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There’s a fine line between healthy cynicism and bonfire pissing.

And it’s a fine line that the experienced creative industry practitioner has to tread carefully. Especially when she or he is dealing with the fresh-faced envangelism of a young, thrusting brand manager.

Marketing can be a ridiculously up itself business sometimes. And a sense of perspective born of experience is usually a good thing.

But one man’s sense of perspective is another man’s pissed-on bonfire.

Young, thrusting brand managers don’t do healthy cynicism.

By and large young, thrusting brand managers are not rewarded for health cynicism.

Quite the opposite in fact.

The young, thrusting brand manager’s brand IS the best thing since sliced bread.

(It fucking well is, ok?)

(OK?)

Your average young, thrusting brand manager is incredibly sensitive to the tiniest slight, real or imagined, on their brand.

In the eyes of a young, thrusting brand manager, if you’re not 100% with the brand you’re 100% against the brand.

The world of the young, thrusting brand manager is one of extreme black and white contrast.

They don’t do grey areas.

Which could be tiresome before the world went social.

(Tiresome to the extent that you’d occasionally have to play some silly bugger political games to ensure that a sense of perspective informed strategy and execution through the back door even if the brand manager were blocking the front.)

But now it’s a pretty big problem.

Put another way, if brands talk about themselves in social spaces in the way that brand managers talk about them there will be lots of Facebook-induced corporate nose bleeds.

All the things that are counter-intuitive to the young, thrusting brand manager are exactly all the things that make brands more human in social spaces.

  • Humility.
  • A sense of perspective.
  • Self-awareness.
  • The ability to say sorry.
  • (And mean it.)
  • Preparedness to accept that the competition can occasionally do something right.
  • Self-deprecation.

There needs to be a radical mutation of the brand management genetic code in order for the profession to evolve quickly enough to deal with the demands of social spaces.

Of course, and in the interests of perspective and healthy cyncism, I’m not saying that agencies are immune to the young, thrusting, anti-social mentality.

There are plenty of people in our world who have had the full frontal healthy cynicism lobotomy.

It’s no wonder that, as we’ve seen recently, agencies are just as prone to howling social media faux pas as our client-side counterparts…

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