Four years ago, we wrote a document that addressed the future of the regional advertising industry. Our objective was to analyze the evolution of our business worldwide, to understand the international trends influencing marketing-communication and to project the relevance of those trends on our own markets. Once our strategy was established, we worked against the clock to ensure that we would be in the most favorable position moving forward.
The adverting industry has changed a lot and is still changing. Some aspects of the agency’s work are now carried out externally. When I started in advertising, the agency was known to be “the marketing arm” of the client. Gradually, a sizeable portion of the marketing role of the agency moved to the client. Equally, the agency had historically been responsible for the client’s media needs. With the advent of media independents (MBU’s), that role too moved out of the agency’s direct sphere of management. While from the outside, one could have the impression that we are going through a phase of disintegration of communication disciplines, the truth is quite the opposite. More than ever, clients expect their agencies to consolidate, or better – to integrate – all aspects of their brand’s communication, whether this is done within the same communication organization or through several specialists. The agency is increasingly becoming the consultant working with specialists. In other words, we are becoming a conductor working with freelance musicians. The orchestra may not necessarily be the same on each assignment, but the best musicians are hired to provide the best performance. Luckily, we regularly get “encores.” To achieve this end, we have to develop people with “procrealligence” as a built-in attitude in them – someone who can naturally project the three integral values: pro-activity, creativity and intelligence. We didn’t just pull the three words – pro-activity, creativity and intelligence – out of a hat. They were the result of extensive research and brainstorming. We asked ourselves what our clients truly want and realized how much these three words count in our daily professional lives. And on that basis, we developed “procrealligence” as our credo, our working method and the indispensable qualifier we – our people and our work – will reflect. You must remember that in the ad business, our aim is to deliver one message, a powerful single-minded idea – not two or three or four. For us, less is more. A single word capable of encapsulating all what we stand for did not exist. So, we created it: “procrealligence.” It may be difficult to pronounce, but it is ours and only ours. And we do not mind a bit of controversy as long as it is meant to improve our output and ourselves.
You may ask, is it the responsibility of the corporate world to instill this (procrealligence) culture in our people? Surely the family, school or civil society must play a role. Then you might ask, can people be shaped to adopt this philosophy? My answer is that there are people who can do this quite naturally, others who can be trained to adopt it and those who simply can’t endorse it. Ultimately, those in the last group will probably feel more comfortable elsewhere. As for those in the second category, we are committed to do everything to instill procrealligence in them. Obviously, those who are naturally procrealligent will find the most suitable environment in Impact/BBDO. If they are already with us, we’ll make sure they stay. If they’re elsewhere, we’d like to meet them.
I tell our people: you have to adopt procrealligence fast if you want to be part of us. I am very frank – our organization is now totally guided by this philosophy. The essence of our business is people – and at Impact/BBDO there can only be procrealligent people.
This vitality (or pro-activity) seems to be lacking in modern Middle East corporate culture; we hear it from clients all the time. People like to play it safe. They want all the advantages of the corporate world, but won’t take any risk when they need to. Pro-activity is the essence of the most successful companies and the lack of it is often the kiss of death for others. Examples of dinosaur-corporations abound. Ultimately, they run out of fuel.