Remember pagers, Palm Pilots, and Orkut? It’s ok if you don’t since it makes absolutely no difference to your ability to perform in an agency. That’s the way it is in the communications business: platforms and products change on a dime; trends shift, and new ideas and technology emerge just as quickly as the old ones die.
To stay relevant in this business despite constant change, I believe it comes down to a few guiding principles.
First, the collective purpose of any agency is to constantly learn, and to learn quickly; whether it’s about a new client, a new technology, a new social media platform or a new digital marketing tool. It’s why we invest a lot of time and effort in learning, training, and coaching; making sure that the desire to learn stays deeply embedded in our DNA. Ignorance, once it becomes institutionalized, is a terminal disease.
Second, I believe in starting from what our clients need; and not what we are comfortable selling. The distinction between PR and Marketing has blurred simply because clients want us to solve a communications problem: whether it’s to build their brand, generate more leads, or make more sales. So we need to be agnostic about what we offer because it’s in our clients’ best interests.
Finally, we need to stop looking for the ‘perfect answer’ to problems. We need to start – however imperfectly – and iterate towards results as quickly as possible. Fight the urge to hold long philosophical discussions about what’s right or wrong: just do it, and fix it as you go along.
I gained my marketing and corporate communications experience by working in Singapore Airlines, Shell, and IBM. My engineering background and a love for new technology have led to frequent accusations that I speak mostly in Geek. Three things outside of work that I love, in order or priority: my family, Star Wars and Japanese animation.