Marketing Consultancy

Where did your confidence go?

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Marketing Consultancy

Guest Contributor – Drew McLellan of AMI

If there has ever been a year when our confidence has taken a knock to the chin, it’s this one. If you are like most agency owners, January and February gave every indication that 2020 was going to be a break-out year for you.

Many agencies reported the most robust January they’d had in a decade and were looking to exceed year-end goals. And then COVID hit. Many of us went two to three months, feeling it was inappropriate to sell at all, and when we did, it was a bit apologetically.

As if that was not enough, the combination of COVID, racial tensions, economic challenges, back to school maybes, and just feeling like we are still being restricted and contained at every turn has caused an underlying malaise in just about every human I know.

Muster Up the Courage – Given everything we’re all carrying on our shoulders right now, how in the world do we muster up the confidence to sell?

Marketing and sales are all about confidence. When you believe in what you’re selling, know it is the right answer for the prospect, and can see the benefits the prospect could enjoy – it’s much easier to approach a new opportunity and offer your assistance.

Focus on the facts – That’s where I think we can regain our confidence – by focusing on the fact that we have something valuable to offer and seeing sales as us offering assistance. Your marketing should be helpful and useful, which builds trust. Once the trust is seeded, sales is about continuing the trust-building while offering tailored solutions that are going to exceed expectations.

Barbara Corcoran, from ABC’s Shark Tank, recently shared a letter that she wrote to the show’s producer Mark Burnett. It’s clear from the letter than she had received a “thanks, but no thanks” response to her audition and I’m sure Mark expected her to exit gracefully.

Instead, she sent him this letter, outlining very respectfully why this was not the right decision. Her arguments were not about her but how he was taking a more significant risk by not allowing her to come to LA for the final tryout, even though her rival for the position would be there as well.

She called Burnett’s rejection a lucky charm and then gave him point by point suggestions of how his final decision would be more reliable if he reconsidered her for a role on the show.

The entire letter exudes confidence. There’s nothing arrogant about it, but as she builds her case, you begin to understand what a formidable force she really is. She ends the letter acknowledging that it is his decision, but she’s already booked her flight and hopes he invites her to get on that plane.

While the letter may not be your style — I know you can find your own way to exude that level of confidence.

It’s about having faith in yourself and what you sell. It’s about truly understanding what your potential buyer is trying to accomplish, his/her situation, and being helpful to their efforts. And even when you get a “no”, remembering that it’s not really a “no”. You’ve planted a seed that you need to nurture. Sooner or later, it will grow to a “yes”.

How can you bake that confidence into your sales efforts for the rest of the year?

Editor Note: Your paid Manager or EVP Plan will bring qualified opportunities to your door.

You Can Lead a Horse to Water, but Horses and Even Agencies Don’t Always Abide

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Marketing Consultancy

Sometimes Amused: As the owner of an agency search consulting service, I’m sometimes amused when an advertiser is surprised when every invited agency wasn’t interested in their opportunity. Maybe that harks back to the days when consultants were guilty of sending out 50+ RPF’s (i.e. – the infamous cattle call) and waiting for the chips to fall. Under today’s circumstances, you might expect agencies to pounce on everything new that comes their way. That’s clearly not the case, and never was, but for any company looking to engage new “marketing outsources”, it helps to know what attracts an agency. Here’s a thumbnail.

What agencies want to know: At the onset, agencies like to know why they were included. Was it their reputation, creative, awards, profile in a database or experience with the consultant.  Agencies expect to be talking directly to the client. Gone are the days where the consultant served as a conduit between the two, screening and interpreting the message content. An impersonal RFP calling for pages of agency detail coupled with an admonishment not to contact anyone at the company is an immediate Red Flag. An agency wants to be speaking and dealing with the person who is managing the review, an individual with authority, well beyond the collection of candidate credentials. An initial due-diligence phone interview saves everyone time and money. It gives the agency a chance to ask and answer and the client to reciprocate.  Here the parties evaluate “chemistry”, the magic elixir that will or will not cement the two in an extended relationship. Questions such as – Is this a project or an extended relationship? What’s the desired measurable outcome? Then budget, that elusive budget.  An agency worth hiring needs to know what funds will be available to manage the assignment. Not precisely but order of magnitude. Don’t shadowbox there. Summarizing, that phone interview should have given the agency sufficient information to produce and send a package of preliminary agency materials with relevant experience, similar client challenges, creative strategies, client testimonials, agency capabilities and credentials.

There’s always fallout: There’s always an immediate fallout from initial invitations; then more will follow phone interviews. Upon receipt of agency materials, corporate colleagues are assigned to examine and evaluate what was received. Some agencies are eliminated (for any reason). Ideally there should be 6-8 firms that remain.  Schedule those for on-site or Zoom visits. Then identify the 2-3 finalists. There’s clearly more to those visits and final presentations than I’ve described; the entire process is where a search consultant earns their stripes!

Listen closely, re: The Most Challenging Time of Our Professional Lives.

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Marketing Consultancy

Editor’s Note: Your agency may already be a member of Drew McLellan’s Agency Management Group. Drew works extremely hard to help and guide his agencies. That’s particularly true now. His advice is good for all.

For most of us, we are approaching the six-month mark of the most challenging time of our professional lives. If we’re being honest with each other and ourselves, it is taking its toll. We have to listen to what’s happening in our hearts and give a lot of credence to the nudges that are subconsciously trying to keep us whole and healthy through this.

It doesn’t really matter if your agency has never been busier or you are scrambling to bring in enough new business to keep your team intact — none of us are getting through this unscathed. Everything is just more difficult. We’re not meant to be this isolated, and the cracks are showing. The burden of leading your team through this is a heavy one.

The coping mechanisms we deployed in March are starting to wear thin and everyone is feeling very frayed at the edges.

You may be experiencing it differently, but many of the agency owners I’ve talked to have felt themselves slipping into this odd mix of anger, frustration, and depression. We feel like we have to keep it contained because our team, our family, and our friends are counting on us to lead them through this.

And we will — but we have to lead ourselves through it as well.

The problem is, the pressure of that containment is going to win out if it hasn’t already. I know for me, I had to consciously find ways to release it before it exploded in a really ugly way. I had to take back what control I could and recognize that I do have choices that COVID has not taken away from me.

Every one of us is going to have a different pressure valve. And our own coping skills are whispering to us what they are. You have to listen with intention sometimes to hear the nudges — but they are there.

For some of you, it may be about being with people who fill you up and finding a safe way to do that. For others, it may be getting away from technology and truly unplugging for a few days by a lake or a cabin in the woods. For yet others, it may be forcing yourself to take a few days off and indulging in whatever hobby brings you joy. I believe for most of us, it’s going to require something significant to help you keep your equilibrium.

I know you’ve been coping through this thing in lots of little ways. I’m not talking about another zoom cocktail hour or FaceTime with a friend. All these options are good — but it feels like the pressure is winning out for many. It’s time to truly take a break of some kind to release that pressure valve.

Listen for it. Find it. Give it to yourself. This isn’t about being selfish. It’s about making sure you don’t run empty.

Does Your Marketing Feel Like This These Days? As an Advertiser or As an Agency?

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Marketing Consultancy, Marketing Partenerships

Why this is the Right Time to Hire a New or Replacement Ad Agency and Others

Is your current agency or in-house group providing creative and tactical ideas for developing relevant online content during these COVID-19 and country-wide rioting disruptions in business? Are they thinking about how to use this time to help you creatively drive engagement, traffic or calls to your business? If your business has lost internal marketing support is your agency stepping up to fill in those gaps? Regardless of the challenges we all face, there are ways to continue to market and promote a brand. Finding the right PR, digital or marketing agency can transform these challenges into opportunities.

COVID-19 has given us time to think. If you have anything to do with marketing, this disruption is likely causing a lot of indecision. Hiring a marketing, digital or PR partner is about identifying the right agency and talent that understands your industry and how to mitigate the uncertainty of the pandemic. They must have a firm understanding of what it takes to continue building brand awareness and sales. If you have an agency or in-house department that is not pulling their weight, use this time wisely to consider searching for a new partner.

Your Criteria
There’s the temptation to search for an agency “type.” As in digital, experiential, direct, integrated, public relations and so on. Don’t start with type. Start with experience. Does this agency have relevant experience in your industry, do they understand the nuances and personalities of the people you are targeting? Do they have the right type of talent, experience and background that brings fresh thinking? are they equipped to work remotely with your company and team to turn projects around on budget and deadline? Are they willing to share meaningful insights that can help accelerate the growth of your brand?  Are they the right size, fit, responsive and willing to do what it takes to ensure the seamless execution and implementation of any marketing challenging?

Your Search
In the final analysis, many options exist for identifying a new marketing partner. Many of which are impersonal and lack the insights, details and information necessary to make a good decision. For over 20 years we’ve been connecting marketers and advertisers with agencies and agencies with new clients. We provide an elegantly, curated, powerful, complimentary and efficient, platform to identify and evaluate agencies. The combination of an on-board search engine and extensive agency-produced profiles allows for identifying and targeting the most appropriate candidates.

So is it the right time to find a new marketing partner? See for yourself. There may be the perfect agency just waiting to help through these uncertain times. And the recent turn of events that lead to rioting has added another unheard of challenge. You have nothing to lose and you may be surprised at what you’ll find.

What will your tomorrow look like?

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Marketing Consultancy

Today’s close look by Drew McLellan of AMI

First — many of you let me know, after last week’s note, that apparently the locusts are on their way. I shouldn’t have been surprised!

Many of you also wrote that the piece resonated with you because you were struggling to even think about the agency, let alone buckle down and focus on the work you need to do. I think that’s where we’ve all been for the last couple of weeks.

And it’s no wonder. Here’s what 2020 has looked like so far (you may have to adjust dates based on your location in the world):

January – March 15th:
So busy we couldn’t see straight. Healthy profits and projections said 2020 could be a record year.

March 15th – March 31st: A cocktail mix of panic and paralysis as COVID-19 strikes, clients hit the pause button, and we have to figure out this WFH thing.

April 1st – April 25th: Starting to get our groove back. Gov’t relief funds in the bank and starting to have meaningful conversations with our clients and our team. Had our first decent night’s sleep in awhile, no matter if we lost no business or half our business. We are getting used to the discomfort of not knowing.

April 25th – May 25th: Hey — we’re going to be okay. Landed a new client or two, some clients slowly coming back, and our virtual happy hours are a highlight of the week. We’re beginning to think about going back to the office. And many of us have gotten a haircut!

May 26th – now: A new mix of emotions as we watch the protests, struggle with the raw reality of racism, and in many parts of the US, live under a curfew until the violence settles down.

Tomorrow: Will yours be red or green? Look at the pattern so far. Cooking with gas, then knocked to our knees, struggling to stand up, and then stand tall. Just to get knocked to our knees again.

The way you moved from the panic and paralysis season of COVID-19 is that you believed you had no choice. You just forced yourself to focus, to fight, to serve your clients, and to sell. You took care of your team when you thought your tank was empty and you made smart decisions along the way.

You decided there was no other acceptable path. Yes, it was like climbing a mountain in the dark. But it was the only way forward. And so you not only climbed the mountain — you scaled it and stood on the summit to catch your breath.

Today, someone on my Facebook feed asked the question “at what age is one too old to hide from the world in a blanket fort?” I totally get it. But we can’t afford to hide or wait. Nothing we are facing right now is a quick fix. Holding our breath and just waiting until it’s over isn’t an option. We have to be able to survive and thrive as we go through it.

You know this drill. If you wait for the perfect time to launch a business, fire a bad client, have a baby, or grow a mustache — you’ll never do any of them. You do them when you find the courage to do them, even though it’s never the perfect moment.

That’s what we have to do right now. We have to decide that despite everything our world is going through right now — it’s time to fight for our focus. It’s time to decide forward is the only path.

You’re at the base of the mountain. Are you just going to set-up camp and wait or are you going to step out into the dark and start climbing?

I wish I could make it easier. But what I can do is remind you that you are not climbing the mountain alone.

Benevolent boot camp – Fit for the Times

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Marketing Consultancy

Reminiscing & Advice by Drew McLellan at AMI

When I was in high school, I took one of those aptitude tests to see what I should be when I grew up. It was really just an exercise of curiosity because I already knew I was going to be a psychologist (I’ll tell you how that went sideways over a drink sometime). When I got the test results back I was stunned to see that military officer was one of the top suggestions. If you know me at all, you know that would have been an unmitigated disaster. All I could envision was me apologizing to my troops for making them get up early!

As I think about the mini-plan I want you to focus on this week — your team plan — it reminds me of a bootcamp scenario. Our people are out of their natural work element, we’re asking them to work at odd hours with lots of obstacles, and they’re under a ton of pressure. They’re worried about how their performance will influence the ultimate outcome and what impact that will have on their lives. But, unlike a military bootcamp, our role needs to be a little different than a drill sergeant. We aren’t going to mold our team into soldiers and then send them on their way. This is OUR team — so we can absolutely hold them accountable but do so by creating a healthy, candid environment.

If you remember, the five mini-plans I want you to develop are:

  • Operational/financial plan (How will you get the work done on time and on budget? Then, determine the minimum acceptable profit margin for your agency and use agency math to manage your way to never dipping below it.)
  • Team plan (How will you keep them motivated, efficient, profitable, and striving to serve each other and your clients?)
  • Client plan (You need to proactively guide each client into a position of readiness so that when they can step back in — they’re ready and more prepared than their competitors.)
  • Prospect plan (What can you talk about that will be valuable? Base this on what your prospects are ready to hear at any given moment in time.)
  • Vision of the future plan (What parts of normal are worth rushing back to and what could/should be different?)

I believe that in a crisis people reveal their true selves to you. By now, you’ve been surprised and impressed by some of your team members and maybe a little disappointed by others. I know you’ll give everyone the benefit of the doubt. But, even beyond that, you’ve been given some important insights into your team. As we slowly work our way out of crisis mode, do not lose track of those insights.

Now is not the time to ease up on holding everyone accountable. When every penny counts, we have to make sure we’re as efficient and effective as possible. A couple weeks ago my podcast guest, Adam Carroll, had some easy to follow tips for holding your team accountable with his HEAT framework.

Here are some of the ways the agencies that are really performing well are managing their team:

  • Daily Zoom huddles (Traffic meetings.)
  • Honoring their one-on-one meeting schedule.
  • Leave-no-man behind Zoom calls. (Personal check-ins to make sure each of your team members is doing okay personally.)
  • Weekly agency update with lots of transparency around money, job security, client activity, biz dev, etc.
  • Playtime (Virtual happy hours, word games, getting to know you questions, photo contests, Zoom background competitions, etc.)
  • Group and individual goal setting and sharing (We all do better with something to work toward.)
  • Investing in new learning and skills development (If your team is not fully deployed — this is a smart way to prep for our re-entry.)
  • Peer and supervisor recognition. This is such good medicine as we socially distance. If you don’t already have a peer recognition program in place, this might be the time to start one.
  • Review of company values. Re-teach everyone how they look in action.
  • Serve others together. Whether that’s a community project, everyone coming together to help a client through a sticky situation, or supporting a team member who is having a tough time, about to have a baby, etc.

COVID-19 is calling on us to be the best version of a leader we can be. You absolutely need to be kind and understanding but at an equal level, you also need to hold each employee to a very high standard. Think of yourself as a benevolent drill sergeant and do all you can to not only get good work from your team today but even more importantly — prepare and assess them for the future version of your agency.

Are they the people you want to go into battle with? If so, do everything you can to guarantee their success.

If you could read your employees thought bubbles …

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Marketing Consultancy

Do you remember the movie “What Women Want” with Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt?

You do watch any movie that takes place inside an advertising agency, don’t you? Anyway —the premise of the movie is that Mel Gibson is an arrogant, sexist ad guy who receives the “gift” of being able to hear what women are thinking all around him. As you might imagine, it was a shock to Mel’s ego to see himself through the eyes of the women in his life.

If you haven’t seen it — check it out. It’s definitely worth a Netflix night.

The movie popped into my head because I’ve had some interesting conversations with agency employees over the past few weeks and my conversation with Craig in this week’s podcast also touched on how our employees see the agency, and us as the agency leader. I wish you could hear their unedited thoughts because I think we unintentionally miss the mark sometimes because of our assumptions.

Like poor Mel — sometimes the listening was not easy to hear. But, given what we do for a living — we know how important perspective is and as you might imagine, the Mel at the end of the movie is a different guy than the Mel we met initially. I wonder if that would be true for you, too.

Here are some of the biggest refrains that are running through agency employees’ brains that I believe are worthy of your time and attention:

  • “I’m relieved that she got a new car. It means the agency is stable financially and I don’t have to worry about my job.”
  • “He has no idea how much harder it is to do my job when he doesn’t have time to talk to me.”
  • “Oh my God…we just decided A last week. Now he wants to do B? Why?”
  • “I’m worried about him. He looks tired and he works too much.”
  • “I know a lot of agencies are open book. I wonder why she doesn’t trust us enough to share the numbers?”
  • “It’s so hard to get my team to do (timesheets, follow the traffic system, etc.) when he disregards it. How do I answer them when they point out that it might not be that important if the agency owner isn’t doing it.”
  • “I don’t know how she does it. I admire her and all she’s accomplished. But those are big shoes to fill. Am I ready?”
  • “I’m going to just tread water on this thing he asked me to do. He never sticks to anything. If he asks again, I guess it means he’s serious this time.”
  • “I wish I could spend more time with him. I want to be as good as he is and learn from him.”
  • “It’s so frustrating that she doesn’t have her act together and then shoves her last-minute projects into the workflow. How do I explain that to the client whose work is now going to be late?
  • “Does he notice that I am working my tail off? That I am trying to step up and prove how committed I am to the agency?”
  • I would kill to have a consistent weekly meeting with her. I could keep things moving if I just had her attention on a regular basis.”
  • “The team is getting worried. We haven’t had a state of the agency meeting for a while and that usually means things are not going well.”
  • “We all care about this place and want to help. But other than just doing our jobs, we don’t know how.”

I could go on and on, but you get the point. Your team (unless you are the exception to the rule) feels a little out of the loop. While they are grateful that you work as hard as you do — it’s frustrating when they are never a consistent priority. They want more of you. More feedback. More informal teaching. More mentorship and more “Atta boys!” from you.

I watch the agency owners who truly are the exception to the rule and their agencies are on a growth path. They are experiencing less turnover and their client retention is higher. If I can sum up what they’re doing, it’s this set of behaviors and beliefs:

  • They see their agency as a teaching tool and use performance metrics, pitch results, and every other aspect of their agency’s life as lessons to be shared with the team.
  • They overshare (meaning they repeat themselves) because they know everyone is not going to retain it the first time.
  • They celebrate victories — big and small. They remind everyone why their work matters and why the team is so good.
  • They are very open about the agency’s performance, money situation and their own hopes, fears, worries, and joys.
  • They are present. Sometimes half the battle is won simply by being there.
  • They say thank you. Often —and in person.
  • They invest in the relationships and the people. They hang out, enjoy a bagel in the break area with the team, and participate in company outings.
  • They don’t sugarcoat or dodge the tough conversations.

Every one of you is capable of all of the above. I just think you are running so fast and have so much on your mind that you forget to slow down and connect with your team. I know you want to be an amazing leader. I know you want to inspire confidence and trust. I know you want to build a team that will follow you into battle and do you proud.

Make it a priority. Schedule the time on your calendar. See those thought bubbles over their heads and anticipate what they might be concerned about and proactively deal with those worries.

You’ve got this. I know you do.

Another great contribution by Drew McLellan, CEO AMI (Agency Management Institute)

Does Your Agency Really Need Its Website?

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Marketing Consultancy

Silly question you might say, but what’s your website for anyway?

Before You Had Your Website:

Before you had a website, you should have had an agency brochure. Something you kept in inventory for those times when a prospect conversation ended with “can you send me something?” Off went the brochure with an accompanying cover letter. That conversation and package was normally sent by the person charged with agency business development and followed a meaningful telephone conversation. The cover letter was written accordingly.

A good “agency business development person” (ABD) would make a follow-up call to confirm package receipt and continue with a probative conversation. Using what was learned during that call, the ABD now sent a very carefully considered and grouped collection of materials designed to emphasize and confirm the agency’s suitability and candidacy for handling the client’s business.

This process was carefully tailored to each client and each client’s interest; when speaking with a B2B client, there was generally no “show and tell” of fashion-related experience. Conversely fashion prospects were not burdened with industrial examples. Thinking back, didn’t this all make sense?

What’s Your Website Today?

What’s your website today? A pithy mini tome declaring purpose and intent; a collection of everything you do and have done; an introduction to smiling team leaders with photos and bios, text hopefully appealing to all visitors, samples of current work in all categories, a listing of current but seldom past clients, concluding with a “Contact Us” page. Not necessarily in that order, but available for viewing.

Many variables determine why an agency is selected by a client, but all will agree that “chemistry” or likeability plays a deciding factor in the final selection. Knowing that, good agency people also know that “chemistry” plays a factor from the very beginning. Meaning – “You never get a second change to make a first impression” and undeniably the ABD can make or break your chance for success from the get-go.

If that’s the case, why not give your ABD star billing on the Contact Us Page? A handsome photo, and brief but credentialed bio, and multiple contact options. And while you’re at it, if your ABD is engaged in multiple forms of proactive outreach, rather than pointing to your website in those materials as your competitors do, suggest they engage in an initial telephone conversation; then respond with a “custom digital agency brochure” tailored to that discussion.

How About A New Website?

As to your website? How about other alternate versions – just a powerful page or two featuring a vertical market, then declaring your understanding of the importance of relationships and of one-to-one conversation. Agency-to-client and client-to customer.  Let them know your initial conversation will lead to a uniquely-selected collection of samples and examples specific to their interest and needs. Not like other “we-do-it-all” agency websites.  Incorporate AI to let them schedule a day and time for their call and conversation. Confirm by email plus a real honest-to-goodness agency business card via USPS.

Oh BTW – agency websites are used to recruit new hires too. But rather than burdening someone on staff who often has limited HR experience, why not engage an employee search consultant to narrow the field and present only qualified candidates? (as they’ve done for years)

Traditional versus digital: Why does it even matter?

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Marketing Consultancy

Traditional media has met its match with the advent of digital, and the advertisers have been weighing out the pros and cons for each medium to make spending decisions ever since. Media players however, are now saying the debate should stop because at the end of the day, content is king.

Havas Group Singapore’s chief executive officer, Jacqui Lim said that contrary to popular beliefs, the first steps for her team after receiving a brief and budget from the client is not to build a media plan and decide which channels. Instead, a lot of planning goes into optimising metrics and understanding what hits the right key performance indicators. This is driven by clients’ expectation for the agency to look at things in an integrated, platform-agnostic and audience-centric fashion.

Your Guide Chuck Meyst, Chairman

To decide on the right medium, there are several dimensions to consider, Lim said. For example,

Clients believe in a much more trackable and attributable kind of platforms, but the traditional or broadcast media comes in to help us amplify.

Rather that choosing traditional “or” digital, general manager of Unilever Singapore Banjo Castillo advises that advertisers shift their mindsets to “and”, and move the conversation towards how they can make the best use of finite resources.

With consumer journeys crossing not just media platforms but different screens as well, Castillo said that the company is focused on building its data-driven capabilities to boost campaign efficiency. This includes precision and performance marketing.

Havas’ Lim suggested a more unified currency for traditional and digital media buys, where television goes programmatic, and measurement and targeting are as transparent as that of digital. She added that making interaction and engagement metrics possible will also assure clients that they are making meaningful connections with their customers.

Understanding consumers

Additionally, the panellists at the event hosted by Mediacorp urged marketers to focus on effective storytelling as content is what matters to people and catches their attention. Ajay Vidyasagar, regional director, YouTube partnerships, who had previously also spent almost two decades in the television industry, said that digital has not only changed the way viewers consume, but allowed people to create content as well. This was what led to a surge of users on YouTube. He added,

“The walls between digital and traditional media are truly breaking. Consumers want content when they want it, in a form that they are able to consume, on a device they are comfortable reaching out to at that moment.”

Meanwhile, Castillo said that marketers can leverage digital to craft messages and develop products tailored to customers’ wants and needs. Digital has for instance, changed the way Unilever gets to know its customers.

He added, “When we do consumer research, it takes three to six months to come in, before we even get to analyse it. Now, through the power of digital, we can actually do social listening, and learn about consumers on the fly.”

by Avelyn Ng Courtesy the MARKETER

Find out why Connelly Partners’ leader doesn’t want staff to work from home

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Marketing Consultancy

by Lindsay Stein, Campaign Magazine

But the agency president and copywriter does believe in work-life balance.

Connelly Partners’ President and Copywriter Steve Connelly believes that working from home kills agency culture. However, he also tells employees, “If you don’t have a life outside of the office, you are useless to me.”

These are two of Connelly’s “strands of DNA,” which he tells Campaign US is a “blend of pragmatism and some basic human tribal beliefs I have that help us yield good work.”

He explained that no one can be creative 24 or 12 hours a day and he doesn’t expect staffers to work very long hours, but he does want them to be focused when they’re in the office.

“I have kids in their 20s and I certainly hear a lot about liberal work from home policies and I think that’s fine if you’re into productivity and staying connected, but if your focus and priority is culture, which mine is, then you have to be in the office, you have to talk to people and feel the energy around you,” he said.

But this doesn’t mean the agency doesn’t believe in work-life balance. Connelly said that if a staffer needs to work from home because he or she needs a mental health day or has a sick child, he’s totally fine with that. Plus, the shop offers unlimited vacation days.

“What you need to do to take time to refresh and stay charged and bring new experiences into the office you should do, but I’m not saying that I’ll pay for three days and then have you work from home on the fourth and fifth day. That’s not culturally beneficial,” he said.

Mothers who want or need to work from home are on a case-by-case basis. Connelly said he wants to make sure he stays connected with working moms and gets them back in the workplace, but he says if you’re in a leadership position, “You can’t lead by phone – you need to lead by example.”

He said he’d rather have a working mother tap into a truncated schedule in which she comes in earlier and leaves earlier than have her work from home.

Connelly also strongly believes in having a life outside of the office. “The more successful you become in this business, the more you’re taken away from what made you successful – the everyday things and people,” he said.

He added:” If you’re job is to tell so a wide range of people, you better be able to observe a wide range of lives. Go learn, live and find, and sometimes you suck up experiences without even knowing it.”

The agency’s culture is “familial” and “imperfect like most families, but with a lot of honest inside,” according to Connelly. The shop was built around a living room, kitchen table and bar because those rooms are often where the best conversations take place. “It’s a very educated treehouse,” said Connelly.

For agencies looking to figure out or build their own cultures, Connelly has some advice: “Please understand that culture is organic  If you’re going to commit to culture, understand that you are the dirt, not the seed or plant, and your job is to provide the best growing environment.”

Note: Steve Connelly and his agency are proudly “one of ours!”

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