I was with a management consultant from one of the top-tier consulting outfits. His view was that good consultants tackled the most strategic issues in business and they did a really good job of it. It must be true because they certainly charge an arm and a leg for their efforts.
A few days later I caught up with a friend who heads a branding company in the region. Brands are the most important assets of any company, he explained. “We build, unlock and amplify the value of brands” he asserted, “everything else is secondary or comes later”. I have no beef with that; branding is a big deal.
A good friend of mine, who heads a global PR firm in the region, has a different point of view. “Consumers do not believe paid messaging. You have to put the PR strategy in place first; this is the one that carries real weight. The rest is a subset”. As evidence he cites the case of Apple, a company built largely through PR. Product innovation may have something to do with it, I counter, and he concedes my point reluctantly.
I shared these three arguments with a friend who heads a large ad agency. He is mortified. “All these pipsqueaks, till the other day they were part of an ad agency, and now they are acting up”. He too is right. In the good old days, ad agencies did everything and got the full attention of the client CEO (as well as the full 15% commission).
A young something I know who has just started a digital marketing company burst out laughing when I told her about my recent conversations with industry bigwigs. “These old fogies don’t get it, the cheese has moved, the game now is digital, the rest is legacy”. Wow, that’s probably true as well.
So who is right, who is indulging in hyperbole and who is talking nonsense? I suspect they are all doing a bit of everything.