Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The four types.

Many years ago, a Duke University historian, James David Barber wrote a book called "The Presidential Character" in which he categorized America's presidents into one of four groupings.

These were "Active-Positive," "Passive-Positive," "Active-Negative" and "Passive-Negative." Without getting political here, this is (roughly, I read the book almost forty years ago) what Barber meant by these classifications.

Active-Positive described a high-energy president who did generally good things.
Passive-Positive was a dilatory leader who did generally good things.
Active-Negative was a high-energy president who did generally bad things.
Passive-Negative described a malevolent lazybones.

You get the idea.

It occurred to me tonight that both clients and agencies can be sorted in much the same manner.

Active-Positive agencies want clients that want to take over the world--who want to do big great things and they want to do big great things for and with them.

Passive-Positive agencies wait for orders then do superior work.

Active-Negative agencies do big work for clients that tends to be strident and shrill.

Passive-Negative agencies do little and little that gets noticed.

Sure this is subjective, which agency fits into which category. But for me, there's value in thinking about the kind of clients you work for and the kind of agency.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ad agencies are lead by people who rule by fear. Creative Directors demand that you do as you are told or you will be fired. Such leadership is more akin to a despot than what you allude to here.