of semantics: platform, essence, the comms idea, the creative idea, the idea statement, the campaign idea, strategy, activation idea, area, approach, purpose, digital plan, digital framework and on and on. It’s beyond excessive. I have sat in hundreds of meetings watching very smart people wrestle with these. No one can negotiate them all. That process takes over, and becomes the job itself, versus trying to get to the right answer for your brand.

On the tech front, exciting new things are born each day, and many companies chase every shiny new object, not knowing if it has anything to offer the brand. Which actually provide value? Which are cool widgets, but have no advertising applicability? Which should I do, which should I skip? How can anyone navigate, 50 million downloaded apps, billions of random youtube clips, over 1,000 TV channels, and so on? Someone needs to make it simpler, to provide a filter to help with the overwhelming decision process.

It’s time to unknot the messy tangle of language, to streamline it down to what really matters: one short, compelling phrase. The one that drives all your marketing. The one that puts clarity where there was once complexity. The one that inspires an explosion of multimedia ideas. The One-Shot Answer. What’s yours?

Rob Baiocco
CCO, The Baiocco And Maldari Connection



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