Ignorant and Rushed?

Twitter was buzzing following Lord Chadlington’s speech at the recent ICCO Paris Summit. The attendees were sharing his views on what is needed to make a successful agency.

  1. Everything is possible
  2. Clients are at the centre of your business
  3. Hire people smarter than you. Don’t employ people who don’t get digital.
  4. Be tough about ourselves, our colleagues and clients
  5. Keep business and personal life separate
  6. Learn about money and numbers
  7. PR people are ignorant – read!
  8. Think enough
  9. Beware morality creep – stay honest
  10. Manage expectations
  11. Get the small things right
  12. Never give up

While I’m sure that the most of us would agree with him, two stood out to me. Number seven “PR people are ignorant” jumped out as both a statement and a challenge. Maybe ignorant of the wider picture might be closer to the truth.

Lots of consultants know more than is healthy about their client’s business but do not know how it fits into the wider sector or internationally. With digital media in mind I’d add watch and listen to Peter’s exhortation to read more. Unlike advertising or digital successful PR requires a full understanding of the issues around a product, service or corporate positioning and despite this being stunningly obvious to me it does seem  to be a surprise to many consultants. On the phone to the journalist or responding out of hours on Twitter is not the time to realise you really should have kept up to date with your RSS feeds.

Peter suggesting that we do not think enough really struck a chord for me. How many of us schedule time into the diary to give careful consideration to a client or management issue? Very few would be my guess.

A lack of time is something that I hear time and time again from hard pressed account handlers. With budgets under pressure its no surprise that the maximum amount of time is sold out, but if we don’t slow down and consider, we are apt to make snap decisions or provide ill thought out advice.

You might feel that I’m being old fashioned arguing for us to find time to read around the subject and to stop and think. But try it for a month and you’ll find yourself doing a better job and getting more satisfaction from it. While I’m at it, point 12 is probably the most important for agency success.