But it doesn't stop there?
It only becomes completely interesting if you can respond to a cultural movement or a social tension as a brand. Smart people gave this the term 'cultural branding'. As a brand, you can actually mean something. Not just for the business, but for society. Cultural branding transcends marketing.
So is it's not about a 'look and feel' for the cultural sector?
(Laughs). Many people think that cultural branding is about a logo, design and identity for the cultural sector. Of course we have nice references within this section. Think of M-Leuven or Kanal-Centre Pompidou within the cultural sector or the race cycling brand Jaegher, the fashion brand Le fabuleux Marcel de Bruxelles and Generous biscuits in other sectors.
But cultural branding is about being culturally relevant. As a brand, you bring an answer to the needs of a group or a subculture of our community. And by this I don't only mean "the culture lover." Women, motorcyclists or school-age youth can all be a subculture.
Can you give an example of this?
I love the 'Like a Girl' by Always. Whereas for a long time they communicated about their perfect product features — you know "the blue liquid" — this campaign is about girls' self-confidence. I have two teenage daughters myself and I notice that the age-old prejudices around gender - such as rational thinking, being good at math or whatever — still have an impact. Always has addressed this in a very simple and accessible way with this campaign. I very much welcome such a commitment from brands. Too bad we don't see more of it.
Then the digital world is ideal. A story can easily be picked up there.
I believe mostly in good creation, which is based on the right insights of course. Research by Nielsen Research shows that 5-35% effectiveness of an online campaign is achieved by the correct targetting of audiences and that 50-80% is achieved by an impactful creation. Everything now seems to be about targetting, while the importance of a good creation should definitely get more attention. Let's face it, we won't be surprised much anymore. You're lucky if you see one decent commercial on any given night. And those prerolls, for example. I look more at how I can click away from them than at the preroll itself. Proper targetting or a high GRP does not solve this problem. Managing your own brands makes you realize how marketing is just a small part of a very difficult puzzle.
I notice you're an atypical agency.
I take that as a compliment. We don't strive for mainstream. The general public also wants to be surprised. We hardly participate in awards either. It creates freedom in the way you work. You can use that money to do other things that are much more inspiring. For example, we buy art from young Belgian artists and take the agency to the Venice Biennale. We also invest in our own brands. Not only because it is very satisfying, you learn a lot from it: production, design, competition, service... You better understand the concerns of customers.
Tom Boonen now drives a Jaegher and that’s a blast (laughs). We are also very excited about the high technology project 'Rubey' that soon will be rolling out.