Flash Report @ AgencyFinder – August 14, 2007
1. Final Presentations from a Client’s Perspective
2. The 4A’s Burtch Drake had Questions; So Do We
3. Agency New Business Options – The List
4. A Rose By Any Other Name
5. Accept No Substitutes
FINAL PRESENTATIONS FROM A CLIENT’S PERSPECTIVE
We’re working on a White Paper to address those infamous “Final Presentations.” I invite your input, so to get your juices flowing, let me share some bits from a recent review.
Last Friday final presentations were held for a great “Casino” account. This was our second assignment for the same management company; it’s a $4 million account in California. This review included a client RFP that described what contenders were meant to send in response; there was also language to describe what was expected during final presentations. To quote: “Original creative work specific to this project does not need to be included in this submission. The submittal must include samples of past creative work, marketing concepts, or execution from other projects that the agency considers creative or unique.” In other words, the client was specifically saying they did NOT want any work or suggestions with respect to the account itself.
For finals, a small handful of agencies (3-4) were selected to present “creative concepts.” The RFP also included the following: “The Property has the right to use any or all ideas presented in any reply to this RFP.” It also stated that “The Property shall not be responsible for any cost or expense which may be incurred by the respondent in preparing and submitting the proposal called for in this RFP, or any cost or expense incurred by the respondent prior to the execution of a contract agreement.”
Some agencies asked about being paid for proposal ownership. The client reiterated that “no spec” was necessary, but each agency was free to do whatever it took to demonstrate their appropriateness and/or uniqueness. There was no agency consensus as to what that fee might be (to pay for ownership), and the client already stipulated no payment would be made. On this and the previous review, the client’s interesting position was that it was possible that more than one agency could present identical or at least very similar “suggestions, themes, concepts, strategies, etc.” The hiring of one and subsequent use of proposal materials might suggest to the other that their work had been “compromised” when in fact it hadn’t. That could lead to time, expense and even potential litigation. That’s why the client and their legals included terms for ownership in the RFP. All finalists accepted those terms. This topic and particularly this issue is open for debate at the moment. Let’s see if we can map a strategy and assemble some acceptable alternatives fair to all. Your input please…
THE 4A’s BURTCH DRAKE HAD QUESTIONS; SO DO WE.
AdAge ran a story July 22nd following O. Burtch Drake’s appearance at the ANA Agency- Client Relations Forum. As President-CEO of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, it was reported that Burtch had lots of questions, but few answers. I was impressed however by some of his rather “pithy” comments; one in particular “Why did those damned journalists fail to point out that the same search consultant that had originally organized the ill-fated Wal-Mart review was allowed to preside over the re-run?”
In a similar fashion, we have a few pithy QUESTIONS for Burtch – (our thoughts are posted below)
1. What’s the 4A’s definition of a Agency Search Consultant?
2. Have you read your own materials? (as in – the AAAA/ANA Rules of the Road for Agency Search Consultants) http://www.aaaagencysearch.com/info/rulesroad.asp
3. Have you examined the business models of all your listed and presumably compliant Agency Search Consultants?
4. Why is it that every listed Agency Search Consultant (save one) is marked with an asterisk * as if “compliant” when that’s not so? http://www.aaaagencysearch.com/info/selection.asp
5. Is there any compensation or “offset” for a member-agency that chooses to decline to “participate” because a review is not being run according to 4A rules?
1. It’s time the 4A’s clarify and amend their Rules of the Road to state that an Agency Search Consultant is an independent third-party hired and COMPENSATED by the CLIENT to conduct a search for the CLIENT. Any consultant business model that derives revenue (under any circumstance, not just at the same time) from both Clients and Agencies is ethically compromised and in violation of your 4A rules.
2. If Burtch has read them, maybe not quite carefully enough. Take a look at their “approved” list of Agency Search Consultants. Every listed Agency Search Consultant is compensated by the client, but more than one (count them yourself) assertively invite agencies to register, charge a fee to be in their database, charge a fee to embellish their listing, and that clearly applies to the above-mentioned Wal-Mart consultant.
3. I’d say “No.”
4. Because they elect to turn a blind eye?
5. Some of our best agency associates are members of the AAAA. If they get compensated, no one has yet confessed!
Looks like our industry needs something along the lines of Sarbanes-Oxley to keep things straight!
AGENCY NEW BUSINESS OPTIONS
Once upon a time, there were a few leaders-of-the-pack in teaching agency new business development. Through natural ebb and flow, those of the 90’s have been displaced. In our next Flash Report we’d like to list the current batch of “experts.” As things evolved, new business also includes those who provide third-party agency “outreach” and appoint- ment setting. Again, on this topic as well, your input please. Tell us who you know or know about. We’ll also post some well-known, well-worn, seldom-practiced agency programs that have persevered over the years.
A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME
We like to share outstanding “essays”, and nothings changed. From The Karma Group in Green Bay, WI.
The trenches are a happy place. That’s where all the action is, so that’s where we are, too. We’re committed to a blue collar, roll-up-your-sleeves, get-a-little-dirt-under-your-fingernails culture.
We build things. We build brands. We build market share. And we build relationships. It’s just who we are. It also happens to be who most of your customers and prospects are as well. They’re real people living real lives with real dreams and real pains. We can relate to them as long as we keep it real. So don’t be expecting a lot of crystal and ivory from us. We’re more the sawdust and beer fridge type.
From consumer goods to heavy industrial equipment, from transportation companies to health care systems, and from publicly traded companies to non-profits, the organizations that we work with share the same desire to perform, while building lasting relationships. What we expect from people who work in our shop:
Pour yourself into your work. Don’t hold back. Get upset when your greatest idea dies on the table. Then get over it. Then get over it. Fast. Brush your teeth before coming to work. Care about something bigger than yourself. Fall in love with people, but never with your own ideas. Put your tools away when you’re done with them. Worship deadlines. Be real. Be honest. Be open. Treat details like you’re cutting diamonds.
What we expect from our clients:
Laugh once in awhile. Life’s short, be human. Expect us to be excellent, but not perfect. Be open and upfront. If you don’t feel you can trust us, please don’t hire us. Love your customers and appreciate their intelligence. Please tell us if we smell badly, but be polite about it. Respect our integrity. Please do not ask us to do anything unethical. Let us do what you hire us to do.
What we expect from our work:
Work its little tail off. On target. On time. On brand. On budget. Irresistible freshness. Every once in awhile, make someone’s palms sweat. Give our clients’ competitors an itchy rash. Be brilliant.
ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES
I’m flattered when someone praises us, our business model, or the fairness by which agencies and clients are treated. I’m not flattered nor am I impressed when someone with no apparent credentials, no name, no face, no facts and a slimy way of “doing” approaches agencies and purports to have pioneered what we’ve been advocating and practicing since 1997. I’m also annoyed when someone even plagiarizes my parodies that serve to illustrate the strength and virtues of what we do. What we introduced in 1997 was tested and developed during our consultive teaching days dating back to 1990 and is the fruit of our daily labors.
If someone tries to sell you a bill of goods, write them a rubber check!
P.S. – That reminds me. For the life of me (you should hear what clients say), what excuse is there for not having names, even photos of agency personnel on your website? Imagine the client’s reaction when they click on “Partners” and read, “We’re not like the BIG agencies. Here at WATAJKE, you won’t work with Juniors; you’ll work directly with principals. Industry veterans who’ve worked in the trenches, know the ropes, but would rather not identify themselves.” Please, what is the excuse… P.P.S. – Another new business tip. On your agency’s voicemail system, before you trot callers through the laborious directory option, how about starting with, “If you’re interested in speaking with us about your account, please press # 1!”
Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO
Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060