Filed under: Comment
So this is the 2nd day of writing my blog in 2012 and I have to say I’m finding it hard.
It’s not because, as John Dodds say’s, I’ve had too much holiday … it’s because I feel numb to stuff.
Numb to planning.
Numb to adland.
Numb to brands and branding.
This is slightly disconcerting given this is how I make my income but you see, over the holiday period, I had a chance to read a bunch of stuff and overwhelmingly, I was underwhelmed by what my industry churns out – or celebrates – as ‘interesting’.
Of course not everyone was like that and – much to my dismay – some of the stuff that I found genuinely thought-provoking came from people who also happen to write comments on here [though never their thought provoking stuff I noted] however overall, I was just left feeling rather empty by what adland and planning and branding is becoming.
Maybe it’s because I can remember when it was truly influential on business and culture.
Maybe it’s because I’ve seen – and fortunately been part of – work that made a massive difference to everyone involved.
Maybe it’s because I’m just a thick bastard and don’t understand all the intellectualism being banded about.
Who knows, but as much as the industry likes to lay the blame for our declining commercial creative power at the feet of everyone from egotistical corporations to bad marketing managers to basically anyone or anything digital … I would say a lot of it is down to how we manage and promote ourselves on a daily basis.
While there are some that still are flying the flag for creating commercial magic – overall, the industry seems to have morphed into an excuse machine.
We can’t create magic under timeline pressure.
We can’t create magic under budget pressure.
We can’t agree with what clients may suggest.
We don’t think the public know what they want.
We won’t change anything from what we’ve produced.
OK, so I’m being dramatic and without doubt, there are a bunch of external reasons why we’ve suffered so much over the past 10-15 years – however instead of trying to compartmentalize or complicate what we do in a bid to derive more revenue from clients because we’ve sold the commercial value of applied creative thinking down the river for the past few decades … maybe if we just got on with what brands and society actually wanted and needed from us, we’d end producing more great commercially creative ideas than proprietary bullshit.
Wouldn’t that be amazing!?
Wouldn’t it be good to be judged on what we do rather than what we say we do?!
I know it’s easier said than done … I know that too many companies care more about the process than what the process delivers … but if we continue to play along with this attitude and approach, we’re contributing to our own demise in terms of value, respect and future and the thing is, adland offers benefits few other industries could ever hope to create or influence which is why I think it’s time we start remembering what we actually do because looking and sounding like clients isn’t working.
Oh I know why agencies did it.
They thought it would make our clients respect us more … however the irony is it seems to be making them respect us less.
We didn’t lose our seat at the boardroom table because of how we talked or dressed, we lost it because we stopped talking and caring about their needs, goals and dreams and that’s why I believe the only way to get it back is by proving we understand their business at least as well as them and their audience significantly better than them … and the only way that can happen is if we stop believing its about what we say and get back to focusing on creating success through what we do.
I’m not talking about creative awards or effectiveness papers that have made a ‘degree of change’ sound like the second coming of Jesus … I’m talking about doing stuff that fundamentally – and undeniably – shifts the needle.
And how would we judge this?
Well creative and effectiveness awards would still be important, but in my mind, some other ways to tell whether we are being successful in our goal is if  we start attracting clients rather than consistently having to chase them  we change culture rather than always trying to reflect it and  we help re-establish the power and importance of the marketing director at boardroom level.
Of course it requires both sides to make that happen but wouldn’t it be nice if the industry adopted that as their new years resolution.
Just a thought …
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