I am not a recruiter, personal trainer or life coach. I am a Creative Director/Strategic Planner/writer weaned in the advertising industry and blessed to have worked on some of the most inspiring, aggressive blue chip brands.
My job, quite simply, was to apply the creative process to strategies designed to steal share, grow brands, launch brands and/or otherwise make life miserable for my clients’ competitors. I’m proud to say that I have done that in several categories.
In relative terms, creating work is easy. If you have a strong strategy with a compelling benefit, you find the shortest route between point A (the benefit) and point B (the consumer’s need.)
Where it gets difficult with large clients is getting the work in front of the person who has the authority to say ‘yes’ rather than simply the authority to say ‘no’. A win on the way up the approval ladder is ‘maybe’.
Ultimately, if you are successful, you will find yourself in a boardroom full of nervous people on both the agency side and the client side and the CEO/President/last-stop-before-the-train-leaves-the-station/ authority sitting at the head of the table wanting to be taken through the program succinctly with quantifiable numbers/logic of the proposed approach.
These are waste-no-time meetings.
I have been in many of them. And what I love about a good CEO is that despite their corporate drilling, demanding protocol and well entrenched, documented procedures, the successful CEOs have managed to hang on to one thing that has been drilled out of so many of their employees.
I can name names and I will. Ed Acker, Pan AM. Andrew Seth, Lever Bros. Pat McGinnis, Ralston Purina. Gordon Cheesbrough , Altamira Mutual Funds, David Novak, Yum brands. There are many more.
I could also name a few names of CEOs who didn’t ‘get it’ but all that could come out of that is me being sued. I could point to these companies who have, once blue chip, been delisted off the NY Stock Exchange (think photography) or largely become irrelevant. Or out of business.
Every brand has its story. It has its ups and downs, its trials and triumphs. Like you, it has a lifespan that can be as short as a tsetse fly’s or as long as California Redwood’s. And every successful brand has it champions and its leaders who have not had bludgeoned out of them one of the most precious qualities of leadership: Common sense.
If only we could take those qualities to Washington, D.C.
Oops. Sorry. Stepping outside the bounds of the assigned topic otherwise know as ‘the box’.
Please join me in a toast to common sense and those in business, especially CEOs who still have command of the skill. And exercise it.
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