Insights

It’s getting better all the time….

It’s exactly 50 years since The Beatles produced Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (SPLHCB). The album was ground-breaking. It was an immediate success enjoying 27 weeks at the top of the charts in the UK and 15 weeks in the US charts. It has been described as “the most important and influential album of all time”* (If you haven’t heard the album go and listen to it)

So what’s Sgt. Pepper got to do with business, your business, your agency? Paul McCartney sang “It’s getting better all the time” while John Lennon replied “Can’t get no worse”. What’s your perspective? The optimist or the pessimist? We can talk ourselves into doom and gloom or talk ourselves up and be buoyant about the future. Business is tough but at the same time I’m meeting agencies which are growing at phenomenal rates consistently whilst there are other agencies scratching their heads wondering what happened!

Is ‘it’ getting better or worse? I think to a great extent this is in your head. Your mindset is critical. Some agencies are doing really well in terms of growth and profitability while other are stuck at the bottom. There are completely different strategies being employed by the winning and losing agencies. If we spend too long looking backwards it is easy to miss the opportunities. We have to adapt and re-invent. The Beatles were brilliant at re-inventing – often in response to competitors. (Sgt. Pepper was partly in response to the emergence of the Beach Boys. And Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys was then in response to Sgt. Pepper!) How prepared are you to let go of what you’ve been doing? Are you raising your game ahead of your competitors and stepping out of your comfort zone?

“Hiding me head in the sand” – another great line from SPLHCB. Too often I come across agency heads ironically with their heads in the sand. I’ve met some agencies which have a client accounting for 40-50%** of their revenue and when I challenge them it is too high their response is “We’ve had this client for 10 years” as if that somehow means they will keep the client for another ten years. Clients are changing, customers are changing. Tomorrow will not be like today. Hoping you retain that client which accounts for 40-50% of your revenue is not a strategy, well not for a real business.

“Filling me up with your rules” – another great line from SPLHCB. Break the rules. Play by your rules. Do things differently. Is it easy to do things differently? No, but it beats looking identical to every other business in your sector or discipline.

How will your business be “Getting better all the time?”

*Oxford Encyclopaedia of British Literature

**I met one agency where their biggest client is 75% of the revenue. That’s bordering on insanity.

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