There's this thing with print. When it's good it just grabs your attention. Nothing to click, watch, listen to, search for, or forward to anyone. Just you, internally processing your thoughts about a brand in silence. Until you decide to turn the page.
I remember reading Stan Richards' book when it first came out. The part that stood out to me was his open office concept, which was more rare at the time--and how no one, except, I think, his CFO had a door. Stan said that with doors employees always think, "if there's a closed door there's a 100% chance they are talking about me in there." I thought that was well-stated.
I also remember losing a pitch once to The Richards Group years ago because the client loved a particular piece of work they did for The Home Depot. It was called "Happy" and I happened to find it still out there...
"Well, we start with a simple one. I really believe and have always believed that people need to like the work. It has to be endearing in some way. It may create a smile. It may create a laugh. It may create a tear. It may provide information that wouldn't have come any other way, but there's some element that makes the people like the advertising, and we work very hard to find that element."
The first time I saw Chick-Fil-A work, I backtracked the agency--and it was Richards. I did the same with Motel 6. Stan should be in the Advertising Hall of Fame, which just happened.
Most industry people probably think of Stan for the recognition he's received for not selling his agency, saying that he has "watched a hundred agencies be acquired and cannot name one that got better." This is also well-stated and pretty much true. Rarely are things black and white. I'd argue that R/GA, Adam & Eve and Deutsch all 'got better' but, yes, it's sad to think of the Ammiratis and the Wells Rich Greenes who are no longer around and the many, many others who are still here, but aren't nearly the same as what they were before.
For me, Stan's agency has consistently done work that is 'endearing,' to use his words. The fact he hasn't sold is great. But I've just always been a fan of the work. It's an agency I've always liked. Only competed with him once, and it's Stan 1, John 0.
In 2009 McKinsey introduced the Consumer Decision Journey. What was good about it then was that it took the traditional purchase funnel and reminded everyone that consumer paths are irregular and that things happen after purchase, too.
What I found interesting this time with the Consumer Decision Journey, that didn't connect as strong the first time I read it, was the language around Step 1---"consideration". "Consideration" as the starting point is different than "awareness" or even "interest". It calls up a reminder that to be considered there has to be either quite a strong and concise thing along with amazing creativity (GEICO/"Save 15% Or More..."), or something extremely compelling to draw people in to learn more as a next step (84 Lumber/Super Bowl ad).
The point of caution here is to not get myopically fixated on listing extensive value props as the only answer to satisfy "consideration." Creating effective "consideration" can take several forms---I think the most important thing is that "consideration" is more substantial than just "awareness", either by what a message might say, or what it might compel someone to do, beyond just making them aware.