Seven Resolutions Your Agency Can't Afford Not to Make

Stop Screaming and Start Whispering

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Tom Martin
Tom Martin
Over the last couple of years I've offered up a few thoughts on resolutions your agency should be making to remain competitive in the coming year. Here's this year's installment. Be sure to let me know what you think about them in the comments.

Stop screaming and start whispering.
Consumers are tuning us out. They're fast forwarding through our commercials, blocking our online ads and opting out of our digital campaigns. Why? Because they can. Because we give them no good reason not to. So in 2011, maybe try shouting at them less and whispering in their ear a bit more. It's sexier, more pleasing to the ear and just might make your clients more money.

It's all about the 4A's.
Well actually, I think it's going to be all about the fourth A: Awareness leads to Attention leads to Activation leads to Advocacy. If you really want to grow brands in the future, it's not going to be enough to make the sale. You're going to need to cultivate a tribe of advocates that will welcome the opportunity to sell the brand for you.

Embrace color.
I had a client once that said everyone should have a color. His was purple. Everything he hand wrote was with a purple Sharpie. He felt that it helped him stand out in a sea of blue and black. Do the same with your agency. Ditch the traditional beige that most agencies paint with and go with a bright orange or deep purple. It matters not what color you choose, but choose one. Establish a point-of-view and sing it loud and proud.

Own it.
One of my buddies made a resolution to play golf once a week -- on a weekday. He can do that because he sells tires. So, like anyone that sells a product, he's making money even when he's not in the office. We in the agency world could stand to learn a lot from that example. This year focus on building a few platforms, ideas or products that you license or sell versus just trading agency time spent for client money.

Get social.
I don't mean just learn what social is all about. Though that's a pretty good idea if you're not up to speed yet. I mean actively leverage the space, tools and approach of your social-media brethren. Spend some time on LinkedIn, Twitter or even Facebook. Meet people, get to know them a bit and then get out of your office and get on a plane and go meet those people face-to-face, even if it's just for lunch or beers. As one of my first bosses told me, people do business with people not agencies. I've never forgotten that and you probably shouldn't either.

Forget recipes. It's all about the Chef.
Sure we all talk about it. Heck we even quote it: "My assets go down the elevator shaft every night." But the truth is, we don't walk the talk. Our industry still doesn't seem to invest as much in training and education as we should. We under-staff accounts in a quest for profitability and we continue to treat employees as interchangeable. We need to stop that and stop it right now. This is a people/idea business. Without the very best idea people our business dies. It's really that simple in my humble opinion.

So stop talking recipes and start talking chefs. Find your best ones, invest in them and let them become famous. Then go find the great chefs at the other restaurants. You know the ones that really should be a head chef but right now they're serving as some other guy's sous chef. Hire them and give them their own restaurant. Then watch the magic begin.

So that's what I think should be on your to-do list this year. But what about you? Agree? Disagree? Or do you have your own list of resolutions you've made? Let me know. I'm all ears.

Tom Martin created Converse Digital to help companies and agencies monitor, create and engage in digital conversations. Want to talk? Just email [email protected] or follow @TomMartin on Twitter.
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