Over service at your peril | Brand Republic Feature

AUK News
AUK Service Agency

I’ve heard that in the light of cutbacks and freezes, governmental bodies are pressurising agencies to do free work on campaigns.

How ridiculous.

There’s austerity and there’s downright blackmail. You can see how the conversations take place:

“Well we will be spending at some point in the future and we have an obligation. You know if you help us today it’ll stand you in good stead for the future.”

No I’m sorry it won’t. And it’s not just the public sector that’s doing it.

Yes the recession is biting. But that shouldn’t give clients license to try and hammer our prices to a ridiculous level. All on the basis that we should do it to maintain ‘the great working relationship’. And of course if you don’t, they might ‘go to a more cost effective supplier for this project’.

That’s not a relationship.

It’s more like the sword of Damocles hanging over the head of account management. And then it turns into a big fat club that hits the creative department. And that’s never good for morale, the desire to do a great job or profit margins.

What are we supposed to do as an industry?

The Roman Army’s Tortoise Defence. springs to mind. Everyone huddle tight, pull up the shields and stay impregnable. But all it takes is one to break ranks and the whole lot comes tumbling down.

I don’t think our industry is necessarily known for sticking together.

But we really need to stand firm. Because when we do come out of this dip, the damage will be done. By that time our ideas and strategies will have become over-commoditised.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t be flexible.

The key is don’t get caught in the trap of building a Ferrari for the price of a Mini. Because once you’ve given it away, it’s gone forever and it will nigh on impossible to claw back that original margin.

I genuinely feel that the manner in which our industry handles the coming period is going to be crucial for its future standing. This recession could leave us struggling to claw back our margins and perceived value if not handled effectively.

Or am I just being a real pessimist? What do you think?