In virtually every industry, there is a clear differentiation in the type of work expectation and cost implication between high-value strategic thinkers and the volume-dependent execution specialists.
Let’s consider the differences between an architect and a mason.
The architect and the mason come with their own knowledge & skill sets. The mason is expected to follow the rules – but the architect is expected to experiment within the bounds of safety and function. And clients are usually smart enough to understand and appreciate that while the mason makes a building, the architect aims to create a landmark!
An architect is brought in when appropriate time and resources are available – and the potential returns (tangible and intangible) are proportionately significant. Like the design of a large and prestigious public building.
Or an architect may be brought in when the assignment has complex limitations – and only a clever architect could actually maximise the impact by working around the shortcomings. Like a millionaire’s pad in Manhattan where floor space is a stubborn constraint.
Most structures need a mason to build it – but not all structures need Frank Gehry to design it.
Here’s my postulation… In Advertising, there are genuine creative thinkers and really good execution specialists. Judging based on designation would be terribly misleading – but judging by the result of individual work should reveal who’s writing, desiging or servicing - and who’s building brands.
You will find that while the execution specialist is busy churning out prodigious quantities of ads, brochures, posters, flyers, rollups, backdrops and PowerPoint slides… the creative thinker is quietly working on an idea to make the brand stand out like a dramatic landmark against an otherwise dreary advertising skyline.
One keeps the agency bean-counters happy. The other gets frantic calls about a client’s looming travel plan.
It's often called the world's second oldest profession.
But while the scope of the oldest one has changed little over time, the evolution in the way we communicate has had profound impact on Advertising.
In the ancient and medieval world, Advertising meant word-of-mouth. In the 1500s with the development of printing it became a 'paid public notice', disseminating the message to many. And it had Copy & Art.
Then came radio, TV, computer, cable TV, Internet, mobile phones, Internet on mobile, and it's still not done... Even what we perceive as 'change' is changing. Continuously.
So what is Advertising today?
Honestly, I don't know.
But I do know from a dozen years evolving with the business, that Advertising is most valued when it can make a tangible difference for the advertiser.
That has not changed. And probably won't.
UPDATE: Nothing's changed. But in a way, everything has. As you see, my focus has shifted - evolved in a way - to a larger canvas. The shift or evolution was gradual, and may be have been discernable to the more observant reader.
While I was delving into the influence of media in society to better understand how perceptions are created, evolved and disseminated, I chanced upon a thread of knowledge that I frankly never knew existed.
My conclusion is that a deep pool of awareness and consciouness exists beyond the shallow narcissistic boundaries created by the convention view of social media and the Internet.
My aim is to send my readers down any path that can lead to this quenching pool.