As owner of two agencies, I was excited to hear that the Ad Age Small Agency Conference would be heading to our hometown of Portland this summer. As a contributor to iMedia Connection, I was even more excited about the opportunity to live blog from the conference. Here’s a recap of my blog posts from the inspirational conference.
The Small Agency Conference kicked off with the Executive Vice President of Marketing for the NHL, Brian Jennings. How does an organization deal with and rebound from a shutdown? Accepting the blame and owning the issue along with direct communications and contingency planning helped the NHL weather the lockout. This was followed by key messaging of the return of hockey in January with a Hockey is Back video.
You can’t win every agency pitch, so the question is what do you do following a losing pitch? Laurie Coots presented her idea of completing post mortems on agency pitches to analyze data and identify patterns in pitches. By determining key attributes, messages and strategies that give you agency the edge, you can optimize future pitches.
Portland-based Umpqua Bank shared the strategy behind its stellar growth over the past 15 to 20 years. Umpqua realized that banks sell products and services just like a retail store, though banks historically have done this poorly. From this insight they focused on two core principles: creating a unique delivery system and building a culture around service and innovation.
Coffee is now the most traded commodity in the world (surpassing oil this year). Stumptown Coffee differentiates itself as a lifestyle, cultural movement and rebel in the coffee industry. A quality product and passion for coffee has fueled the brand’s identity and culture.
Debra Giampoli of Mondelez International urged agencies not to apologize for being small and shared three secrets for winning big business.
1) Tell a story that highlights what makes your small agency unique.
2) Great work is every agencies best calling card and expectations are higher for small agencies.
3) Establishing a cultural fit with clients is key.
Questions or comments about my experience at the Ad Age Small Agency Conference? Connect with me on Twitter at @kentjlewis.