I just caught a snippet of video featuring B. Bonin Bough VP of Mondelez International. The video segment was a promo for Advertising Age, but that isn’t what was important to me. The video was a “kick in the pants moment.”.
Mr. Bough touched on the idea of confidence and affirmation. He said a person has to remember to be their own cheerleader. For me, that means acknowledging how good I am at some facet of what I am doing in the ad profession. The more you put yourself in the conversation, the greater the likelihood someone will check you out. It’s not bragging, but trying to gain an advantage. From self-affirmation, business relationships flow.
No matter the size of the agency, we should be of notoriety, the good kind. No one will knows or care if we labor in obscurity.
I remember something that continues to rankle me about the disappointment of relying on a former staff member to sit down with me and create a couple of spec ads an a short video for a presentation. It never got done. She was being paid, but she had to be approached like she was Queen Elizabeth or ‘Jenny from the Block’ — keep your eyes averted or she’ll throw chewing gum at you. So, I went to the meeting as prepared as possible. I had some good research on the company and its target, and a few visuals in the briefcase. We were up against a slick nimble group, and I suppose its best to say our lack of materials got us blown out of the water. I did something that ran contrary to who I am — I apologized for the shortcomings of my agency. As it so happens, there were a couple websites we’d done (with some damn terrific copy, I might ad) that the client glanced at.
Here’s the teachable moment. Later, the VP of the client company sensed my depression. He walked me back over what we’d done and failed to do. This guy was pretty “old school” and from New Yawk. He said, in essence, Jenny needed to take her butt to another block. Don’t allow people to pull me down, he emphasized. If I need a pat on the back, I have long, flexible arms and can do it. God knows that co-worker didn’t exalt our company in the least. I called Jenny in and told her that she was free to seek opportunities elsewhere.
Mr. Bough’s little cameo for Ad Age reminded me or two things: Its okay to be your own critic. However, my greater virtue is that given a chance to get in the room (That’s a Draperism) I can pitch an idea real well. After the backslapping done, the true measure of what I do, is the ability to capitalize on whatever opportunity I attain.
Catch you later,
Bernard Alexander McNealy