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O Magazine
2015-2017

FIVE
GUYS

By Fernando Barbella

(Author’s Note: this has nothing to do with the hamburger chain present in the USA, the UK and Canada… or maybe it does!).

A few days ago, trying to remember (and counting, due to a certain slight OCD disorder of mine), I started a list of clients with whom I’ve worked all these years. And when I say clients I don’t mean companies or brands, but people in their different jobs: Brand Manager, Marketing Manager, Chief Marketing Officer, and so forth.

On the other hand, if one works side by side with agencies, it’s very common to hear complaints or criticism about client behaviour and the incompatibility between the culture and procedures of the companies hiring agency services… But it’s also true that every now and then you find someone working at the other side with whom, all of a sudden, there’s mutual understanding and trust at a professional level and good vibes at a personal one. And this is what this article is about.

What happened is that after seeing the list with around thirty-three names I came up with, I realised I could count with the fingers in one hand the clients with whom I felt we really connected and as a result of that connection, produced the kind of campaigns or projects that make the team involved feel proud. And when I say the fingers in one hand I mean literally: five people enter that category, at least for me.

Thus, it seemed interesting to describe the things these five people had in common, so as to help you identify one of your Five Guys when you come across them, and so as not to waste the many possibilities this implies.

I’m not going to say these Five Guys’ names, but those who have worked with me in my different professional stages will probably know who I’m talking about. And they too will realise this when reading the article.

So here’s a non-definitive list with some characteristics shared by all of them:

? They understand very well the difference between marketing and advertising, and they never try to compete with their agency in any kind of way.

? They trust their agencies and have the decency of really treating them as partners, and not as simple vendors.

? They respect and understand the possibility that, sometimes, the solution to a brief might come from challenging what they themselves had asked in that brief, instead of following it to the T.

? They divide the professional and personal spheres very well, not allowing their personal opinions, taste or beliefs to interfere with the evolution of the project or campaign.

? They respect the recommendations of the different professionals working with them, without having to constantly be “convinced” of the proposal.

? They share responsibilities with their agency equally when things turn out right and when they go wrong.

? They show a healthy appetite for learning, instead of pretending they know everything.

? They express the same with their words as with their eyes and gestures, something that not always happens.

? They show real curiosity and enthusiasm for new ideas and innovation, and prove this with facts such as approving out-of-the-box ideas that give food for thought.

? They make anything in their hand, and even a bit more, to “sell” their companies’ stakeholders what the agency has proposed, even if it’s a bit risky or unexpected.

Well, the list could go on a bit more, but the most important thing is for you to realise that if you’ve still haven’t come across any of your Five Guys (hey, you might find more than five!), there’s still hope.

Behind those positions and roles printed on cards or visible under their names on their LinkedIn profiles there are real people, with their good and their bad days, with more or less balls, some eager to be noted and others happy to keep a low profile. Keep on working, coming up with ideas, presenting, insisting, trying time and time again, because probably very soon you will come across one of your Five Guys. Don’t give up.

Oh, what happened to the other twenty-eight guys I mentioned earlier? No idea. But what I’m sure of is that I’m so grateful to these other five that one day I’m going to have to get them a good burger, or two, and tell them they were my inspiration for this article. ??