Donovan Triplett is a Senior Planner and Strategist at McGarrah Jessee, a full-service brand development agency. He has experience working with the following brands: Ball, Bayer, Georgia Lottery, HoneyBaked Ham, Lyft, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Norwegian Cruise Line, Novant Health, Toys“R”Us, Voya Financial, and Wingstop.
Donovan graduated from the University of Florida in 2014 with a bachelor’s in Advertising and a double minor in Communications Studies and Business Administration. His most notable achievements include being an honoree for the Bill Sharp Award for the Future of Advertising in 2018, being selected as a member of the highly competitive ADCOLOR Futures Program in 2014, and winning UF’s Best Overall Advertising Campaign in 2014.
Mr. Triplett recently visited Concordia University’s Advertising Management class, taught by Professor Nathan Araya. Here he shared brand and advertising advice to a room full of upperclassmen studying Business Administration.
When asked how to successfully create an advertisement, Donovan explained that one of the worst things that can happen is if no one is talking about your brand. If your target audience is indifferent about you, your company must find ways to keep their interest. Most importantly, you need to keep them talking about your brand. The best way to reach your audience is to ask: What is in the way of them liking this product or service? Then, address and solve it.
A great example is McDonald’s “Our Food, Your Questions” marketing campaign. They knew consumers were not buying their food because of the lack of nutritional transparency and the overall stigma of it being considered the most unhealthy fast-food chain. In 2014, McDonald’s launched this campaign so customers could openly ask questions on their forum. This allowed McDonald’s to disprove rumors and educate consumers.
Each brand should strive to create a “brand spirit,” he continues. This is similar to how Nike promotes confidence and boldness with its motto “Just Do It”. They promote the idea that “if you have a body, you are an athlete”. They are able to apply this “brand spirit” to all of their products, especially ones catered to those who have disabilities and religious preferences. How can you apply the “brand spirit” to your new product?
Mr. Triplett dived deeper into the psychology behind creating an advertisement. When you’re trying to convince someone to do something they’ve never done, attach it to a separate trend. Modern brands understand the power of creating and implementing trendy hashtags, for example, Dorito’s recent “The Cool Ranch” advertisement. After winning a dance-off against Sam Elliott, Lil Nas X rides away on his horse as “#CoolRanchDance” appears on the screen. He turns around and asks, “Who got next?” This call-to-action plays on the recent trend of making videos dancing and posting them on social media.
There is one important concept to keep in mind when creating an effective creative brief for an advertisement: Brevity. Good ideas tend to get lost in a lot of words. When you research and try to fully understand a brand, you want to put all the information you find into a brief. But, Donovan explains, you cannot. Interesting doesn’t mean useful. Be critical and only incorporate what’s essential. Keep these questions in mind when researching: What problem are we trying to solve? What is the human thing we are trying to make right? The data and research itself is important, but the implications are more important. What does it mean? What is the clearest form of the truth?
Donovan concludes: “Talk like you’re talking to your mother. Don’t be too complicated!”
Written by Hannah Watson
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