If I owned an advertising agency

If I owned an ad agency I think I’d drop the word advertising. And the word agency.

If I owned an ad agency I’d recognize that the talent I have at my disposal is an asset that isn’t disposable.

I’d consider today an opportunity to throw out the model. Not the staff.

I’d troll Please Feed the Animals for folks who seem to be thinking different.

Then I’d bring in Dan Pink to talk to us about how creative talent has more to offer the business world than design and writing.

If I owned an ad agency I’d put the creative group through a mini MBA program. One with a strong focus on leadership so we could discover how good branding is really just good leadership re-branded. I’d ask that they blog about how business doesn’t work in silos, and how aligning multiple stakeholder values is an everyday competency in business. If they’re unable to make those connections I’d suggest they go work for an ad agency.

Then I’d send the account group to listen to five days of live jazz music and ask that they follow up with blog posts about individual and team expression in conjunction with a high level of performance within an enterprise’s prime function. They’d also blog about teamwork, flexibility, servant leadership, and the value of improvisation within a strategic context. If they’re unable to make those connections I’d suggest they go work for an ad agency.

Then with us all on a similar page, I’d stop calling them the creative and account people.

If I owned an ad agency I’d hire an accomplished talent management expert. Someone who’s brought the human aspect to the table during strategic planning processes. Someone who’s seen and knows that culture eats strategy for lunch. Someone to help us recognize that branding is far more complex than just saying everyone in the company needs to be on board. That it requires more sophistication and business-savvy than a few retreats and focus groups.

If I owned an ad agency I’d ban the word brand. Except when we affirm that branding is just good leadership re-branded.

Then I’d start using tactics as appropriate within strategic contexts, and stop thinking about MarComm tactics as MarComm tactics. Maybe deploy advertising under a customer service strategy. Social media under an ideation strategy. Legacy media relations under a financial transparency strategy.

If I owned an advertising agency I’d tell everyone that I’m finished with the business of sharing inspired visions. I’d tell everyone that starting today I’m in the business of inspiring shared visions.

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2 thoughts on “If I owned an advertising agency

  • Inspired post, Aaron. And not just because you mentioned PFTA. 😉

    “Advertising” is not even what this is anymore. It’s, as you say, inspiring people. Giving them reason to act on your behalf. Bestowing them with the power to become extensions of your company.

    Customers are your marketers and marketers are your customers. This post is one more example of that.

    Well done. And said.

  • AT

    Thanks, Erik. Appreciate you stopping by. I like “customers are your marketers and marketers are your customers.” Well put.

    Keep up the good work at PFTA.

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