Many, many years ago I was a junior brand manager at a very large corporate financial services company.
At the time I was employed to manage the company's working relationship with its ad agencies and other providers that made contributions towards the brand image and promotional campaigns.
It was a great job.
I worked with the likes of Porky Hefer & Jonathan Bain at TBWA Hunt Lascaris and David Ross from Tequila - who together essentially mentored me and taught me everything I now know about branding, advertising and how to get the best out of an agency. But they also taught me the value of effective communication.
At the time, the company that I worked for, had an executive team that was trying to manage a brand that was going through considerable change.
Their customer base was changing, the industry was shifting rapidly and pressure was mounting on them to reposition the brand to be more accessible in a retail sense, but also to grow its reputation as a serious offering to business clients. Tough decisions had to be made and a bold new direction had to be sold to the market.
The job of creating this new brand direction was given to TBWA Hunt Lascaris (one of the best South African above-the-line advertising agencies at the time) - and executive creative director Porky Hefer. Having worked countless hours, often late into the night, on the strategy - everything rested on Porky's personal charism and charming ability to get buy-in from the company's exco.
The creative idea from Hunt Lascaris was bold and outlandish - a very far cry from where the brand was previously positioned in the market. Everyone was nervous for the presentation - nobody was very sure how the agency was going to sell this to 'the big guys at the top'.
So what did Porky do?
He pitched up to the all-important meeting wearing a black FCUK t-shirt, ripped jeans and a pair of Converse sneakers. Right at the beginning of the presentation he jumped into the centre of the oval boardroom table, threw out the prepared slides that his team had put together and with all the vigour of a secondhand car salesman, told them a detailed story of where the company had been and the exciting vision of how his creative campaign was going to shift people's minds about the company in the future.
It was shocking, engaging, real and he managed to shift the exco's focus away from simply 'a review and judgement of the strategy' to giving them the tools to personally experience the idea mentally for themselves. He suspended their attachment to the present and transported them to the possible. He migrated their level of thinking from subjective interpretation of knowledge; to embedding their own experience of his idea within their own consciousness - effectively making the strategy their own.
That day - the agency got buy-in of the strategy and the campaign went on to transform the direction of that company's brand; all thanks to this clever technique.