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The labors of Heracles

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THE LABORS
                                                   OF HERACLES




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With the economic
crisis on the one hand
and the digital revolution
on the other, every
advertising professional
has the r...

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CROSSROADS                                                                 PRODUCT

Like Heracles, advertising has been ca...

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The labors of Heracles

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I am sure that you will agree with me that, with the economic crisis on the one hand and the digital revolution on the other, every advertising professional has the right to feel like a HERO. Therefore I will use the greatest hero of the past as an example for the future.

I am sure that you will agree with me that, with the economic crisis on the one hand and the digital revolution on the other, every advertising professional has the right to feel like a HERO. Therefore I will use the greatest hero of the past as an example for the future.

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The labors of Heracles

  1. THE LABORS OF HERACLES What the Advertisng industry has to do in order to change. tris Klonos Direction by Dimi Illustration &Art os.blogspot.com dimitrisklon
  2. With the economic crisis on the one hand and the digital revolution on the other, every advertising professional has the right to feel like a HERO
  3. CROSSROADS PRODUCT Like Heracles, advertising has been caught at a crossroads: One path leads to being a craft that offers a communication product that is SERVICE charged based on the value that it creates. The other leads to being a professional service that offers consultation to clients and its charged VALUE based on a cost plus basis. Like Heracles, our industry has to choose not the path that seems easier, but the path that will ensure a greater share of the future. But COST+ even more important than choosing right, is choosing. Our industry has been trapped on the same crossroads for a long time and this paralysis stops us from moving forward.
  4. DIGITAL HYDRA The first monster that comes in our way is the multi-headed Digital TWITTER Hydra. Each head is a different monster fully equipped with tech- GOOGLE+ nological jaws ready to devour the trust our clients have on our ca- OK FACEBO pabilities. And as soon as we understand how to cut one head, two new heads spring from the monster’s neck. The Media proliferation BLOGING caused by the digitalization of our world is reversing the communi- cation order and now everybody is both a sender and a receiver. So- SEO cial networking sites are convening communities of consumer advo- cates and replacing traditional information sources. Consumers now know more, communicate more and can be persuaded less. Now that everybody has become a sender and a receiver, we need to under- stand audience behavior, earn their attention and draw them into our brand story. Commercial communication has become a conversation and brands, rather than orators, have become moderators. Heracles burned the monster’s neck in order to stop the heads from multiplying. Our flame should be fuelled not by the understanding of N LINKEDI the emerging technologies but by the understanding of the emerging cultural practices that those technologies create.
  5. aUgean stables Cleaning the Augean Stables. A labor that was indeed, labor inten- sive. Brings to my mind our everyday reality. So many new delivery systems, formats, screens and experiences available to us to deliver the brand story. The consequence is that creative output is increas- ing exponentially in quantity. Where we used to produce 30-second formats, we now have to think in terms of websites, blogs, e-webs, digital radio, and SMS conversations, social media on the web, street events, PR, and a whole array of new communications opportunities. The amount of work that is asked from an agency has rose exponen- tially. More content produced in more different ways should result in more fees to conceive it all. However, with the unbundling of services and the commoditization of our work, the trend is rather the oppo- site. Clients want more but they are willing to pay less. Heracles was aided by two rivers in order to clean the stables, we should stand united and stop dumbing our prices united in order to clean this mess.
  6. mares of diomedes In this Labor beasts of burden were turned into carnivores and our hero had to tame them in order to stop them. Sometimes what is there to serve us turns against us. The notion of the “Big Idea” which was nurtured in the era of Media scarcity can become a burden in the era of Media abundance. When a bunch of “Small Ideas” can create a “Long Tail” of effective communication. Our business model is adherent to the past and hinders our efforts to adapt to the new reality. The latest innovation to our way of work- ing is dates back to 1968 when Steven King and Stanley Pollitt intro- duced Account Planning. Hercules had to feed the mares of Diome- des with the flesh of their owner in order to tame them. We should feed the structure of our industry with our egos in order to satisfy the strategic priorities of our era.
  7. SHAREHOLDERS Cerberus Cerberus was the 3-headed guard dog of the underworld. It reminds me of the 3 masters that every professional in our industry has to serve: Shareholders, Clients and Employees. Each head has a will of its own and bites you for a different reason. Shareholders for revenue, in an industry that revenue is at the very least unpredictable. Cli- ents for results, when results are hindered by their own interventions and employees for empowerment, in an industry that power is not EMPLOYES always accompanied by responsibility. Heracles managed to control Cerberus by dragging him into the light. Light should be shed in our industry too. CLIENTS
  8. τhe hero’s journey Not every Labor had the same importance in our Hero’s journey; In my experience 70% of our time and effort goes to operation. likewise, every labor doesn’t have the same importance for the future The majority of our time and effort goes into what we have to do and of our industry. not in what we must do in order to gain a greater share of the future. We are operation centric instead of innovation centric. And it is the We can classify the labors in two axes: on the vertical axis we have definition of insanity to expect different results by doing the same labors of a Tactical nature and labors of Strategic nature and on the thing over and over again. Like Heracles we have to clean the Augean horizontal axis we have labors of internal nature whose completion Stables but we are not going to be remembered for that. affects the agency and labors of external nature whose completion affects the agency’s clients. The two axes define 4 quadrants, and each quadrant plays a role in our industry’s evolution much like the way the labors played a role in our hero’s journey towards apotheosis. CULTURE, INNOVATION, OPERATION and CONTROL.
  9. WHY? I challenge you, as I challenge myself everyday to devote a bigger portion of your time and effort in labors other than cleaning stables, a hero has to slay monsters in order to remain a hero.
  10. CHILD MURDERER Heracles, blinded by hubris and drunk from wine murdered his chil- dren and Zeus ordered him to accomplish the labors in order to re- deem himself. Let’s face it our industry doesn’t attract the best minds anymore. Technologists, consultants, and in some occasions, even our own clients have beat us in the race for talent. We don’t attract, but more importantly we don’t develop our talent pool with the pace that the era demands. We don’t train our people and we have failed to create the intellectual barriers that will keep our offering from being commoditized.
  11. (HEra)cles The Queen of the Gods, Hera haunted Heracles. Like him we have to understand that what haunts us is what makes us who we are. Change is our lifeblood, stagnation our death knell. The only goal of our pro- fession was, is, and always will be to turn “what if ” into “what is.”

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