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The death of the core proposition

January 13, 2008

Mohamed Iqbal is a Senior Planning Director at Ogilvy in Bangalore, he is also a member of our Planning for Good team.

A couple of years back, he wrote a paper that connected The Long Tail to brand communication. It won him a top prize from WPP.

He has now distilled the paper down into a Change This manifesto and it makes a great read.

The essence of his argument is that for years brands and agencies have followed a disciplined approach to uncovering and communicating ONE thing about a brand.

Mohamed believes this thinking is now flawed because of the widespread availablity of free and cheap media. He doesn’t suggest that it’s wrong to have one lead proposition, it’s just that you can have a number of others and target specific groups with them.

The Long Tail of Brand Communication

In addition, armed with real-time data, you can easily calculate the ones that aren’t working and the ones that are.

One really interesting point he makes is that agencies believe when they launch a new campaign, they are making a clean break with the past. It’s a pre-internet notion, today, nothing is forgotten because every message ever created is now accessible and informs our brand understanding.

Finally, he recommends letting the consumers work it out for themselves, put the messages out there and they will find the nuances that work for them.

For all the planners out there, this suggests there’s a new way to work and that our briefs needs to change to reflect the opportunity. The world has certainly gotten more complex because we can tell more stories, so the critical component becomes, media, because we need to know where we can tell these stories.

Posted by Ed Cotton

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