Today’s Friday Philosophy comes from David Ogilvy.
I’ve been reading The King of Madison Avenue, the first ever biography of Ogilvy written by Kenneth Roman. Roman is the former Chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather, Ogilvy was his boss. It’s a very well done book and I continually pick up nuggets as I’m reading so I’ve kept a journal close by to write down the epiphanies that apply to my own business.
One of my favorite stories Roman tells in the book is about today’s quote. The story goes that Ogilvy once left Russian matryoshka dolls “which directors found at their places at a board meeting. Opening the painted nesting dolls, each smaller than the one before, every director found the same message typed on a piece of paper inside the tiniest doll:
‘If we hire people who are smaller than we are, we will become a company of dwarfs. If we hire people who are larger than we are, we’ll become a company of giants.’”
Hitch was quoted last month in an article by Michael Estrin on iMedia Connection. When beginning an ad agency search start by asking “Why do we need a new agency?”.
A CMOs Guide to Hiring a Digital Agency
According to Wiggs, that basic question – why do we need a new agency? — will always lead to some rather profound insights, if the brand can be honest about its own corporate culture as well as what’s gone right (and wrong) with the relationship at hand. While that may sound like simple advice, it’s a pill not easily swallowed by many clients.
Jennifer Michelsen is the C0-Founder of Gunnar Optiks ,who make killer digital glasses for those of us who stare at screens all day. The other day on Twitter we were having trouble talking in 140 characters, which got me to thinking. Here’s a bit of that conversation and what that chat inspired.
So in between watching the grass grow and arranging your collection of doilies if you’re sorting through the 1,024 other blogs on Ad Age’s Power 150 check us out. We were around page 13 when we were ranked. Mom would be proud.
Kidding aside. Blog ranking was not something I intended to focus on but it’s a gauge for me that Hitch is useful and relevant to a growing number of you since I started 6 months ago. If you’re a regular reader I truly appreciate your interest. If you think your peers or colleagues would like the site I’d appreciate you referring them. If you’ve just stopped by this once, thanks–I hope you’ll come back.
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Perhaps, as Al Gore said, this is the end of the marketing industrial revolution where powerful Barrons ruled (WPP, Omnicom, Interpublic)over a society where doors were closed to you unless you were of a certain class. I’ll go along with that but wouldn’t this indicate that these large conglomerates have somehow come to their fortunes not only unfairly but illegally? A strong inference to draw, for sure. I’m not willing to go there.
On the other hand, calling this the end of the marketing industrial revolution is a strange analogy since the IR was characterized by increased innovation, the spread of technology and mechanized methods of production not to mention child labor (your 15 year old nephew with a Mac making TV spots for $1000 hits that mark, right)?
Perhaps we’ve cycled and are returning to a more localized agrarian-like system where self reliant individuals hold the full methods of production. (We can work globally, but how many of us really do?) The industrial revolution also gave rise to mass production and thus mass communication but now we’re moving back to one-to-one localized communication among smaller groups.
Just for fun, maybe a better description of the industry is that it’s moving toward a marketing social democracy, where the tenets of capitalism and socialism are combined. If the definition of a social democracy includes “the creation of programs that work to counteract or remove the social injustice and inefficiencies inherent in capitalism”, isn’t that where were headed? For example:
There are no marketing generalists any more. The days of the lone agency handling your entire account are long gone. Marketers need specialists. As the Hitch roster grows and evolves, the ranks are filled with specialists. But they’ve got a broad generalist view. Specialeralists!? (If this becomes the next buzzword, you heard it here first!)
These highly skilled marketing specialists can do something your nephew working on his first spot for Current TV will never do: Look at business problems holistically and with a broader strategy, one that recognizes that all your business problems don’t begin and end in the marketing department.
Scott Goodson’s quote in part 1 of this post referenced a bringing together of strong, diverse, smaller teams to solve larger marketing problems.
Aren’t all of these examples stripping away the inefficiencies inherent in our current marketing environment?
Maybe I’m thinking too much about this. Maybe it all doesn’t matter. But what does matter is that as marketing becomes even more noisy (and, trust me, when every teen with a Mac becomes a Creative Director–its gonna get loud) customers will devise even more ways to turn it off, tune it out and and drop off off the media grid. The logical conclusion to this conundrum is not rocket science: It will be tougher and tougher to gain customer’s attention, much less their trust–just like it is right now. Only much worse.
How your company handles Advertising’s power shift from Madison Avenue to Main Street is going to continue to be a challenge. Professional marketers ‘ work will coexist beside that of a 15 year old whiz kid from Omaha–that’s just gonna be how it’s done. Get used to it. Neither side’s giving in or going away. But which is the right strategy for your company? That’s why I started Hitch: to help you navigate the craziness and find order out of chaos.