HMO BACKtalk – The Chat Spot For Multicultural Marketers and Advertisers
On April 5, advertising industry executives received a jolting wake-up call that no matter how “solid” their relationship may be with a long-term client, a split could nevertheless happen.
After 46 years with Twin Cities-based shop Haworth Marketing & Media, Target Corp. confirmed that it was shifting its media and planning business—valued at $686.3 million—to WPP-owned GroupM.
The news resonated strongly with such key multicultural agency heads as Alex Lopez Negrete, of Lopez Negrete Communications.
But, journalists at Advertising Age covering the story neglected to rewind the clock to early 2011. That’s when Target Corp. sent a break-up notice to 50-person Minneapolis-based independent agency Peterson Milla Hooks (PMH). For Target, it was simply a consolidation move, with the work shifting to Wieden + Kennedy.
For PMH President Tom Nowack, it was a jarring jolt.
“We were fired,” Nowack told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in an April 2013 interview. “We weren’t bitter, but it was difficult. It was a long relationship that we were really proud of and loved. Almost all of our [agency] income was from Target. It was a devastating blow.”
Recovery, or collapse, from the loss of a major client is a fact of life for advertising agency executives and their employees.
But, what if an agency were to take control of the relationship, steering a path with miles ahead while serving as the trusted, needed and necessary partner committed to brand growth and strong ROI?
That’s an opportunity multicultural shops should immediately capitalize on.
As a key “Relationship Shop,” the agency that can expertly guide a brand manager or CMO on a successful total market campaign wins. By taking the lead, and not direction, it also sends the message that the “multicultural marketer” is simply a segment marketer embedded in an American mainstream that will continue to evolve and embrace different heritages, races and cultural touchpoints.
Are any Hispanic advertising agencies already succeeding as a “Relationship Shop”?
Are any agencies losing the battle between client and agency, with the flow of directives coming in a one-way direction?
With fragile relationships in place and dollars the bottom line, perhaps a one-way flow of activity is better than none.
It’s not. It’s a dangerous route that puts talent in peril of job loss.
Take the lead. Make the suggestions. Offer ideas. Inspire your client.
Do this every day.
This could stop you from thinking about the horrors of losing your biggest client and start thinking about how important your team is to them, now and for always.