What Do You Do?


What do you do? Good question. I was at the PRSA Western District Conference in LA recently.

Very few Advertising folks go to PR events. That is why I go.

There was an evening networking event and somebody asked me what I did? It stopped me for a while.

I don’t know why. I know what I do. Sort of anyway.

I always have my business cards in my back pockets. Both of them.

A lot of people would say I am a networker.

I always hand out my cards showing the back first. It says BLANK in large letters. Most people like that.

Always gets the conversation started. The smiles and the chuckles. That’s why it’s there. I’ve never changed the back. I have changed my job descriptions on the front over the decade I have been in business. Continue reading


Why Agencies Should Fire Bad Clients.


I received an email blast today from Advertising Age about Cramer-Krasselt resigning the Panera Bread Account.

The article leaked an internal memo saying that the Client Was Too Much even in this crazy business.  Enough is enough.

How many times have we all felt that and said those words in our heads and then to our fellow workers about a client? Continue reading

What Kind of Client are You?


I was having an early morning coffee with a client the other day. Today clients often have very early morning Starbucks because they have a lot to do with fewer resources to accomplish them.

He was sharing with me a story about one of his clients. Yes clients have clients if they have channels of distribution and they want to sell their products. He described a meeting he recently had. He said the room was full of people who could not approve anything but everyone could veto everything. Been there?  I have.

Welcome to the New Normal. Consensus decision making and often consensus indecision.

I had an early morning coffee with an agency friend the other day. He shared his story of working on a large multinational client. We all know their name and have all purchased their products. Because they are large they have numerous agencies for various specialties. Too many for one client to handle or even get to know if you are a marketer that works at a company that rotates you every 15 to 18 months. They had an ideation session that I am sure that every agency jumped to attention to attend. All present and accounted for Sir!  At the end of the day there were 50 plus ideas on the whiteboard.

How did the client decide which one was best? Let’s have a vote. Very democratic but not exactly fact based decision making that was drilled into my brain.

Are marketers still stewards of their brands? What is a client’s top priority today?  Managing the brand or managing their careers?

I do know that many clients that I meet today are looking for their next job. Riding the wave of their company, their title to the next big break. Many are not happy at work.

I hear from another type of client from time to time. They reach out to me when their things go awry at work and they may feel a little threatened. They want to want to have a Starbucks with Hank Blank because they know I am very connected. Then things settle down for them and all is good again at work. No more networking needed. When I reach out to them because I may have some opportunity to present to them many respond with silence. Silence is golden but my eyes still see.

I was checking in with a client that I think is very compassionate about her people especially when she has to let them go because she is told to do so.  I can feel her heart.  She shared that everything was extremely hectic in her world.  Lots of trade shows, a new acquisition, a challenging CEO.  She wished me calm in my life.

As a consultant who has to create a job for himself each and every day there is little calm in my life but I somehow offered the promise of that island. I wish I was there.

I had a chance to be a client once.  When I was 30 I was offered a job as the VP of Marketing for a major QSR chain in Canada. I agonized over it. I did a Robert Frost on it but I didn’t take it.  Was I wrong?  What do I know?  I am just writing this blog and watching the way the wind blows. In the end I know we are all clients.

Connect with Hank on LinkedIn, Twitter, & Facebook:


Watch: Why It’s Time to Change the RFP Process.

Read: Graduation Time.

Should Marketers Conduct their Own Agency Searches?

It’s Graduation Time. Lesson Two.


Prior to reading this you may want to check out It’s Graduation Time. Lesson One.

In the Old Normal extracurricular activities may have made you well rounded. In the New Normal your knowledge of technology makes you king or queen or prince or princess.   Know than the hiring manager or your boss will make you valuable.  The more you can keep us with technology the more you will rise.

You can only control what you bring into the game and how you use the assets around you. College job fairs are nice but are from the Old Normal.  In the New Normal your LinkedIn profile is more important than your resume.

College can tend to homogenize people. Conformity is safe but doesn’t make your distinctive.   Real value comes from distinction and being your own identity.  It is hard to build an identity when you don’t always have a clear focus on who you are.

In the New Normal networking is more important than hanging around with you peers.  You have done that enough already.

In the New Normal creating your own job may be a better way to make money than trying to find a job.

In the New Normal surround yourself a variety of growth mentors. All ages, all disciplines.  Start with digital wizards. Have friends who are programmers even if you are a musician.

In the New Normal you need a career plan for yourself.  Start by finding ways to monetize your passion.  That will provide a career that runs with zero energy and provides positive life emissions.

In the New Normal the distant future is five years.  Twitter is 6 years old, Instagram is 2, and Vine has just been born.  Target industries and markets that will make your more valuable to the job that comes after this one.  Plan your career two steps ahead.

Avoid industries that are going to be Kodak’s in five years.

What skills will make you more valuable in 5 years?  What language should you learn?  What skills should you acquire?  What countries should you visit and expand your connections in?  It’s More Romania than Italy. Nice food though.

When I was in college I was reading books about Watergate.  President Nixon had a couple of advisors that worked for the advertising firm JWT.  I thought that was kind of interesting.  I ended up working at JWT for ten years.  I wasn’t in advertising, in the United States, and knew nobody.  President Nixon used to walk the beaches in San Clemente.  I still talk to my college roommates from Canada. We have drinks on the pier in San Clemente close to where I live.  My college roommate’s sons live in Shanghai. They must have read Marshall McLuhan.

Where are you going to be and live when your college roommates comes to visit you in the future and how are you going to get there?

You can connect with Hank on LinkedIn:


Follow his updates on twitter: @hankblank

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Why College Students Need to Get Into Linkedin.

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Watch this Video on How to Rise Above the Crowd.

How To Rise Above Your Competition


I recently wrote this article for The UPS Store Small Business Solutions.

In today’s small business environment there is intense competition. It’s a crowded world out there. That is nothing new to the readers of The UPS Small Business Solutions blogs.

But one major change has taken place in the last few years in the new business sales cycle. Today you can be virtually certain that before a prospect engages with you they will Google you.  Yes your Google presence is your step to growing your business.

In the New Normal you must rise above the crowd or your competitors. Your Google presence is more important than your elevator speech because your chances of getting on an elevator with the key decision maker are very small. Your business rises above the crowd through your dominance on search engines. Continue reading