Slowing the earth’s rotational spin

19 Aug

Let’s face it, the pace of the modern world is just not suited to everyone and there are those of us who like to take our time coming around to things and roll ideas and potential interactions around in our brains a bit before we have to deal with new things coming our way at a velocity that never allows us the amplitude to become experts  let alone comfortable in any one area of knowledge before being compelled to leave this zone of new understanding we are slowly building around let’s face it often complex technical and shifting issues and then launch ourselves head-first into new areas that require a coming-to-terms in short order if we are going to be able to use that specific knowledge to leap with an unfortunate but unavoidably vertiginous tilt towards the next imperative that blops up on the horizon like a bubble in a pot of boiling pasta sauce.

Hey let’s do an iPhone app for that!

Advertising companies are a faced with change every day. Do we chase after every shiny new object in the belief that knowing something about a lot of things is better than knowing less about those things than the agency next door? Or do we develop deep areas of knowledge in limited areas?

Seth Godin hit close to this subject recently in this post when he compared the spin doctors or pop-up pundits who quickly run out of things to say, to the passionate experts who can talk about their area of knowledge for hours, never crossing their own footprints.

Which approach is more likely to help us bring value to our clients?

Here’s something communications and marketing professionals can feel very good about: we have no trouble whatsoever understanding what the consumer is going through too.

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9 Responses to “Slowing the earth’s rotational spin”

  1. Chris Dallin August 19, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

    That first sentence is bad-ass long!

  2. dougbrowncreative August 19, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    Is that bad-ass good or bad-ass bad? Is bad like, BAD… or just bad?

  3. hitgirl August 19, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

    That first sentence captures my mood exactly.

  4. dougbrowncreative August 19, 2010 at 4:34 pm #

    We don’t need to behave like frogs leaping from one new lily pad to the next.

  5. hitgirl August 19, 2010 at 4:43 pm #

    How about a snake in the grass: quietly waiting, watching, conserving energy and exploding into action when the time is right? then napping…

  6. dougbrowncreative August 19, 2010 at 4:49 pm #

    I think the problem with the snake metaphor is that once they’ve eaten they are slow and you can run up to them and whack them on the head with a log.

  7. hitgirl August 19, 2010 at 4:53 pm #

    Ok fine. But honestly, how many times have you done that?

  8. Reg August 19, 2010 at 5:35 pm #

    Nice run-on sentence, Doug — point taken!

    Always a challenge to balance the “generalist vs specialist” needs of clients (and/or developmentally as an agency), and to decide what merits that effort and attention. Certainly lots of “must-be-in-social-media” practitioners (or would-be-practitioners) and clients, but as you’ve pointed out in this space before, strategy and good planning ought to be the first steps, but sadly too many clients do not go there first, opting for reaction-mode or its cousin, the ‘buckshot’ (aka spaghetti) method, i.e. throw something at the wall and hope it sticks.

    The common denominator, of course, is time. Time invested up front (in, say, strategy or planning, or in proper testing and learning) is time saved (and often $ earned) later — I think a good agency will counsel this with clients as part of a good relationship. Sometimes that includes offering up services to meet that need, sometimes it’s just questioning and challenging appropriately rather than just “filling the order”.

    Ah, yes, time. Our best friend or our worst enemy, depending on how we approach it. Recalls the old adage to “Do well what you’re given to do, and more work will come to you.” I think that could apply to how much depth or breadth an agency decides to apply to its clients’ problems or the various media in which it is working (or thinks it should be working in…). Niche or general/all-media can both work, in my view, but both come with pitfalls and advantages.

    Thanks for the big sentences and big ideas, Doug,

    Reg

  9. dougbrowncreative August 20, 2010 at 5:08 am #

    Reg, taking your comment on the spaghetti method and my reference to bubbling pasta sauce, I think we have a meal here.

    I liked your quote: “Do well what you’re given to do, and more work will come to you.” Every agency sees that, and its unfortunate evil twin, in action. They both are astute teachers. The danger with following it when it comes to things like social media is that doing something mediocre at the moment will look better on paper than doing nothing. But this is changing fast.

    But it was your reference to the time invested upfront that kick-started my brain. Often we have no control over the time available and speed to market has become this imperative that defies logic sometimes. There is always time to do it again, but never enough time to do it right the first go around. We can only do so much overnight…Regardless of how deep agencies want to dive, and how convincing their argument for taking that long dig, ultimately the need to be in market yesterday is what we are left trying to solve.

    How wonderful when a client says: You know what, let’s get this right. That encourages us to develop those deep specialist skills. We know they won’t atrophy and the investment in developing them won’t be wasted.

    Insightful comment as always – thanks.

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