10 Small Agency Lessons One Year Later

How Did We Do?

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Doug Zanger Doug Zanger

Around this time last year, Ken Wheaton asked us to jump into the Book of Tens spirit of things. I did a list of 10 lessons that I thought were germane to the discussion (which was, deservedly, pilloried a bit by Linda Gene of L.A.). In looking back, I was curious to see how our agency has deviated from the path.

Be as easy to work with as possible. From the feedback we've received, we're doing OK on this one. Sure, we have had some challenges in this area, but therein lies opportunity to grow.

Challenge the wisdom of the many. We're pretty consistent here. Our challenges are meant to be positive and productive and we'll continue on that line.

Be proud of home. Without question, our strongest suit. We're EXTREMELY proud to be a Portland/Pacific Northwest agency. The vibe of home is one of the things that drives us and permeates our style.

Honor the opportunity. We're increasingly grateful for the opportunities we have and feel very strongly that we should continue to share our appreciation with our clients.

Talent is everywhere. No more true than today. Radio has been going through some tough times and there are plenty of talented people out there who can contribute to our efforts. We're seeking this talent and bringing them into the fold.

Stay true to what and who you are. Probably true, but I am catching myself being a little more serious lately. I'm not sure if that's because of the stakes in the industry or because, in January, we're welcoming our little boy into the world. Either way, I'm seeing that it may just be a maturity process that could serve us well.

Let 'er rip and let it breathe. This is another strong one. This point was very well put by my colleague Bart Cleveland. If you let things atrophy, there is a better chance to stagnate. There are plenty of things that we work on that we would consider "creative oxygen." Empirically, these projects may not make sense. Philosophically, they make all the sense in the world because it reminds us that an idea could build into something special.

Don't be a weasel. Some days, I can be a pain in the ass. Judging by the recent revelations in my personality profile, I am aware of this shortcoming. I fancy myself a friendly fella, but there is always work to be done here.

Accept the past, but don't let it get in the way. Very true and something we really do live by. We're about evolution and transformation. The history of what we do is vital to know and appreciate, but using it in the right way to convey clarity and future opportunity for our clients is even more important.

It really is all about the work. Yes it is. Once you can get this part figured out, the rest should fall into place nicely.

Overall, I think that our list of 10 held firm. There are plenty of opportunities to grow (mainly on my end) but it's nice to know that we didn't make huge changes that could have thrown us off. This is comforting, in a way, because it still feels "right" almost two years into this thing.

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