I started working in the Advertising Business in the New Normal. When I was a puppy and worked on my first account, McDonald’s, I was told that it was basically a privilege and to act and work accordingly. You were basically challenged to rise to the occasion.
The attitude was basically the same when I worked at JWT. To work at such a prestigious agency with so many smart people was a great achievement but also a great responsibility.
I was told basically that during my tenure of sitting in that chair and managing the account it was my responsibility not to screw it up and I grew to understand that over time. It was a great adventure in a way which opened up a whole world of experiences, challenges and learning. The bar was set very high and there were many people more than willing to sit in your chair.
The same attitude was prevalent on the client side. Some said it was an exclusive club. I never bought into the club part but it implied a high standard of conduct and not a free pass to just try and get by to keep your job.
I wonder if that is the way it is today in the New Normal. I hear about some clients at global companies conducting agency reviews by themselves with a selection committee of a dozen people who don’t even introduce themselves. I heard that the submitting agencies had an hour to present. Was that the stewardship that the brand deserved? I don’t think so. Has the recession trained both agencies and clients to do what is best to keep their jobs first and what is best for the brand second?
Are brand champions still around? The clients who would step out on a limb and try new things without collective decision making? Clients who trusted others to show them the course and not only make decisions on their experience meter. Clients who wanted to take the brand to new places and not just try to last as long as they could by just getting by.
We all know that the tenure of Marketers can be increasingly short these days and the pressure for results is high. Marketers are constantly challenged to show ROI.
The incidence of using a consultant according to 4A’s stats has actually declined except in the media space. The use of procurement officers to conduct agency searches has increased dramatically. Does somebody who may be buying concrete one day be the right person to help select an advertising agency the next day? I don’t think so. It is like having your parents select your bride. How did Marketers let that happen? Sure process and efficiency are important but what price can you place on the magic of advertising and its ability to change your brand and your career?
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