Monthly Archive: November 2010

From A Single Point Of Contact, A Network That Delivers

Fast Company senior writer, Danielle Sacks, likes to write about advertising. She covered Alex Bogusky’s departure from his namesake agency last summer. Now, she’s back with a new piece on how disruptive digital is to the agency business and what we in the industry are doing about it.

Her piece got a lot of attention on Twitter and elsewhere yesterday, and there are many aspects to it that we could explore in this space or over a cold one. But I want to focus on just one item at this time. Sacks showcases Co:, the new company formed by former JWT Co-Presidents Rosemarie Ryan and Ty Montague. She presents their distributed model as a workable alternative, well adapted to our time (which some see as the first “Creative Revolution” since Bill Bernbach joined art directors and copywriters at the hip nearly 50 years ago).

Montague and Ryan decided to build a new kind of marketing business with no old-world waste and inefficiency. Co, which Montague describes as “a brand studio built for 21st-century CEOs and CMOs,” is a tiny group of consultants from the agency, technology, and business-strategy worlds that can “deploy the right team for the right action at the right time for the right outcome.”

Its ability to scale up and tackle a wide range of client problems will come from the eclectic network of 44 specialist companies they’ve lured to play nice with them, from digital agencies like Big Spaceship to crowdsourcing firms like Victors & Spoils to bigger companies like McCann Worldgroup and Horizon Media, the largest U.S. independent media-services company. “We want to be as small as possible and as big as necessary,” Montague says. “It’s not about scale; it’s about scalability. Even though we have only five employees, right now we have 1,500 people we can put against an opportunity.”

These words, or course, are music to Bonehook’s ears. For the model now getting mainstream press attention is the model we’re working to perfect. With one variation–we don’t have formal or pre-arranged relationships with craftsmen at the ready. I don’t see the need. When the day comes that we add more business than our core group of friends and associates can handle, I’ll merely dial up another group of friends and associates best suited to the tasks at hand. I understand the concept of having people in the bullpen, but the reality on the ground is this: when there’s business on the line and a healthy budget for top talent, the talent is always there, ready to go. It’s a law of the marcom universe.

Here’s An Idea: Hire A Promoter To Promote Your Wares

IdeaMensch is a Web site that features people with good ideas. It’s not an advertising site. The IdeaMensch team is more interested in inventors and entrepreneurs. In other words, the people that ad people sometimes find as clients.

So, how did I get chosen for an interview? You’ll have to ask Community Manager, Evan Davies, but it probably has to do with my ability to wear multiple media and marketing hats.

Here’s a slice of the interview to whet your appetite.

Name three trends that excite you?

I’m glad that there’s a new frugality in the nation today, because conservation and wise use of resources signals a return to common sense. I’m also excited to see corporate interests open up to the social Web. They’re doing it to make money, but that’s fine. The net result is still greater transparency and a focus on serving the customer’s needs. Third, I’m thrilled to see a DIY ethic take hold in the creative industries. Thanks to affordable cameras and other technology, a small group of independent professionals can do some major damage. In a good way.

What might you take away from this press, aside from what’s offered in the piece itself? You might conclude that I’m pretty good at self-promotion. That’s fair, but I’d prefer that you modify that thought to I’m pretty good at promotion, period.

P.T. Barnum said, “Without promotion something terrible happens…Nothing!” I agree, and so do most brand mangers and small business owners—that’s why they invest hard earned money to get the word out about their products or services.

Getting Past The Grizzlies In Your Mind

Blair Enns runs his business development consulting firm, Win Without Pitching, from a remote mountain village in British Columbia. Given that he has his feet on the ground, literally, he doesn’t make friends on Facebook, but he does welcome visitors to his neck of the woods for a beer.

Enns lists the directions to his home on his site. They’re standard directions until they’re not.

Park your car, grab your pack and head West along Grey Creek Pass Trail for 61km. (WARNING: the trail is poorly marked in some areas, crosses hazardous avalanche terrain, ascends to 7500 feet at the Lake of the Hanging Glaciers, and winds through some of the most populated grizzly bear habitat in North America. You will also need to ford five large creeks using hand powered cable cars.)

After five days of hiking you will arrive at the settlement of Argenta on the East shore of Kootenay Lake. Walk North down the road and stop the first car headed North. (Be patient. Everyone will stop but you may go an hour or two before seeing a vehicle.) Ask to be taken to Kaslo, 45km up and around the west side of the lake. Get dropped at the gas station and ask for directions to ‘Blair’s office by the park.’

If nobody’s there when you arrive just come in and make your self comfortable until I get back. Have a shower. There’s beer in the fridge. I’ll return shortly with lunch.

In other words, it’s hard to get to Enns’ place. I think this might also be true about the place he wants his clients to go. In both cases, it’s all about occupying higher ground.

More Ennsian Matter (from Broadly Relevant But Highly Differentiated and Zen and the Art of New Business Maintenance