A Solid Strategy for Your Ad Agency: Be Boastful

Confidence Isn't Hubris if You're Channeling Pride in Good Work

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Anthony DelMonte
Anthony Del Monte
I recently told a prospective client that ours wasn't the best agency in the world -- it was the best agency in the world for our clients. I hoped he understood that my boast was me channeling the confidence and trust that clients bestow upon us. This confidence allows us to step into almost any meeting with the knowledge that when given the opportunity we have proven to be the right agency partner regardless of size.

The reason behind this confidence is the recognition that the work we do with our staff is worthy of some serious chest puffing.

Last summer I spent some time in Rome, and as it's easy to do in Rome, stumbled upon a restaurant that blew me away. The quality of the food, familial presentation and welcoming staff led this to be one of my favorite spots in all of Rome. When I asked the waiter if I could introduce myself to the chef, he kindly brought me back to the kitchen where, lo and behold, a mother and son were busy cooking, yelling and making their magic. I'm smiling now as I write this because I remember their pride and satisfaction when I went on to thank them for such a great meal. (I actually have a picture of them that I cherish.)

Now, this mother and son combo and their staff are not people who you will ever read about -- nor are they matinee idols for the Italian tourism board. What they are is a small business producing some of the best food I've ever tasted in a city that prides itself on food. They are exactly you and me, grinding away at producing great work for clients we love, and like them, we should be proud that we are getting it done. Because for both of us there is no alternative than to always produce the best possible work that you can. We aren't big enough to, as they say in Italian, "fake the funk".

The things that make our small agencies special and different are far more unique that what any big agency can offer. This uniqueness is not only worthy of pride, it's worthy of boasting that you are such a better deal than the bigger guy. Why aren't you heading into every meeting proud that you're small and therefore specialized rather that huge and all encompassing. If you are already, great. If you're not, then step back for a moment and think about the things in your life that have stood out. If you do, you'll recognize how small, intimate and unique they actually were.

We as an agency are heading into 2011 going head-to-head with industry behemoths and I like our chances. This confidence isn't hubris -- it's channeling the pride I have in my people and the recognition that I am (like the Italian duo) the best at what I do for the clients who get it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anthony Del Monte is founder and president of Squeaky Wheel Media, New York.
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