Beware of the default!

It is very easy to fall into the trap of doing the same thing. Sometimes when we are busy and have a lot of things happening all at once we switch to default mode. I can be the worst person at doing this. A week goes by and I realise that most of my evening meals contained the same components. Luckily I cook with my flat mate and it is only when we talk about what to have for dinner (which we do a lot) we realize how unadventurous we have been.

There is a point to taking a step back (however busy you are) to question what you are doing, Questioning an approach is important as often you will find that with a bit of reflection there is often a better way to achieve many parts of your day.

This is the same for agencies. Bad agencies in advertising fall into this trap. They operate by default far too much which is why a lot of the work is pretty standard. Having different people who think in completely different ways is so important for an agency to be a good one.

This is a not exactly a brainwave but it really hit me yesterday when I went to Goodge Street – the heart of adland, to chat to people my age in similar roles. It scared me. Similar backgrounds, similar values, similar voices, even similar mannerisms. We were all the same! I am not saying this is bad. In certain contexts it’s great – this is how and why we have friends and get into relationships.

But I did get home that evening and thought about how important it is to try to remain interested in things aside from the day job, to understand our culture by exploring from different angles. This is crucial particularly if you work in communications. This is why having a mixed bunch of people to inspire the agency culture and the people in it are so important as they are ultimately a reflection of an agency’s approach.

Sometimes when I look at the London advertising industry I do get a bit down at the lack of diversity. There is no excitement or drama. Which is why tension is a good thing, people that disagree with what you say is good. Those clashes in characters can lead to some great work so we need to bring on the misfits to nurture the creativity and make sure we try and avoid falling into default mode as much as we can.


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