When bread goes stale in the food industry, many restaurants cut it into cubes and drop it in the deep fryer. Instant gourmet croutons. That's how fine dining takes a $3 salad and turns into a $12 garden bowl.

Chefs are the masters of reinvention. They must be. Their medium carries such a short shelf life. The best ones know how to squeeze every ounce of opportunity out of a product.

We see similarities in today's marketing, where the key ingredient – content – also has a quick "Eat By" date. Brand developers find themselves constantly redefining and justifying content's value in generating sales. They must quantify how images and words lead directly to dollars. At the same time, they're feverishly whipping up narratives to feed the public's insatiable appetite for new, stimulating bites.

So, from the creative kitchen they find shortcuts – semi home cooked tricks to try and satisfy everyone. They come up with muffin tops like Woke Advertising to seem fresh. It’s a modern term used to describe conscious-driven messaging. Lots of marketers are throwing it around, pushing it as the next craving-buster for millennials who seek greater responsibility from the brands they support.

Gillette, Facebook, Budweiser… they’ve all put Woke Advertising to the test. But is it really an edgy, new flavor or just doctored-up leftovers? Flip over to the ingredients label, and it sounds a hell of lot like repackaged Social Branding – and that even had a familiar taste. When a company breaks away from pitching product to raise awareness on a universal issue, it used to be called a PSA. Not each of these is the exact same, but, they're certainly not all that different. So, what are the prep directions for a tasty woke campaign?

12 ounces of Cause:

What’s the universal challenge to overcome?

6 ounces of Brand Correlation:

How does your business relate to the cause and change it for the better?

3 ounces of Example:

What has your brand done to start the change? What could the world look like if others joined in?


Garnish with a percentage of revenue going to a related charity.

New takes on old marketing concepts – like Woke Advertising – are inevitable. It's a product of these fast, saturated promotional times. Every minute "Order Up!" is being shouted from the wait station. However, as others sell you on the newest marketing dish, "You simply must try," it's smart to know what you're tabling up to. Are you paying for true innovation or yesterday's special with a fresh name? Is it branding or noise? The answer most likely will determine your satisfaction after delving in.

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When it comes to developing marketing campaigns, that early rush of concepts can quickly build up to a soupy sludge of terrible ideas. Before you know it, the production pipeline is mucked up to the point of total impasse. Brainstorm sessions run rampant, responsibility confusion befalls the team, executive leadership starts micromanaging, everyone despises the project.

That's because there's a lot of space for creative in a campaign, and creative represents a rather subjective thing that comes from an emotional part of our brains. There's vulnerability in expressing our imaginations. It's even more heightened in a group setting, where folks pile on judgement, opinions, expectation of ROI, etc. We hold on tightly to our ideas, and when we bring them to the table only to have to loosen our grip, it's extremely difficult.

So, how do you keep everyone involved, excited and unified? Set some basic ground rules from the outset. We use the following guiding points to provide structure and keep things flowing in one direction when building marketing campaigns. If need be, we pull them out at the beginning of each creative swap, progress report, update session, etc. They're a reminder that the campaign is bigger than one person's ego, and with everyone onboard, success will be greater.

Explore options for marketing campaigns

Early in the process, map out various marketing campaign ideas before selecting a final direction. This is the metaphorical Petri dish phase. Consider different combinations of creative and delivery strategies, weighing the pros / cons of each. Don't be scared to brainstorm out loud and with an open mind. The best campaigns are a hybrid of a few original concepts.

Create to suit your audience

Don't get hung up exclusively on your team's personal preferences. Rather, consider what will resonate with your target market(s). As a team, develop a customer persona, then craft a unique personality, look and message that will intrigue that person. Step outside of yourselves.

Commit to progress

Set timelines. Allow space for fleshing out best steps forward, but don't succumb to analysis paralysis. Brainstorm with endpoints in mind and execute next moves at a clearly-defined time. Know that your marketing campaigns will – and should – evolve post launch. Don't delay advancement waiting on greatness. Instead, make bold progress forward in the project, anticipating change as the campaign gains steam.

Be harmonious

Across the board, develop campaign assets that are cohesive and not overly-complicated to understand. They should be unified in visual, message, attitude and timing. The most effective campaigns are memorable, in-sync and easy to implement.

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Know what you're brewing in the New Year.

It's the morning of 2019. In this rise-and-shine stage of the New Year, we're faced with fresh opportunity. At businesses all over, there are percolating marketing ideas and plans for breakout sales. For most of us, there's an urgency to throw on our brand's best, get moving and be noticed. But before you potentially bolt into the marketplace with your zipper down, slow your roll just a smidge.

Pour a cup of coffee, and your energy into a simple strategy. Take this time to consider where you've been and where you want to be.

Revisit all of the positioning tools that tell your brand story.


Now's that crack-of-dawn moment to map out the metaphorical day ahead. In this case, the next 12 months. You've got so much untapped potential waiting for you out there. Make sure you approach it with tact, purpose and understanding. The other option is to blast ahead in spaz mode, and that just sends people running away.

Bon's Eye uses this Brand Checklist to help clients take inventory on all the tools that influence their audience's decisions. If anything, it's a good quick read over a cup of joe for early mornings just like this.

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