Siberia is located right between the ears.

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Being out of touch with latest trends of culture can be a problem for any ad agency in any city, big or small. I think it is a huge problem for small agencies in small towns. We can easily adapt to a slower pace. Staying in tune is a matter of having the passion and drive to be influential. Our business is about creating new things. We should all be motivated to be the author of the next cultural phenom.

A friend of mine, Dave Holloway, recently wrote an article for One Magazine advising young people on how to make it in this business. Not only how to succeed, but how to make our business better. One suggestion he made was for young people to subscribe to a variety of magazines as well as the New York Times, then get up an hour earlier than normal every morning and read them cover to cover. This would seem like rudimentary advice but I’m surprised at how many people in our business don’t study the world around them. And these information lifelines are even more important for those of us in the hinterlands. Remote location should not dissuade from our potential to cause a ripple in culture. What kind of an effect can a small agency with primarily regional and local markets have? Much more than you think. The Big Mac was invented by a franchisee of McDonald’s not their R&D department. So was the Egg McMuffin. These were little guys in a big world who were just trying to do something better.

So how do we, the small agency, get ahead of the curve? Obviously the Internet has made the world a smaller place. The Internet is immediate. Blogs are changing things. (Ask Neil French.) In the music industry the artist uses the Internet to give free samples. It’s shaking the recording industry to its core. So small doesn’t mean powerless any more. Communication is a powerful tool that now is every person’s hands but using that power is by choice. If you don’t embrace the desire to change the world you won’t.

Why is being an instrument of change important? Companies that lead make better advertising clients. Clients that lead their industries don’t hire followers. Clients that lead If you have no passion for being great you are not going have the opportunity to work for clients that lead.

Your attitude, not your location, is what will determine whether you are exiled from the mainstream. If you exist in a cerebral Siberia you have no hope of changing anything. I sit looking out a window two blocks from the center of Albuquerque’s downtown business district. It is very small compared to where I worked in Atlanta. The population of Atlanta is over twice that of the entire state of New Mexico. Who cares? I feel even more plugged into what is going on than ever. We are citizens of a much bigger community. And we plan on making a contribution.
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