If It's Good Enough for Plumbers, It's Good Enough for Us

A Few Reasons Small Agencies Should Join Trade Groups

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In 1611 the Worshipful Company of Plumbers was formed. James I was king of England and his citizens were hopeful for a better life through improved technology. So, it was a happy day for all when this group of ancient plumbers came together to make the bucket an out-of-date toilet appliance. Though the "water closet" was still a new invention and few people were enjoying the new technology, The Worshipful Company of Plumbers embraced that their combined efforts was a key to improving not only their industry, but civilization. I wish our industry organizations had names as wonderful as The Worshipful Company of Plumbers. I mean, how much more appropriate could a name be? I know if I didn't have a toilet and had to go in a bucket, I'd be worshiping who ever could change that situation.

The Worshipful Company of Plumbers
The Worshipful Company of Plumbers
Learning about the Worshipful Plumbers, which is now a charitable group, made me ponder whether advertising organizations will survive and serve our industry for such a significant period of time. Are they worthwhile to our industry and more importantly, to my small agency? Do they really improve what we do and how successful my agency can become? Don't they exist to simply feed our industry's insatiable egos via award shows? If you dismiss advertising organizations by answering "yes" to the above, I believe you are overlooking a huge opportunity for your agency to grow in its abilities and success. What's good for plumbers is good for ad makers.

I was so intrigued with The Worshipful Company of Plumbers, I spent quite a while on their site. I was surprised to learn that they even give awards for what they esteem as great work among plumbers. Their premiere award, The Saint Michael Medallion, is given on special occasion to any person who, or organization which has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of plumbing. I have no idea who has received this award nor for what accomplishment, but I can imagine that it holds the same esteem with plumbers as a Gold Lion does to us. If plumbers think awards are important there must be a good reason. I doubt plumbers are divas. The awards must be part of what helps move their industry forward. And a name like The Saint Michael Medallion sounds like the recipient slayed a dragon or something; it must be a big deal. Recognizing great work in any industry inspires others to do well also. But it's not just awards that I saw as a common link between their organizations and our industry. The Worshipful Company of Plumbers lists its reasons for being as:
  • Foster, maintain and develop links with the Plumbing Craft and allied disciplines.
  • Promote as appropriate youth activities in the Craft by financial and technical contributions to education and vocation ventures.
  • Contribute to charity through the Company's Charitable and Education Trust, which provides grants to improve the educational and management aspects of plumbing, as well as grants to various good causes
  • Support the "Pursuit of Excellence" so that through contact with other organizations, the Company is able to call on past experience for the benefit of future enterprises.
  • Generate a sense of fellowship among those in the Company.
These are the same reasons many advertising organizations espouse; yet many small agencies don't engage themselves by joining and participating, even on a local level. Perhaps they don't believe there is benefit and that it's not worth the investment of time and money, but I find that you get out of something what you put into it. And advertising organizations have a lot to give to those who invest their time with them. First, they offer your agency the opportunity to lead the way in your community and beyond. Being involved with national and international industry organizations is a great way to stay connected to what's going on beyond one's own area -- a window to see where the overall industry is headed. They also offer small agencies the opportunity to gain national recognition, which helps in new business and recruitment. When you're agency is known nationally, you have a much bigger pool of potential clients. Our industry organizations are very committed to helping the local agency if they are willing to invest in themselves.

If you want your agency to improve in its abilities and grow more successful, I encourage you to join both local and national advertising organizations. Then get involved. You will be pleasantly surprised how much you can contribute to our industry and what you and your agency get in return.
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