Gmail is aware.
Gmail puts itself in my position.
Gmail doesn’t want me to look bad.
Gmail wants me to look good.
Gmail has got my back.
Gmail is technically a *client*.
But Gmail is acting like my agent.
We can all learn from Gmail.
Agencies work for clients on two levels.
Our clients are brands.
And our clients are people.
Our job is to make things happen for them and to make them look good.
Them as brands.
Them as people.
That’s what agents do.
Literary agents, actors’ agents, footballers’ agents, photographers’ agents, advertising agents.
Making things happen.
Making clients look good.
But if you’re a footballer’s agent the distinction between client as brand and client as person is meaningless. They are one and the same thing.
Not so in advertising.
And, by and large, we’re better agents for client brands than we are for client people.
Agencies are good at seeing the best in brands.
We take pride in making them look good.
But perversely we’re pretty bad at seeing the best in people.
We waste a lot of time talking them down.
It’s as though making them look good is infra dig.
Do we think they can’t tell?
Do we think it doesn’t matter?
Because it does.
I used to be an account director.
With the benefit of two decades of hindsight I define the job of an account director as “creating conducive environments”.
Creating environments within the agency that are conducive to the origination of good work.
Creating environments with the client that are conducive to good work being approved and made.
You can’t do either of these things effectively unless you care as much about the client people as you do about the client brand.
Agencies create better work when they believe that better work will be bought.
Clients buy better work when they believe in the agency’s definition of better.
Agencies create work for brands.
Clients buy work from people.
Clients listen to people who listen to them.
Clients care about the opinions of people who care about them.
Clients go out on a limb for good work by people whose motives they trust.
Clients cut slack to people who’ve got their backs.
It’s not difficult for Gmail to stop me sending an email without an attachment.
Nor is it difficult to make clients’ lives easier and help them look good.
You just need to be aware.
And you just need to care.