Thursday, 27 November 2014

Peter Mead – When in doubt be nice. 2014

“if we always followed the objectives of doing great work and looking after the people who worked for us than there was a real opportunity to create a business which would endure and prosper.” (Mead, 2014, p.5).

In my view people these days are thrashing around desperately looking for things to subscribe to with their emotions. (…) This paucity of things to bind us together is also the reason why football, for instance, plays such an important part in many people’s lives.” (Mead, 2014, p.7). “If we create a set of principles and beliefs that the people who work for us can subscribe to then the benefit to be reaped is enormous.” (Mead, 2014, p.9).

“It is a fact that we allow individuals to get away with reprehensible behaviour during office hours. I believe the same rules that apply to being a good father at home should relate to being a good boss during the day.” (Mead, 2014, p.34). “Very simply, most of the time fear doesn’t motivate, it paralyzes.” (Mead, 2014, p.24). “I thought running a people business like ours was really simple because it was about capturing an unfair share of people’s heads and hearts. (…) if the people in your company are spending 50% of their time feeling worried about their future, politicking or being psychologically bullied then the other 50% of their time is all the productivity you can expect.” (Mead, 2014, p.41). “Never be a shouter: When people make a mistake they know they’ve made a mistake. When they have to face their boss and discuss the consequences of that mistake they are already embarrassed and sorry. (…) We have to assume that they didn’t want to make the mistake and so by definition it was an accident. If the understanding of that is not there and the person who made the mistake is shouted at and demeaned then the guilt and absolute desire never to repeat the mistake is replaced by anger.” (Mead, 2014, p.57).

“Every year just before Christmas we had a party for everybody’s families. The first year this took play it was my turn to dress up as Father Christmas. I was to make a dramatic entrance into the atrium on the ground floor using the glass wall climber lift. Shortly before my descent, David and I stood on the sixth floor peering down at the excited faces of the wanting kids. David said quietly that if ever we thought about playing ducks and drakes with people’s lives we should remind ourselves of those children gazing expectantly up at us. Those were innocent lives we had no right to disturb. During our time as an independent agency we never declared anybody redundant.” (Mead, 2014, p.87). “Every company should devote a small budget and a couple of really concerned people to the simple job of making people feel better.” (Mead, 2014, p.45). “It’s always been my practice to pass on nice things that a third party has said to me about somebody we both know.” (Mead, 2014, p.71). “We were all incredibly fond of one another which allowed each of us the freedom to criticise and bitch about the others, because we knew that the ‘Umbrella of Affection’ was inviolate.” (Mead, 2014, p.33).

And these conviction don’t cost you money or make things complicated. On the contrary:  “The truth is if you have convictions, both in the personal and business sense, then those convictions will probably account for 75% of any decision you’re likely to make. That way you’re only exercising judgement over 25% of any decision you take. So the expression is wrong, it should be called the comfort of your conviction.” (Mead, 2014, p.22).

’Creativity is one of the last remaining legal ways of gaining an unfair advantage over your competition.’” (Mead quoting Ed McCabe, 2014, p.50). “Claude Hopkins, Bill Bernbach and David Ogilvy all produced advertising with ideas. They built bridges between products and users, but beneath the wit charm and friendliness of their ads were always solid foundations.” (Mead quoting Abbott, 2014, p.186b). “When the advertising and communication business is working at its very best it creates for the products or services it represents the golden state of the benefit of the doubt.” (Mead, 2014, p.98). At DDB “It was made quite clear from day one that the role of the account managers at the agency was to handle clients with one aim in mind - to sell the output of the creative department.” (Mead, 2014, p.231). “The creative people were the geese that laid the golden eggs, the rest of us were around to build a nest and make sure that those eggs hatched.” (Mead, 2014, p.231).

“a fundamental change in the relationship between agency and client from that of a trusted business adviser to a supplier of a relatively essential commodity. As an industry, we have failed to affirm the value of the great creative idea.” (Mead, 2014, p.326). “we should get to a situation where we can command a premium price for the very best.” (Mead, 2014, p.328). “Sure, the Guinness Surfers commercial could have been made for less money by cutting out some of the special post-production effects. But that saving would have reduced the efficacy of the commercial and turned it into just another piece of film.” (Mead, 2014, p.329). “It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much you lose a little – that’s all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything because the thing youbought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. (…) If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.” (Mead, 2014, p.83).

“Affection and nostaligia make great marketing weapons: (…) 5% of any new products become winners. (…) There was a great deal of latent affection for this particular product because people remembered it fondly from their youth. (…) There are literally hundreds of products gathering dust that could be reintroduced and bring about the twin rewards of joy and profit. Old product development should be treated with equal importance as new product development.” (Mead, 2014, p.73).

“We took the view that we should treat the City in the same way as we behaved towards our biggest clients in that we should develop a relationship with our major shareholders, give them no unpleasant surprises, make sure that they were fully informed and talk to them often.” (Mead, 2014, p.80).

“I worry that we have lost the ability to create great relationships with our clients. These relationships are at the heart of our ability to persuade our client base to trust us in our assessment of what’s needed in creative terms to solve problems and create whole new markets.” (Mead, 2014, p.329).

“The great agencies that sprang up, with DDB leading the way, didn’t just change the way advertising was used but actually helped create fundamental societal movements.” (Mead, 2014, p.330).

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