Caliber Brand Strategy + Content Marketing
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Can we kill the “traditional” or “digital” agency labels already?

Agencies of the planet – just so you know, your label as “traditional” or “digital” or “social media” does not give you an inherent advantage of being able to relate better to any client, anywhere, at any time. Ever. It’s a label. Nothing more. And in the current state of the world, it’s an increasingly irrelevant one.

Most people are absorbing traditional media and digital media at once. I think we can agree that a whole lot of people use the Internet and a significant portion of the population is using social media. The fact you choose to concentrate on one of those is perfectly fine and good. Really. But to suggest that the fact that you specialize in those areas in and by itself means you are best at it is blowing smoke up a prospect’s rear end.

I’m talking to you too, specialists in certain types of marketing.

It’s great that you specialize in real estate advertising, for example. But you could still suck at it. Your creative could suck, your client service could suck, your strategy could suck, your media choices could suck and your ability to adapt to digital could suck. Or you could be awesome at all those areas and then some.

Either way, please don’t suggest that the fact you specialize alone makes you so much better than others. It doesn’t – until you prove it correct by making your case with your portfolio, your experience, your client feedback, your results, etc.

It’s shocking to me that anyone would want to stand on a pedestal without telling that story. “We’ve been in _____ marketing for X years so we’re uniquely equipped to understand your business.” Nice try. But I’m not convinced yet and nobody else should be either. Show me more. Tell me more. Best of all, show and tell me how all of your collective knowledge will benefit the challenge in front of me right now at this moment.

The agencies that connect the dots in this way for their prospects are the ones that win. The ones that think their labels alone will go a long way toward closing the deal?

I label that as lazy.

What do you call your agency in terms of what it does? And do your clients understand it? And how much do you rely on that label? Share. 

The Over-Caffeinated Entrepreneur says April 26, 2012

I’m confused. Does Chicago Brander mean that you mark cattle in Chicago? I got your point, thanks.

    Dan Gershenson says April 26, 2012

    Wow, thanks for the side business idea. Branding and branding.

      Zach Weiner says April 27, 2012

      Nice post Gustavus Swift!

        Dan Gershenson says April 27, 2012

        You’ll have to explain that reference to me, my friend – but in a crazy coincidence, my Dad worked for Gustavus’ Swift’s company for 37 years.

          Zach Weiner says April 27, 2012

          It sounds like you know who I’m referring to – another Chicago Brander.