|I couldn't find it here.|
As it turned out, there were a dozen people in the agency in a similar predicament. There were several reasons given, most of which were lacking any robust data based evidence, a few statements were a teeny bit contradictory, and the whole thing delivered in a rather nervous manner. Never an easy situation, having now been on both sides of the table.
Read Nigel Barlow's "Re-think.] What I do know, is this guy interviewing me, wasn't a cognitive scientist. I can't help how my synapses are wired, or how current passes along them. Suffice to say, that was a non starter.
And when I did the analysis, I found myself looking at their work, their case studies. Some of which, were replicated across several agency sites. So, who actually did the work? I was doing my best to cut through the marketing sound-bytes and fluff, to conclude it is abundantly clear there is a big bell curve of mediocrity out there. Mediocrity reigns, which is insane. We are at one of the most exciting times in communications history. People are connected to everyone and everything, all the time. Whatever we want is at our fingertips, whenever and wherever we may be...we even have the ability to tweet and YouTube from space; we can print in 3D; we can do virtually anything the imagination can conjure up. So where's the mind blowing work? Where are the things that stand out and make you go "Wow! That's cool. How did they come up with that?" I can't find any, can you? Maybe I'm not looking hard enough? Any pointers would be greatly received.
|She couldn't find it either|
So why does mediocre work get approved? Here are some thoughts why, and they do touch on those unspoken, but well recognised behaviours, within the agency world. Which may make uncomfortable reading for some. I do hope people who work client side read this too.
- Most agencies won't propose or try to sell a client what is the best solution, as there is a perceived risk in doing so. Most agencies will sell the client what the client will buy.
- Clients are just as smart, if not smarter than agencies today. They've grown up and evolved faster, than many of the more traditional agencies. Many good agency people are moving client side. Good work is done by themselves.
- In this brave new world, the industry is full of fear. Fear of making mistakes; fear of missing badly constructed targets; fear from making a bit of an arse of themselves, fear from the finger of blame. Whose finger is that anyway?
- Mediocrity doesn't come from making mistakes.
- The Emporer's new clothes syndrome. Every agency develops its own language and soundbytes, which then finds its way into the agency vocabulary. Some of it is non sensical . Very few are brave enough to call this out.
- No one knows what's happening! This is no fault of anyone, and is probably behind the fear factor. Technology and consumer behaviour is changing so fast, it's difficult to keep up, let alone predict what's going to happen in 6 months time.
- One thing that doesn't change however, is people. Emotionally, motivationally, sub-consciously, things remain the same.
If we're truly honest with ourselves, I'd say it would be difficult to disagree with the bullets above. One character flaw I know I have, and one I'm reminded of regularly, is that I think I'm always right. I usually am....I'm doing it again. However, would anyone disagree?
|I reckon about 10 miles of searching|
Focussing back to mister jobless...me, probably confirms I can't be right all the time...I am actually humble enough to accept this.
So what do I do? What are my options? Knowing full well you create your own avenues of opportunity. So far in my short quest, I've had the great pleasure to meet a number of pretty cool people. Some old friends, who genuinely want to help, some who don't, some pretty inspirational people (inside and outside of agency world) including a couple of meetings with a very charismatic KBE. It refreshing to get many different perspectives.
Having done this, I now see my options as:
- Another established agency....but I'm not sure really.
- Start my own agency again...very tempted, but need investment.
- Find a well funded start-up, with likeminded people, who want to smash through the mediocrity...I may have found one. Tbc.
- Go client side, focus on one thing as opposed to many brands....they'd need to be innovative and early adopters, and not get bogged down in dated metrics.
- Open up a tea shop and take on the awful bloody coffee shops that populate every street in every city....will do this one day, but again, need investment
- Go back to academia...would love to, but there's no money in it.
- Join the army....done that already.
|Selfie of Pen and me. [Bit dodgy]|
I went to see an old girlfriend. One who I originally met when I was 18 years old. She's solid as a rock, a great listener, resides in another country, and not bothered by all this Internet stuff. She's also broken the hearts and spirit of many men....some of whom I have known...I've seen them in tears! In fact, the last time I went to see her, it was raining heavily...it usually is, and I was wearing odd camouflage clothing and carrying all sorts of things, none of them presents though. Today however, it was sunny...a good omen?
My current leaning is the "Happy, but poor" petal. (That won't be popular at home.) But all will become clear in a few days....it always does.