Archive for July, 2013

What I see in Publicis Omnicom

swallowed by a large fish

A few people have asked my opinion on the big Publicis Ominicom merger news from this past weekend. There has been plenty of reaction, and a lot of smart thinking about the deal has been published in outlets ranging from Richard Edelman’s blog to PRWEEK to the Economist. My reaction is that of a small business owner who vies with these giants.

I can’t help but see choppiness in the waters ahead, from client conflicts to employee churn to PR playing second fiddle for many brands under the merged company’s umbrella.

Read the full exploration of these rough waters in my post on the SHIFT Communications blog »

Underpromise, Overdeliver

It is often the “little things” that can make or break you.

One of the tenets we try to teach at SHIFT is “Underpromise, Overdeliver.”  There is nothing more frustrating to a client than expecting the moon, because they’ve been told to expect the moon … but getting a slice of green cheese, instead.  Far better for the client to be sold on the moon-like benefits of a green cheese slice … but then being handed the actual g-dmn moon!

This principle applies to all parts of life. For example, our house in California has been empty for a good, long while. We had the genius idea to have the place remodeled while we were still living in Boston.  “We’ll move back to our dream home!”  The contractor agreed time-and-again, all along the way, that he’d be all finished up in time… Fast forward to today: we are still a couple of weeks out from completion. Now, despite the fact that we love all the work that’s been done, we’re still upset. Every subcontractor that walks in the door is a reminder that he shoulda been done with XYZ project weeks ago; why is he still here, why is any one of ‘em still here, still not done?

I won’t bore you with the details of the situation or how we’re handling it… it just occurred to me that “I would never run my business this way,” which led me to remember that we quite specifically talk about this “Underpromise, Overdeliver” concept in our training at the agency.  That is not to say that there are never disappointments, or that sometimes we don’t get overeager about an idea that ultimately doesn’t zing like we’d hoped. It just means we try to plan for failure, to adjust for it, and to make up for it when possible.  The goal is “surprise and delight” vs. “overpromise and underdeliver.”

The gulf between a “wow” and a “sigh” is not easily bridged.

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