We Have Heard it Before

We have heard it before. No doubt we will hear it again—many times. What is it that clients are looking for?

Clearly, they look for many things. But since we are not in the catering business, I will exclude lunch and business dinners…

What is an Ad Agency? What is a RM Agency? What the heck do those media guys do? We need to be digital…that’s the answer! It’s all about ideas. No it’s about ROI. It’s about Gold Lions at Cannes. It’s really about relationships and who you know. It’s all going away anyway soon consumers will be the only source of communication and companies will only manufacture or provide service.

What’s a client to think? What’s an agency to do?

The truth is, I don’t have a clue, but I I have an opinion or two! I don’t believe there is one answer or that there should be.

So let me spread the table with some food for thought.

We live in an ever specializing world. Interestingly, I would argue—even strongly argue—this is really a return to the past when “guilds’ took pride in their workmanship. Carpenters “carpented”; plumbers “plumbed”; and masons lay brick and stone. Think about the artifacts created hundreds (even thousands) of years ago that last longer than the stuff we buy from so called artisans today—not to mention from IKEA.

Maybe we (not just us but the big all inclusive WE) became unspecialized for a spell. We became “jacks of all trades” and masters of none. Then, the small focused players started to nibble at the edges. As they got bigger and needed scale they encroached on our centers and soon we all began to look the same, often confusing ourselves. Yet, our clients were, perhaps, less confused (think on that one).

We began to acquire specialty players. Interesting! Yet we worry that they will nibble at our edges; encroach on our center; weaken our proposition – maybe – but maybe not.

Can we be the best at everything? Should we? Will the market pass us by? What do you think of this:

It is impossible to imagine Goethe or Beethoven being good at billiards or golf. – HL Mencken

Never mind advertising or RM. Imagine if someone said to them “get with the program…”

That said, I point you to a hugely instructive article from Fast Company. It is about an Agency in the US that seems to have it all. It found a niche. It has a focused proposition, or does it? Maybe it just solves client problems in and around the simplest proposition of our industry – it has to sell…

Read on and comment…

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