The one phrase that should set off your B.S. detector.

A standard question on every creative brief asks the client to define the marketing problem. (Or, since “problem” is considered a four-letter word in some circles, the marketing “challenge” or “opportunity.”)

All too often, the response is:

“There’s no problem. Everything’s fine.”

Now. Marketing executives are often trained to parrot and recite chapter and verse from the corporate value proposition platform. “We are the bestest, coolest, most leaderest company in the universe.”

They’re trained to think only in terms of benefits and advantages, not problems, because that’s how top management wants them to talk about the company. To the press. To customers. And, especially, to each other. That’s called Drinking the Kool-Aid.

But ask yourself one question.

If everything was fine, why would they be paying you, the creative expert?

Trust me. Everything is not fine.

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