05 Red Setter Marketing – Are you giving your clients cognitive dissonance?

By Alex Blyth, Editorial Director


You’ve figured out your proposition. It’s brilliant. It perfectly captures the essence of who you are and what you do better than anyone else. It’s what the market wants – you know it, and you can’t wait to tell them all about it.


But cool your heels for just a minute. Rush now to an outreach campaign – whether that’s media, social, email, phone, face to face or whatever – and you’ll do more harm than good.


You’ll be out there inspiring people, getting them excited in what your agency can do for them, and then they’ll be clicking onto your website, asking to see some case studies, exploring your social feeds, maybe even asking for your ideas on some work.


Will your website reflect your new proposition? Will your case studies? Your Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social channels? Your presentation deck?


Probably not. If you’re lucky it will be a well-designed site/PDF/feed/deck that looks good, carries your visual identity, and is easy to navigate/use/follow, but if it’s saying something different to what you’re excitedly communicating doubt will creep in, and you’ll be losing that new client.


It’s called cognitive dissonance: the mental discomfort experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs. And you’re imposing it on your prospective client.


It doesn’t matter how small the difference is. It could just be a slightly different phrasing, or a re-ordering of the work you show, or a tightening of your tone of voice – if it’s not on message it needs straightening out.


So, while step one in any successful marketing plan must be to think deeply about your audience, the issues they face and how you are able to help with those issues, step two must be to review your owned channels and ensure they reflect not only the quality you want to convey but also the proposition you developed in step one.


Typically, we do this through a tone of voice workshop – mapping out how our client talks about itself and its work – followed by a thorough audit of all owned media. We then develop social media strategies, write copy for websites and case studies and then agree a plan to ensure at every point a prospective client encounters that agency they receive the same distinctive and compelling message.


That’s it. The groundwork is done. The stadium is built. Now of course we don’t sit back and wait for them to come. Now it’s time to get out and tell the world!

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