The Tony Test
Fooks’s next door neighbour, Tony, is a plumber – one of those super-successful ones that you can never get hold of. He has a helicopter.
Let me say that again.
He has a helicopter.
(He doesn’t use it for work. In fact, it doesn’t work at the moment. Also, he doesn’t know how to fly it. But he has one, and that’s what counts.)
Soon after we set up Curious Ways, we were at the pub (The Three Swans – highly recommended), pitching to Tony.
“What do you do?” he asked, not unreasonably.
“We’re a creative agency”.
“But what do you do?”
“What does that mean?”
“We solve your business problems… in… creative ways… digital, print, content… y’know… outdoor…”
We went back and forth in this vein for some time. Tony’s eyes started to glaze over.
“We’ll get back to you,” we said.
What do we do? It’s a simple enough question, and easy to answer if we’re talking to someone in the marketing game. Tony’s not stupid (far from it – see helicopter), but he doesn’t speak marketing.
We thought about It for a bit, and then tried this:
“People would always rather deal with people they like. So we think up ways to make people like you”.
The analogy needed fleshing out a bit. But still ,we felt we’d hit upon something important. Two things, in fact.
One, that when you get down to basics, marketing – at least, the creative aspect of marketing – is about making people like you. Intuitively it makes sense, but somehow it gets lost in the complexity and specialism of the industry. We’ve made it our central proposition.
Two, if you can’t explain your business in plain english, then your proposition doesn’t pass the Tony Test. Which means you might not have thought about it hard enough.