Why we do what we do

I went to a talk at the IPA this evening about ‘measuring the unmeasurable’ hosted by Chris Field.

Loads of interesting ideas were discussed; how advertising can only drive trial and has no impact on brand loyalty, how brand loyalty is essentially an innate result of brand size (and not vice versa), and how a worrying number of ad folk still have no interest in understanding the business results of their work – that the obsession sits with the outputs of our industry, as opposed to the outcomes (surely the ultimate raison d’etre of our toil?).

I’m not necessarily in agreement with this – in the agency where I work many hours are spent debating the ultimate (financial) outcome of our work. Understanding business outcomes are part of the fabric of the place. However, I work in a media agency… not an ad agency.

So are ‘traditional’ ad agencies guilty of ignoring the hard-nosed aspects of our work? Could the average creative agency protagonist converse confidently (and persuasively) with a City CFO about the financial benefits his agency’s work is offering them? Or is it true that too many staffers tied up in creative narcissism to bother? (Personally, I’m convinced this isn’t the case, but I know others disagree).

Glamourous it ain’t, but I reckon it’s critical that every client-facing bod in the industry: from creatives & account men to account / comms planners & buyers (not just researchers and senior management) get a decent handle on what we add to client businesses and their bottom line – not just our specialist outputs.

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