Paul Harris, Stratagem, Healthcare

June 2, 2008

What clients really want is to be able to control the message. And the message is hard to control when a lot of different touchpoints are manipulating a brand. Agencies can open the door to social media, but they have to be advised on the pluses and minuses.

What clients really want is to be able to control the message. And the message is hard to control when a lot of different touchpoints are manipulating a brand. Agencies can open the door to social media, but they have to be advised on the pluses and minuses.

In many cases, budgets have been slashed. Clients are looking for more value-added services. These can include all the traditional services: account planning, media analysis and placement, market insight research, brand foundation, brand identity, brochures and print collateral, direct mail, trade show and booth graphics, point-of-sale, outdoor media, packaging, broadcast. They can also include nontraditional services such as Web, interactive, social media, guerrilla marketing, word-of-mouth. The aim is to reach the client's prospects in new and different ways—online media, word-of-mouth—to create buzz.

An agency is there to sell a product or service. At times, in order to promote a product effectively, the envelope needs to be pushed. And that may make the client's regulatory affairs department very nervous. Do not second–guess regulatory; it's easier to back off a great creative concept than never to have gone there at all.

Doctors oftentimes don't reveal their emotions, but they're there. Tapping into that emotional response requires a different approach. In this day and age, brands need to elicit an emotional response from their audience. It's an approach that can seem very unfamiliar to a client who is looking for 80s and 90s type pharma marketing. But five years from now healthcare advertising will be more human, more real, and will come from every direction. It's likely it won't look or sound like the advertising we know today.

The Skinny

Stratagem hails from San Francisco, and in keeping with the city's renowned, nontraditional spirit, the agency is nonhierarchical, which they believe makes for a less layered, more intimate client-agency relationship.

Telephone: 415-397-3667

E-mail: paul@stratagem-hc.com

Web site: stratagem-hc.com