I was lucky enough to be invited to a client conference last week.
I'll admit it was fun, late night drinking, bungee jumping, shooting and so on.
But there was some serious business too. Seriously great performance to share, even more serious objectives and challenges.
Most of that came from, and would continue to come from a stroke of luck with in-costs, brilliant productivity and canny distribution and innovative NPD.
Not brand equity, not advertising. Hard business.
I'm not devaluing what we do by the way, but it's very sobering to be reminded of the real role of 'brand' and 'advertising'. It's one of many, many fundamental pillars of business growth.
I was humbly reminded what we do is about 10% of what clients actually do. No wonder they don't always answer the phone, get excited about the Polish cinema reference in the TV ad or go bananas on making that nice to have Snapchat thingy go live. They've other stuff on.
That's right, our stuff is not the be all and end all, it's a tenth of it at best. Clients do all sorts of stuff I can't do and don't want to do.
If you've ever had to deal with a supermarket buyer, you'd be thankful it's a regular feature of your day job for example.
A trick of getting insight into customers is to find something to admire in them. I venture that's at least as important with clients. People who actually make and sell stuff, people who get complex things to market, not just words, pictures and the odd event.
And as the performance of this client shows, they're at least as good, if not better at their 90% than I am at my 10%.
The greatest enemy of brands is consumer indifference, they've got stuff on.
The greatest enemy of agencies who love solving advertising, digital or even brand brand problems is the indifference of the clients who actually care about business issues.
Or clients who would rather solve ad issues and then fire you when nothing good happens to the business.
We are the ten percenters. Worth remembering now and again.