Why does agency new business struggle to get the respect it deserves? We highlight some of the challenges we've had to deal with over the years and some of the things we believe will help this turn around.
We talk a lot about how agencies are communicating and the requirement for consistent messaging. Usually we’re referring to tone of voice, behaviours and messaging, but, when it comes to your choice of pictures, in particular your team photographs (individual or group) what are your pictures saying about you as an agency brand?
We often question agencies about why they don’t behave like the brands they work with. One aspect they do a pretty poor job of is aligning their marketing and new business (sales), tending to separate their marketing strategy from their new business strategy. But, if they saw their clients behaving that way they would most likely give them a right bollocking. It would shock you how often we find this to be the case, and in our opinion, they really should know better.
Recently, Kiwi Gray went to hear Simon Sinek speak on some world topics that inspired him to write his latest book, ‘Together is better’. He addresses the ‘Millenials’ (generally described as those born in between 1984 – 2004) who many have described as a “generation of narcissistic, lazy and unleadable people” but he thinks this label is completely unfair and denounces – “parenting, technology, impatience and the environment”.
Don’t worry we’re not going to do a fluffy piece about pumpkins and bobbing for apples, but the fact it’s Halloween this evening prompted us to talk about what drove us to land on our own positioning - bravery. The reason it hit a chord on this day of ‘scariness’ was that it was fear that first made us think about ‘bravery’ and our desire to put it back into our industry.
It’s October and I’m talking about New Year’s resolutions. I can hear you moaning “It’s not even bloody Christmas yet!” The reason I’m doing this, is because the New Year’s resolution I think you should give yourself, is knowing your purpose and the purpose of your agency. It’s quite a big question in life but you can find it if you dig deep enough.
Last week I attended the first of what I’m sure will be a very successful series of Business Jam events run by Richard Draycott (The Drum Network), who kindly included Kiwi Gray on their ‘Boosting Sales Discussion Panel’. Here are my responses to his questions and some advice for agencies approaching new business...
Time and time again I watch agency showreels that are pointless and uninteresting to Marketing Directors - the very people you are trying to attract. They might well be collections of great work and they might even be beautifully shot, but unless you’re a video production company, I have no idea why you’re showing me an amalgamation of well-shot video and animation. I can’t tell where one piece of work starts and the other stops, I have no idea what the agencies involvement was, what challenge it solved or the results.
Our industry needs to realise that new business, when done correctly, should be respected as its own discipline and that the people who work it in deserve the appreciation they strive for. Agencies need to stop treating new business directors like glorified personal assistants or project managers and empower them to grow the agency. Maybe then it will be seen as an exciting career opportunity as opposed to the ugly duckling.
Over the years we’ve run hundreds of pitches and one recurring theme is the lack of honest communication between agencies and brands, not just during the pitch process, but over the length of their relationship. We wanted to change that by exploring the views each have about the process and each other.
We're not saying that PowerPoint’s at fault here, well maybe we are. How many times have you been in a presentation scenario and felt your eyes glaze over in anticipation of the imminent boredom you’re about to endure? I bet everyone's hand just voluntarily shot up. Then why do agencies insist on using this format in pitches? Let's be honest it's bloody boring.
I love our industry and I think we have some amazing agencies that are committed to transforming their client’s brands and making a real positive impact on their businesses. It has therefore always seemed strange that we don’t practise what we preach and apply all the great thinking we do for our clients, on our own agency brands.