We turned thirty this week. We first opened our doors in March 1980, in that time much has changed, some obvious some less so. However a lot hasn’t so we thought it might be fun to list the 30 things we’ve learned in the last 30 years. Some are serious, some flippant and of course when I asked for help with this list everyone told me they were too busy and so I made them all up myself. Feel free to point out how many you disagree with!
1. Never, ever lie, not small ones not big ones. Tell the truth and accept the consequences, they are rarely as bad as you think and are always better than if you were caught lying.
2. Embrace technology, it’s coming whether you like it or not.
3. Presentation matters. Learn how to do it well and practice it as it is a skill. With work remember the person opposite you is seeing it for the first time. Very talented people made it, so always show it in its best light.
4. Sort the money out at the start of the client relationship, clients don’t like nasty surprises, but understand they have to pay for good work.
5. Clients don’t like you working for the competition, but they would still prefer you to have experience of their market!
6. No one has a monopoly on good ideas.
7. Learn from your mistakes, it’s surprising how many people don’t.
8. Trust your creative teams.
9. Write proper briefs. If it isn’t thought through and correct at the beginning it won’t be at the end.
10. It’s better to have 20 small clients than 3 large ones.
11. Pay suppliers on time; they’ll save your skin one day.
12. Take the sales call, they are only doing their job too, and they’ll phone your client directly anyway if you don’t.
13. Never charge something you couldn’t justify if challenged; because one day you will be.
14. New young members of staff need your time and your attention. Give them it and they’ll be grateful forever.
15. Avoid complacency at all costs, it kills creativity and destroys relationships you spent a lot of time and effort building.
16. Answer the phone within 3 rings; and make sure it’s answered by a human being.
17. Let the client know what is happening at all times.
18. Clients don’t always know a good idea when they see one, but they usually do know a bad one.
19. Clients think about you as often as you think about your suppliers. We might think we’re more important but we’re not.
20. Genuine praise when someone does something well is more important than criticism when they do something badly.
21. If you are fortunate enough to make a profit don’t spend it all, you’ll need it one day.
22. The agency needs to be flexible and that is mainly a mindset.
23. Designers and artists just can’t count.
24. Just because someone makes a thing look easy doesn’t mean it is.
25. Never assume someone else did it.
26. Celebrities help sell, we’re all still suckers for a famous face.
27. Procurement departments are living proof that hell does exist.
28. Your current clients are more important than the ones you are hoping to win in the future, allocate your resources accordingly.
29. Our industry doesn’t always have the best understanding of what represents success.
30. It’s always about the pictures; if the creative is right and everything else was wrong you’ll get the business, if everything else was right but the creative wasn’t you won’t.