Posts Tagged ‘ downturn economy ’

Leo’s – When to Take My Name off the Door

The speech was titled “When to Take My Name off the Door”.

Leo’s remarks:
“That will be the day when you spend more time trying to make money and less time making advertising – our kind of advertising.
When you forget that the sheer fun of ad-making and the lift you get out of it – the creative climate of the place – should be as important as money to the very special breed of writers and artists and business professionals who compose this company of ours and make it tick.
When you lose that restless feeling that nothing you do is ever quite good enough.
When you lose your itch to do the job well for its own sake – regardless of the client, or the money or the effort it takes.
When you lose your passion for thoroughness… your hatred of loose ends.
When you stop reaching for the manner, the overtone, the marriage of words and pictures that produces the fresh, the memorable and the believable effect.
When you stop rededicating yourselves every day to the idea that better advertising is what the Leo Burnett Company is all about.
When you are no longer what Thoreau called a “corporation with a conscience” which means to me, a corporation of conscientious men and women.
When you begin to compromise your integrity — which has always been the heart’s blood – the very guts of this agency.
When you stoop to convenient expedience and rationalize yourselves into acts of opportunism – for the sake of a fast buck.
When you show the slightest sign of crudeness, inappropriateness or smart-aleckness – and you lose that subtle sense of the fitness of things.
When your main interest becomes a matter of size just to be big – rather than good, hard wonderful work.
When your outlook narrows down to the number of windows – from zero to five in the walls of your office, but think of yourself first.
When you lose your humility and become big-shot weisenheimers… a little too big for your boots.
When the apples come down to being just apples for eating (or for polishing) – no longer a part of our tone – our personality.
When you disapprove of something, and start tearing the hell out of the man who did it rather than the work itself?
When you stop building on strong and vital ideas, and start a routine production line.
When you start believing that, in the interest of efficiency, a creative spirit and the urge to create can be delegated and administered, and forget that they can only be nurtured, stimulated and inspired.
When you start giving lip service to this being a “creative agency” and stop really being one.
Finally, when you lose your respect for the lonely man – the man at his typewriter or his drawing board or behind his camera or just scribbling notes with one of our big black pencils – or working all night on a media plan. When you forget that the lonely man – and thank God for him – has made the agency we now have possible. When you forget he’s the man who, because he is reaching harder, sometimes actually gets hold of – for a moment – one of those hot, unreachable stars.
THAT, boys and girls, is when I shall insist you take my name off the door.
And by golly, it will be taken off the door.”

I believe in the ad industry and for the most part believe that we all work with this core perspective. I know we at EVOK do, and it is shown in the small actions. The decisions we make for our clients are still rooted in the best interests of advertising and the client, not financially motivated. I have personally witnessed account managers donate their time, logging “unbillable” or ‘GA” on account when they could have billed for it but maybe just felt 51% like they shouldn’t. I’ve seen artists take projects home and work on them all night, off the clock, to keep on schedule. I’ve seen production managers get a reduced quote and pass the hidden savings on to the client. I’ve seen media buyers fight for make goods or issue credit memos when clients would never know. And, I’ve seen them all cry for a client loss not because of lost revenue, but because they truly cared about and for the client. And most recently, I stood next to a creative who teared up during a pitch because he believed in the brand promise of the client and what it means to him personally.

I hope that I, as the CEO, had something to do with these actions in the way I manage the agency, but moreover, I feel that they were ingrained in the people we asked to join our team – I did my job by telling them how we would be better with them here and how I hoped they would too.

I struggle with profit vs art decisions daily. I have two small children and the downturn economy is, not only, effecting the agency, but also, me personally. But, it is because of my two small children that I make many of the decisions that I do. If cutting corners and forgetting who we are means that we’ll be cutting our own throats in this competitive marketplace, then bring on the Katana – I’m going down fighting.

Five Things That Entrepreneurs Should Do In The Current Economic Climate

Sorry, entrepreneurs, the economy is not good.

You can’t do anything about that. But you can do some things to help your business weather the storm. Here are five suggestions:

1. Take advantage of decreasing costs. If you run a business, you don’t just have customers; you have suppliers too. If demand is decreasing for your product, chances are that your suppliers are facing slackening demand too. So you can take advantage of the current situation to strike better deals with your suppliers.

2. Provide more value to customers. When you start losing customers, the natural response is to cut prices to keep them. Price cuts stimulate demand, but they aren’t the best way to deal with declining demand. If you cut prices to try to preserve sales, your competitors are likely to follow your lead, leaving you with lower revenue and a still declining customer base. A better response to wavering demand is to provide extra value to customers. This will help you to maintain your customer base in a way that is harder for your competitors to copy.

3. Recognize that your competition is increasing. In a recession, competition accelerates because more businesses are chasing less total demand. In addition, when unemployment rises, people start businesses because their opportunity cost of doing so goes down, further increasing competition. So now is the time to make sure that you have a sustainable competitive advantage that will let you succeed in your battle against other companies.

4. Find your counter cyclical products. When customers cut back on their spending, they often substitute one product for another. For instance, in a recession, people might still eat out, but cut back the number of steak dinners that they buy. As a result, they increase demand for pasta dishes. To respond, to bad economic times, you need to come up with your counter cyclical products – the ones that people step down to keep buying from you but at a lower cost.

5. Avoid doing things that demand raising money. All categories of financing are down right now; and the cost of the capital for those who can get it has gone up. That means that right now isn’t the time to pursue the projects that require raising money. You are going to burn up a lot of time trying to get money that you’ll never get or that will come in at too high a price to make your projects viable. Since there’s a cost to spending time on things that fail, if you have the choice, focus on other things right now and put off the activities that require raising capital until capital is more freely and cheaply available.

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This post was lifted from American Express, a vendor of EVOK’s that has been a valued partner.

About the Author: Scott Shane is A. Malachi Mixon III, Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University. He is the author of eight books, including Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The Costly Myths that Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live By; Finding Fertile Ground: Identifying Extraordinary Opportunities for New Ventures; Technology Strategy for Managers and Entrepreneurs; and From Ice Cream to the Internet: Using Franchising to Drive the Growth and Profits of Your Company.