I’m a Bit Bothered Right Now (or)
De rerum natura
In English, that’s On the Nature of Things. This is the title of a 1st century BC epic poem written by the Roman poet and philosopher, Lucretius. It is said he felt compelled to explain Epicurean philosophy to a bunch of Romans (JWoww, Paulie D, Snookie, Da- Sit-ye-way-Shun and Fat Tony.) Looking past his verbal sewer carpet, Lucretius was simply saying what things are, and what they are not.
Enough of my stumbling down the memory lane of my college literature class. For me, de rerum natura is that I’m bothered right now. I really am.
Here’s what is bothering me. I own a small public relations and advertising agency in Los Angeles (actually we’re in the cement swamp of Van Nuys). Recently I conducted an audit of my agency and discovered that we had a number of viable clients that had become lost on our rolls. Heck good golly gosh, these are billables. Billable should make an agency president happy – normally. But, I’m bothered by it.
The audit’s results speak to an agency remaining diligent and aware of its customers needs, goals and to never lose sight of either. It’s not that we did either – campaigns had been completed – the clients needed a bit more guidance. The fact the audit surprised me suggested that we weren’t paying attention. I don’t like surprises.
The late great, eternally wise David Ogilvy advocated that agency management should recognize that surrounding itself with smart people makes the agency better. However, often people need to be challenged and excellence forced out of them. That’s how an agency becomes stronger. A strong agency takes chances, translating into better, more creative work.
Honestly, our personnel found it easier to forgo challenging themselves. But, you know what? The failure to motivate originates and ends at my desk.
Don’t get me wrong. The work was done for those clients very professionally. Yet, I should have taken the opportunity to push an excellent group of creatives beyond their comfort zone. Worse, I hunkered down and let things run themselves. The fact this happened, bothers me.
We can and will do better. That, my friends is de rerum natura.
Bernard A. McNealy, President
Carson Dunn Media