Category Archives: Observations

Are Today’s Agencies Ready for Tomorrow

As I was catching up on reading some older newsletters, I came across one that had an excerpt from an article written by Joe Marchese, dated July 1, 2008. Marchese’s main point seems to be that agencies, creative shops, marketers and such aren’t ready ready for, or have an organizational structure that supports social media for brands. His contention:

Put simply, Madison Avenue wasn’t built to service brands in social media and, more importantly, Madison Avenue is not built to make money from the proper activation of social media for brands. The question is, can the system adapt, or will a new breed of agency be born in the vacuum of effective social media campaigns? Evolution or revolution? I have seen evidence of both.

He goes on to outline his vision for what a social media agency could look like, and how it could function. One point in particular that seems to give today’s agencies pause lies within this: “You can’t predefine your creative in social media, because it is a conversation. To predefine your creative would be like entering a conversation with a script, and no matter what the other person says, continuing to stick to your script. You might as well be standing in front of a microphone reading a product description.”

So, this begs the question: Are today’s agencies ready for tomorrow? There are several ways to get ready – from staffing up with those who have unique social media skills to outsourcing certain functionality to specialty shops to developing more long-standing partnerships with individuals or companies that can augment an agency’s existing services.

Are today’s agencies ready? In some places, yes. Overall, not yet. But there are ways to get there, as long as you’re willing to take the first step.

Learning the Lesson

Here in Boise, Idaho, the news came out this week that Mortimer’s, a fine-dining restaurant in downtown Boise, will be closing on June 21st.  That, in and of itself, is not really news – restaurants open and close all the time.

What sets this news apart is the reason that they’re closing.

The media has been quick to note that the reason that Mortimer’s is closing after eight years is because of a bad review in The Idaho Statesman.  But that’s not really the case, and the folks from Mortimer’s will be the first to say that.

The reason they’re closing, in their own words, is because “Last month Jon received the worst review of his career by The Idaho Statesman’s restaurant critic Guy Hand.  The review made it obvious that Jon is spread too thin and needs to concentrate on one restaurant.  Although we were devastated by the review we both agreed with most of the criticism and decided neither of us could commit the time needed to make Mortimer’s what it should be.”

The review in question made note of several inconsistencies in recent visits to the restaurant, mainly those centered around the preparation of the dishes.  The comments that have followed, both on the original review, and the news of the closing, seem to echo similar sentiments — namely that the food is not prepared consistently, the service was below expectation, or other areas of dissatisfaction.

My point here is not to belabor the details about why the restaurant is closing, but rather to use this example to point out some very critical points that are essential to the success of any business.

Whether you’re in the restaurant, retail, service or any other business, the smallest details can make the difference between a bad experience, a good experience or a great experience.  Losing sight of that fact, and failing to focus on those details, can, and has been, the downfall of many a company – definitely not something that is unique to the restaurant industry.

The moral of the story?  In business, as in life, you can either learn from the lesson or you can be the next lesson.  Put another way, you can either set the example or be the example.  Which would you prefer?

Search and Blogs – a powerful combination

It’s no big secret that search engines have an affinity for blogs, websites that incorporate blogs, etc.

Case in point:
A Google search conducted for the name “John” yields some interesting results.

The first position belongs not to John McCain, John Lennon, or even the Gospel of John.  No, the first position is currently held by John Battelle, founder of Federated Media and author of Searchblog.

More proof of the weight that Google’s search algorithms place on the frequently updated content that a blog can provide.