Why do it? The life of an independent agency.
Today I am surrounded by some fascinating and inspirational people, at the AMIN Worldwide Conference 2013 – with some of the best independent agencies from Europe, Latin America and the USA.
A collection of individuals that all run their own agencies for a range of reasons – but mostly because of the love of the ad (read: creative, marketing, digital etc) business, ideas and independence.
Across the globe everyone faces the same challenges of driving margin, propping up the top line, managing the bottom line – trying to balance the impossible – creativity and commerce. While keeping their clients happy. And their team. Wow. What a lovely game of spinning plates it really is.
What’s interesting is the position we all find ourselves in. Insecure. Unsure. Nervous. But proud. Strangely comfortable under the pressure. And fiercely independent.
I can’t put my finger on exactly what drives these people. But they are an amazing collection of individuals. Intellectuals. Great leaders. Creative. Mad as hatters. Piss heads. Inspiring. Exceptional. Snappy dressers (especially the boys from Grupo 361). Great fun. And forever spinning plates.
Considering the briefs and budgets that this collection of agencies get to work on, the creativity, strategy and brilliance on show is absolutely amazing. This is a rare collection of the mad, the brilliant, the creative, the strategic, the come back kings, the brilliant businessmen and women and the brave. People that regularly stare large network agencies in the eye and say come on then, if you think you’re hard enough.
I love them. They feel like family.
The AMIN conference is one of the highlights of my year, professionally. And this year personally. Seeing the pride, fire and fear in the eyes of my peers is both stimulating AND incredibly compelling.
Whatever is in their DNA – our DNA, I suppose – it is special. And rare. Very, very special.
Here’s to the independents. Long may they be so. Never give in.
And never, but NEVER be ordinary. There could surely be nothing worse. And the large networks are doing a good enough job of that already.