Since 2022 marked the 20th anniversary of Springboard, it’s especially meaningful to a year in review (and past two decades) and to plan ahead for the next several. Billy Joel’s lyrics in “Piano Man” have special significance as I start my fifth decade in this business. “When I wore a younger man’s clothes” makes me think of all that has happened and changed in the branding business – and my life – since my career first started. I am winding down a bit, but I’m still fired up. It is still possible to influence people with strong strategy, big ideas and pinpoint messaging.
What hasn’t changed in the year in review . . .
What hasn’t changed in the year in review is the unique opportunity to work with great clients that truly want to make a better world. Whether it’s saving a life with new healthcare technology or improving the quality of life with a welcoming community, I’ve been fortunate to work with organizations that really do make a difference. This is exactly what I set out to do early in my career. I am proud to report that our work has touched and influenced many people.
What also hasn’t changed is the need for creative collaboration and the “big idea.” Advertising in the “Mad Men” era relied on epic brainstorm sessions fueled by smokes and a good pour. While these stimulants are rarely found inside today’s branding and communications agencies, the ghosts of David Ogilvy and Leo Burnett still clamor for marketing professionals to push themselves to develop a strong strategy and then execute it with a relevant, entertaining and memorable execution.
What has changed in the year in review. . .
What is changing is the way these ideas are being brought to life! Both from a production and media standpoint. Phone cameras have (almost) replaced expensive technology that captures both still and video images. And digital media have (almost) replaced expensive publications and broadcast channels which reach mass audiences. While I won’t flatter myself by acknowledging how much I know about the digital space. However, I have advanced my intake and knowledge on the new media. Today’s brands are integrating across multiple channels. Platforms, media, and marketers need to land on all new surfaces.
What is changing is how and where we work. Blame, or credit, the pandemic, the workplace of only a decade ago is now extinct. Personally, I don’t mind not jumping on a plane every week and staying at a “make your own waffle in the morning” hotel chain. And I like working from home on those days where our office encourages it. We are a hybrid model, so the week is made up of commutes walking downstairs to my home office or a ride to our office in Arlington Heights. I’m certain I (and my kids and grandkids) will not see the 9-5, five days a week office schedule again.
Looking ahead . . .
Looking ahead to the new year, marketers are greeting new opportunities and challenges. The C-Suite will be more demanding than ever before and marketers will need to prove their trust and worth by delivering growth and revenue, not just awareness and preference. Consumers will continue to be bombarded with thousands of messages each day and super choosy on those in which they interact. I believe our “heartbeat” (versus chest beat) mantra continues to win people over and is more meaningful than a bunch of big words and self-aggrandizing phrases being thrown at them.
Employees will have a strong need to understand your mission and their position. Younger people, especially, want to work for organizations that make a difference in the world and have a corporate responsibility backbone. They’ll also want to be in a position that contributes to that and helps them grow within the company. It’s hard enough to recruit these days, so understanding what your “customers” want is an important reality.
From my home (office) to yours, I truly wish you a happy, healthy holiday and new year. Have an open-mind and be helpful. Learn and grow. Have fun. Be thankful. I know I am for those with whom I’ve collaborated with for two scores (right, Lincoln?) and still go for the homerun with every at bat.
Peace and good wishes,