“Find out what it is you don’t do well in life... and don’t do that thing.”
The tongue-in-cheek but ultimately sage advice of the hero in beer brand Dos Equis’ long-running but now retired brand campaign – The Most Interesting Man in the World – is an entertaining reminder of the need for expertise and focus.
‘Work on your weaknesses’ is often touted as a way to improve performance but the opposite is a better mantra for success. All Black fullbacks don’t spend hours working to become worldclass props. They focus on becoming even better in their specialist position.
As brand agencies and management consultancies, in the endless search for new revenue streams, add new products and services to their traditional offerings, it’s not surprising that clients question their ability to deliver.
And experience shows that integrating unrelated disciplines, for example, strategic management consulting with creative advertising, is always more difficult and culturally disruptive than it first appears.
As Rob Pardini, chief data scientist for WPP AUNZ commented when Accenture recently acquired The Monkeys in Australia: “Like most big consulting and accounting firms, they tend to operate in a manner that is detached from the creative process and agency operations.
It's going to take more than purchasing a couple of independent creative agencies for them to embed creative thinking culturally…”
The vast majority of clients simply do not believe that one firm can be an expert in all disciplines but conversely, they do not want to manage a plethora of relationships with often unrelated agencies.
Taking responsibility for solving this conundrum clearly sits with agencies and will be an increasingly topical and high-profile issue as the future becomes increasingly cluttered and complex.
What remains clear and simple is experts working on what they do well and in collaboration with other disciplines remains an enduring, compelling proposition.
Mark Jenner is NZ Business Director for WPP AUNZ (firstname.lastname@example.org).