Blogging on a specific topic like “Innovative Advertising Solutions” becomes challenging after several months. The big or basic ideas are explained, and then some practical ideas are left in the ecosystem where you and your fellow bloggers live. 

Saying this, I want to share a concept we are bringing into the market this summer that could prove useful to your market.

Newspapers have a long and rich history. That is why we so often follow the beaten path — and why it’s difficult to change a whole company’s spirit, to follow the new directions introduced at congresses and seminars. 

So it is always right to be self-critical.

At our company (and many others in our market, as well), it was always complicated to offer creative and smart advertising formats in the “good old” newspaper. I am talking about L-shaped, stair-arranged, or multi-contour displays. We have them in the rate card, but with the caveat that the customer “should call” about them.

As a result, we are not used to these formats. If a customer is adamant he wants one, we have to start a discussion between the salespeople and the news department. So we look pretty inflexible and not very creative to our customers and their creativity agencies.

By the way, creativity agencies are another player we have to acknowledge in the game. You have a lot of young people out there and they are not used to our “old-fashioned” business models anymore. So if a customer wants a creative campaign, they are considering everything but the newspaper (and, as a consequence, their Web sites).

This brought up the idea to combine both challenges into one new concept. 

We listed our “out-of-daily-business” display formats, checked them with the news department (about what days, pages, and so on they would be possible), and approached some of the creativity agencies in our market. 

Following the idea I explained in my last blog about listening to our customers and their needs, we started a discussion with those agencies about their challenges in developing creative ideas for their customer advertising campaigns. 

They have customers we don’t know and they have to solve problems we don’t know. So this is a good chance to learn and show that we can help with our toolbox.

This opened a door that we hadn’t noticed was there for decades. Something like a cooperative feeling came up between the newspaper company and the agency, being innovative and solving problems in a new way. 

They embedded our possibilities into their concepts, developed strategy blueprints, and we started to shape new packages tailor-made for customers. We even included the Web site opportunities.

As a result, we printed an exemplary newspaper that showed all those advertising formats you hardly see in a daily newspaper. We mailed them to our customers, visited key accounts with this new approach, and still use them in the daily sales business, just to tell a new story in a long-established relationship. 

This exemplary newspaper was done in cooperation with one of the news agencies. They use it, as well, in approaching their customers with a new message. 

Although this campaign just started, it has already created a new awareness between our newspaper company and the creativity business.

I think there are a lot more opportunities like this. 

Acting together with those agencies and offering this kind of creativity in a new approach gives us another chance to offer useful products to our customers. 

And for us it is another chance to do business in a solid and serious way.