Ogilvy & Mather is one of the oldest and most successful agencies in the history of advertising. And David Ogilvy was considered a pioneer in the ad business for many years. But perhaps Ogilvy's biggest success has been in their ability to keep long-term relationships running. IBM and American Express (to my knowledge) each have been with Ogilvy for over twenty years. Their success is due to the relationships they have created with these companies.
In today's business world the modern CEO lasts an average of under three years at a given company. Today, the stakes are high and the demand for progress and profit is even higher. And to a lot of us the reality of having a short relationship with a national brand seems frankly inevitable. It's what the industry, analysts and trend reporters are saying will happen. And to most new business people and the rest of us this seems like a true reality.
So what does this so called 'reality' do to our agencies? It makes us start to focus solely on profit—instead of the breakthroughs. The resulting behavior produces safe (aka. average) work.
Recently, a very well-known agency founder and creative director said to me, "When we pitch to win the business—we do great work, but when we work to solely keep the business—we do average work. And that's a bad position to be in."
Ask yourself this: Am I pitching great ideas that will actually build or change your client's business or simply selling more work that will retain it? Smart brand managers can see the difference between the two. So my advice to you (the idea) is to pitch everyday like you mean it—like you own a part of your client's brand or business.
Taking this type of action could just be the difference between a 1-year deal versus a 20-year relationship.