I don’t know if you caught the most recent Mad Men episode (and if you didn’t, this isn’t a plot spoiler), but for a show about the ad biz, it ended with Peggy typing and saying the words, ‘for immediate release’.
Cryptic? Not so much. But when you do watch it, you’ll get a glimpse of the value Don and Co put on PR.
Last week, I wrote a guest post for Spin Sucks on what Mad Men can teach us about becoming the ad (or PR) agency of the future.
It’s based on something I’ve been noticing a lot lately and that we talked about in a recent Inside PR. Let’s call it the ‘mainstreamification’ of social media.
What I mean is digital and social media are no longer an indie pursuit. Brands and organizations – large and small – are integrating it into the way they do business, trying the new and ‘established’ tools, learning and adapting. There are case studies and research on its effectiveness. The C-suite sees its potential. You no longer hear social media being called a fad that can be ignored.
And lots of folks are echoing the same insights only the early adopters recommended a few years ago.
Which means we’re now on the same page.
In my post, I said there were three ways agencies could stand out: creating brilliant ideas, falling in love with clients and developing a truly open and collaborative workplace and I gave examples from Mad Men to illustrate it.
I wrote it two different ways. Here are the points with non Mad Men references:
Begin with a brilliant idea. The kind that blends both strategy + creativity – the double helix of marketing communications. That’s not easy to do. You need to open your mind and look at the problem from angles that would make most people giddy or nauseous or both. When social media tools were new, many people treated them as if they were the ideas. Now it’s time to return to those dazzling flashes of insight that make your programs soar and take us, as my friend Dana Hughens would say, ‘from blah to voila’.
Fall in love with your customers. And get them to feel the same about you. Too many agencies put the billable hour first. But if you don’t place your customer on a pedestal, see things from there perspective and treat them like the most important people on the planet, you’ll always be a service provider and nothing more. Of course, it starts with a gem of an idea…
Get the chemistry right. The wrong kind of energy can be a killer in any setting. We all need competition and challenges, but there’s a big difference between being analytic and just plain negative. Ultimately, your workplace should function like an ensemble cast with stars (e.g. Saturday Night Live). If your team doesn’t like, respect and admire each other – and accept that the breakthrough concept can come from anyone – you’ll never overcome the good enough plateau and produce the kind of work that makes everyone else say, dammit, I wish I thought of that.
There’s always going to be another shiny tool around the corner (and I can’t wait to try it!). But think of how much more amazing it could be if you have the creativity and talent to integrate that platform into a brilliant, original idea that works on multiple channels – and levels – and makes your customer say wow (and purchase, of course)!
I’m interested to hear your take.