Saturday, September 26, 2009

"I could talk about this stuff for hours."

When you get disillusioned about the future of America and the vitality of capitalism, it ain't a bad idea to head down to your nearby Apple store. I am in the Fifth Avenue store right now amid a throng that's livelier than one of Lady Astor's old cocktail parties. Many of the sales help are wearing turquoise tee-shirts with "I could talk about this stuff for hours" emblazoned on the front.

Those words seem to me that they could serve as a mantra for how to create, staff and maintain a business. If your workers aren't passionate about the brand or brands they're selling, you're doing something wrong.

Of course it occurs to me that except for a few agencies, I'll bet there are only a handful where the employees are well-versed with their agency's work, their accounts and their agency's approach to creating and producing work. In other words, where the workers can actually sell the agency.

In other words, they can't talk about this stuff for hours. Which is a sad state of affairs when you consider how many hours we spend at our agencies. And probably means that a business primarily concerned with created and/or propagating brands has not as yet created and propagated their own.

Now and somewhat as an aside, I think it's important to point out that there is a vast difference between a brand and branding. Branding, more often than not, is the last bastion of well-designed fools. Superficial consistency of elements that convey no meaning. The agency at which I am currently toiling has a fabulous-looking brand. The colors are oh-so contemporary, and I love the way the logo butts up to the top of the page. But as for what they stand for? Who they are? What their beliefs are?

Yeeesh. The cobbler's children have no shoes.


Susan Ellis said...

...and if your workers aren't as passionate about your business as you are, then they shouldn't be there.
Good post!

Kelly said...


You know this begs the question: Did you buy a Mac to replace your aging behemoth??

Great post. On a subject, ironically, about which I could talk for hours. Can buy in to the philosophy if you don't know what that is. Mmhm.



geo said...

Hi, Kelly,

No Mac for me yet. My 3-year-old Sony is still ticking.

Soon tho.


Teenie said...

It's like the difference between a paid soldier and a volunteer.

Plus I think too many people are more passionate about themselves and their place in an agency than they are about the work they're creating for their clients.