Know Your Agency’s Pitch

This is going to sound business-y, but stay with me. It relates to your job as a creative.

I’m quoting from Chip and Dan Heath’s book Made to Stick, who are quoting from Stephen Covey’s book The 8th Habit. Covey describes a poll of 23,000 employees with the following results:

  • Only 37 percent said they have a clear understanding of what their organization is trying to achieve and why.
  • Only one in five was enthusiastic about their team’s and their organization’s goals.
  • Only one in five said they had a clear “line of sight” between their tasks and their team’s and organization’s goals.
  • Only 15 percent felt that their organization fully enables them to execute key goals.
  • Only 20 percent fully trusted the organization they work for.

The Brothers Heath write, “As sobering as those statistics are, they’re very abstract. But Covey superimposes a very human metaphor over the statistics and says, ‘If, say, a soccer team had these same scores, only 4 of the 11 players on the field would know which goal is theirs. Only 2 of the 11 would care. Only 2 of the 11 would know what position they play and know exactly what they are supposed to do. And all but 2 players would, in some way, be competing against their own team members rather than the opponent.'”

Now here’s how this applies to you:

You’ve got to know what your agency’s goals are, what they’re doing to achieve them, and who they’re using. Because if they’re not as dedicated to creative work as you are, it will be a problem for you in the long run.

It’s the reason portfolio students send their books to places like Goodby and Crispin and Boone/Oakley and not to…well, I won’t name names. But you know who your last ditch agencies would be.

One thought on “Know Your Agency’s Pitch

  1. The soccer team analogy is striking and really puts it in perspective. The book TAKE A STAND FOR YOUR BRAND by Tim Williams hits on the same truth–for an industry built on creating clear, distinct brands, many agency brands are remarkably muddy.


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