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Ms. Lorraine Stewart Rojek

The Importance of Agency Culture in Tough Times: An Invitation and Question for Agencies

It’s a simple theory that we have held fast to for some time, or some might say even originated within the industry: the notion that the cultural compatibility between client and agency is the greatest indicator of teaming and relationship success. In our agency search consulting practice, we take the organizational culture of the client into consideration when helping it find agencies to meet its needs. My daughter jokingly refers to Rojek Consulting as the “eHarmony of the Ad Business.” I suppose it is the short answer to the kitchen table question from kids, “what is it that you actually do, Mom?”
In any event, we want to learn more. We recently launched an agency culture study in collaboration with the 4A’s, for the benefit of its members. Data collection is through our Web site. The purpose of this blog, however, is to invite your feedback as to what might be the highest value to you – the agency community – on the subject of corporate culture within the advertising industry. The link to the study on our site is at the end of the post should you just want to cut to the chase, or pen a response.
In the meantime, I’d like to share why, even in depressed economic times, this subject is worthy of your attention:
1) Articulating one’s organizational culture is a source of competitive advantage. How an agency is positioned vis-à-vis its competitive set – with a clear communication of its value proposition – is essential when communicating with prospective clients who seek to know what makes any one agency different from others, and what it might be like to work with them.
2) Agency leaders should articulate an agency culture and value system for the benefit of agency employees because it is essential for agency credibility and reputation management. “Culture” is part of the promise that an agency makes to its clients. If the culture is not clearly understood internally, the agency employees will not be able to fulfill that promise.
3) Creating a dialogue on the alignment of value systems between client personnel and agency talent is a critical factor in team building. It helps set expectations, establish norms and protocols, avoid problems, resolve conflicts and generally help people know how best to work together.
4) Agencies should evaluate prospective clients and new business opportunities through a cultural lens, being careful to work with clients who value what they are all about, with shared understanding of important values like innovation or risk taking and the behaviors that apply to them.
The simple truth is that people seek comfort and find solace in their harmonious relationships with others when the world at large seems brutal. Conversely, people are incrementally stressed by relationships that do not work.
We are happy to partner with the American Association of Advertising Agencies on a new Agency Culture Study, the findings of which will further illuminate understanding of business practices regarding agency culture.
To participate in the Agency Culture study log onto:
If you want to dialogue on what would be important to explore or learn about the topic, we are all ears.
Thanks in advance for your response!

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Culture Counts

Lorraine's comments on culture are spot on--If there is a cultural clash between the agency and the client the relationship can not survive
Posted by Mr. Thomas Finneran (Saturday, March 21, 2009 10:06 AM)

Thank you

Many agencies have signed on to our site to participate; the response and feedback validates both the agency community interest and the importance of the topic.. thank you. Lorraine
Posted by Ms. Lorraine Stewart Rojek (Thursday, April 09, 2009 1:51 PM)

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