Case Study: Are Five Heads Better Than One?

Topics: Creativity, Advertising, Decision making Pages: 5 (1657 words) Published: October 7, 2008
Case Study: Are Five Heads Better Than One?

This case study involves an interactive team working for Advert marketing firm on a new ad campaign for one of the firm’s most important clients. The team of Evan, Conner, Alexis, Derek and Judy was picked by upper management based on their similar talents, personalities, and biographical features such as age and tenure at Advert. This group was tasked with creating an innovative ad campaign to promote a 60-inch plasma television. Due to Advert’s confidence in the team, they were given complete autonomy throughout the entire process of creating the campaign. During the initial discussion, the team selected an idea for the commercial and ran with it. Upon presenting the final product to their managers and the client, the ad was met with disapproval, ending the working relationship between Advert and the client.

There were a number of problems with the ad campaign that could have been prevented by both upper-management and the selected team members. The team’s problems manifested during their initial meeting. The team showed ineffective planning, poor communication skills and lacked structure. In the meeting, there were many problems with the way in which the group went about establishing their idea for the commercial. Conner took the reigns at the beginning and presented his personal vision on what the commercial should be. When Conner assumed a controlling and over-confident role, it led to groupthink within the team because the other members showed a lack of confidence to speak up about their opinions and ideas contrary to Conner’s. When Conner pressured those who expressed doubts, members such as Derek gave in to such pressure and refrained from expressing viewpoints contrary to the group’s consensus, although his opinion would have been very valuable due to his previous experience with the client. This group conformity inhibits the creative brainstorming and decision-making process, which is very important in the advertising field. The managers also made an error in selecting a team that lacked diversity. In an advertising team, it is important to have a team composed of people with different backgrounds so they each add a unique perspective. A homogenous group lacks this crucial diversity of perspective. Management also provided poor oversight of the project by giving the team too much autonomy and not screening the commercial before it was pitched. It shows the client that the senior members were not concerned and engaged with their employees. No research or fact checking was conducted to find out more about the clients image and positioning in the market. It is important to make goals and establish strategies oriented around the clients needs, possibly even by setting up a meeting between the client and the advertising team.

A solution to improve the groups inefficient planning and poor communication would be to utilize a group decision-making technique, more specifically, the nominal group technique. In implementing the nominal group technique, members share their ideas individually at first and then discuss the alternatives after each idea is presented. While the group is still meeting physically, there is little interpersonal communication in this process which makes this technique beneficial for independent thinking, whereas in other types of group decision-making skills, such as brainstorming, there are many different people interacting at once and interfering with others thought processes. The nominal group technique, however, has its disadvantages because it is a time consuming process, one that requires planning and facilitation. Also, while the technique fosters individuality, it also impedes spontaneous discussion, creating a process that lacks in the exchange and expansion of ideas. In the case of Advent’s group, the nominal group technique would have been an ideal method of exchanging ideas because it was apparent that...
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