5 Questions for: Peter Mitchell, President of SFW

Peter Mitchell, President, SFW

What’s the biggest challenge or opportunity facing the ad industry right now?

We all say we get it, but the ad industry needs to stop being in the ad industry and obsessed with what we do, and instead get into the impact industry and focus on how we can positively influence our customers’ business.

What is the single most significant change you need to make in your agency in the next 12 months?

Encourage everyone who works for us to break the old ad agency rules and seek better ways to help our client’s brands win.

What products/services/unique skills do ad agencies offer that guarantee the industry’s survival for another 100 years?

Today the path-to-purchase is no longer linear—we buy brands in stores, online and over the phone. It’s a daunting challenge that marketers can’t solve by themselves. The agencies that survive will not only have the ability to convince their clients of what’s possible for their brands, but those agencies will also have a clear, exciting and measurable approach for getting them there.

What attributes do you look for in your next generation of leaders/managers?

We look for creativity and drive in people who do not have typical agency backgrounds. Have you worked at a start up? Can you manage a P&L? Do you understand your own personal brand? Are you curious about why people buy? Can you tell a story? Can you fix things within a team environment? These are the kinds of people who can help our clients win.

If you weren’t working in advertising, what would you be doing as a career?

My business partner and I teach marketing and brand management at the collegiate level. We love sharing our personal experiences and learning new things from our students that make their way back to our agency. So, teaching would be a great next career. Or working in a bakery. I love bakeries.