A few years back, I received an inquiry from a large company – one that’s advertised in the Super Bowl.
They wanted me to…
- Facilitate a 3-hour brainstorm with 30 members of their marketing & creative staff.
- Deliver “multiple big-idea, award-worthy creative directions” (plus 3 other “key” objectives).
- Lead the session one week from the date of inquiry.
- Do this for $3,000, all-in.
Re-read those four bullets & count the red flags. (I count six.)
But one flag looms largest:
If this is as important as you say, why haven’t you allocated the proper resources?
In other words:
Do you truly believe the path you’ve chosen will get the results you want?
This client inquiry reflects a certain kind of leadership style. Maybe you’ve worked for a boss like this. “If I ask for the sun, the moon & the stars,” the thinking seems to be, “then even if we fall short, we’ll get somewhere.”
Except that’s not true.
If we set outsized objectives while ignoring our limited resources, we’re likely to spin our wheels but get nowhere. We’re likely to focus on many things instead of important things. We’re likely to burn out our staff. We’re likely to fail.
Brand leaders, remember:
- Doing a few things well > doing many things at parity.
- If you don’t have the resources to do something well, don’t do it.
- If everything is a priority, then nothing is.
P.S. I didn’t take the gig.
About Matthew Fenton: Matthew is a former CMO who helps brands to focus, grow and win. Since founding his consultancy, Three Deuce Branding, in 1997, he’s helped hundreds of brands to achieve “brand clarity.” His consulting services and speaking engagements help brands to focus on what matters through positioning, strategy and ideation. Contact Matthew here. He’s based in Chicago.
Copyright 2020 – Matthew Fenton. All Rights Reserved. You may reprint this article with the original, unedited text intact, including the About Matthew Fenton section.