During a capabilities pitch a few years ago we were sharing our agency mission – To create inspiring ideas for courageous clients – when the potential client suddenly stopped us in our tracks saying, “I’m not sure we’re that.” This transparent confession threw us for a moment and ultimately ended our prospects with that particular client, but we are forever in her debt. She knew her company culture and ultimately spared us the demoralizing impact of a time and expense-sucking pitch for a client for whom we were ill suited.
When we crafted our agency’s mission we took Bernbach’s advice – “If you stand for nothing, you’ll find nobody against you – and nobody for you.” We were determined to not only describe what it is we do, but to be one of the few agencies to describe the kind of client for whom we wanted to do it – the “courageous” ones.
Continue reading “The Courage To Brand For The Long Run”
At Smith Brothers, our mission is to “Create inspiring ideas for courageous clients.” As students of the advertising business, and marketing in the CPG space in particular, we’re constantly on the lookout for work that not only impresses strategically and shines in execution, but that demonstrates some serious chutzpah on the part of the client who embraced it. We all know that too many clients err on the side of safe, hunkering down in the foxhole, afraid to lift their heads above the horizon line lest they have them blown off by senior management. Courage these days doesn’t come easy.
In this blog series, we will hold up those recent CPG marketers who should be recognized not only for their smarts, but for their bravery. Whether it’s eschewing the norms of a category, diving into uncharted waters in the digital space, committing big budgets to brand new platforms or just doing jaw-dropping creative, we will identify those brands that we think took a little more risk and stood a little taller than the field – those we think deserve a salute. Continue reading “It’s Smart As Hell, But Is It Truly Courageous?”
In an eMarketer interview late last fall, Pete Blackshaw, Global Head of Digital Marketing & Social Media for Nestle, had a quote that I latched onto. He said, “Social media is less of a stand-alone appetizer than a basic food ingredient for all marketing.” I think the food analogy coming from a forward-looking head of digital marketing at one of the world’s largest food manufacturers is more than a play on words. It is extremely sound advice delivered in a clever, succinct sound bite.
We have a similar philosophy permeating our agency: “Technology is not an idea… but ideas can no longer survive without technology.” Continue reading “Social Media Ingredients – Part of a Bigger Recipe”
Hard to believe, but this year marks my 25th year in the advertising business.
Along the way I’ve made more mistakes than I care to acknowledge. But have also managed to do a lot of things right. After thousands of meetings, hundreds of campaigns and more than a quarter century of trying to do the best creative I could for my clients, I’ve come to believe in certain things. I’ve come to hold onto certain truths that I believe are critical to being successful in this crazy, ever-evolving business.
The list below is admittedly simplistic. And many of these thoughts were collected from early in my career. But I think they still hold true and hope you might find a thought of two that might be helpful to you in your pursuit of great work.
Continue reading “25 Observations After 25 Years in the Ad Biz”