I often help my clients to define their values and positioning but, like the cobbler who neglects his children, it has taken me 10 years to do the same for myself.
This is Think Hard
What you’ll get if you engage with Think Hard’s eponymous Head of Thinking is a one-to-one service.
No bag-carrying yes men.
And that’s an important point.
One of my pet hates, when I worked in the advertising industry (specifically), was the account man who held his clients in thrall.
In such a way that their advice was compromised.
‘No’ is a wee word. (But a big one.) But too many of my erstwhile colleagues preferred the Y word.
I believe that if my clients engage me they want to hear the truth; not what is convenient.
They want to hear, in the words of Al Gore, Inconvenient Truths because once they know the truth of their brand, their service, their business they can act to enhance it.
Even if they don’t like it.
I recently read an interesting article that said creativity essentially scares people. That’s because the vast majority of us are risk averse and don’t want to break out of the mould despite hiring consultants, agencies and so on to be ‘creative’ and find alternatives to their current modus.
We want to conform.
It’s a crazy irony for those of us who are engaged to help our clients non-conform because often their wishes, when dramatised on whichever creative canvas we adopt, scares the bejeezus out of them, and so it plays straight into the hands of those consultants who feed off their clients’ fear of the unknown.
Consultants (account handlers) who prefer to say ‘yes’ when ‘no’ might be the right answer, thrive on this preternatural instinct for taking cover rather than facing up to and conquering inconvenient truths.
I don’t do any of that.
It doesn’t suit me.
I prefer to share with my clients what the truth is: no matter how inconvenient.
The money bit
I consider what I charge to be a fair price. (I don’t have many disagreements over my fees.)
I could ask for more I suppose. (I know some of my ‘competitors’ do; but I do OK.)
My office is in my home. (And anyway, often I work in my clients’ offices.)
My Macbook is robust. (I don’t need to replace it often.)
I ‘repurpose’ memory sticks, Postit notes and Blutack.
I use a second-hand desk. (It suits my requirements.)
I cycle to meetings. (If they are within cycleable distance.)
There is no BMW on my drive.
I don’t speak Drucker
I very rarely read business books because I believe my experience shapes my thinking better than someone else’s jargon. (That said, I wholly recommend The Lean Start Up, Hey Whipple Squeeze This, Atul Gawandi’s mesmerising The Checklist Manifesto and anything by Paul Arden and Trotty.)
I’ve always been quick.
Why do eight research groups when you know the answer after four?
Why have a full day meeting when all it needs is an hour?
(More to the point; an hour when five minutes will suffice.)
I cannot abide the practice of ‘spinning things out’.
That further cements my ‘value proposition’.
And at the very core of it all is that scary word creativity.
The need for creativity
I can’t paint.
I can barely tap dance.
My ‘White Balance’ is poor when I take photographs.
I’ve never been published as a writer (unless you count my absorbing undergraduate paper: Structure and Biochemistry of Endosperm Breakdown in Date Palm (Phoenix Dactylifera L.) Seeds).
I’m no Dame Kiri.
But I do understand and appreciate the creative process.
Moreover, I have an ability to manage and direct it in such a way that inconvenient truths can be overcome.
Creative people, the ideas people I know and often commission, or am commissioned by, seem to agree.
And it’s they that make my bit of the equation add up so that n + n really does equal 2n+.
I am not averse to a two Martini lunch
Sometimes it’s needed.
So. Take it or leave it.