Ogilvy. Burnett. Wells. Could your name go here?


David Ogilvy. Leo Burnett. Mary Wells. Fairfax Cone. Bill Bernbach. And we could go on and on.

What is it about the above professionals that makes them memorable? And why is this important in new business?!

Well, let’s handle that last one first. It’s important because it can help personality-driven, namesake agencies either get more pitches or win more of they currently earn. You read “namesake” there because from a branding/positioning perspective, we all know it’s easier to think David Ogilvy rather than David Ogilvy, who works at Big, Bigger and Biggest.

Anywho, what are the common qualities of memorable agency folks? This can get us started:

  • Larger than life personalities. Professionals unafraid to say no and who speak their mind. Folks that  zig when others you-know-what. They revel in their differences. You know, they have some unique style!
  • Authenticity. WYSIWYG. Seems like a favorite theme on this blog.
  • Shared stories. Lore. This is word-of-mouth PR. Many folks have heard or worked with these guys because of…
  • Big agency chops. These namesakes ran into a lot of people. Either they worked at big shops before starting their own. Or they started a shop and made it big. But size matters here.
  • Ran agencies in a major market.
  • Penchant for unusual-for-the-times self promotion. This point deserves its own post. Nag me about t sometime.
  • Books. This is a gimme. But I think this happens either mid-way or after one’s career.
  • Mentioned in The Mirror Makers. AWESOME book about agency personalities and agency history.
  • And, of course, their work.

I invite you to consider other qualities.

Now, can you think of people over the last 25 years that have the above qualities?! Sure. But maybe in an overhyped, 24-hour news-cycle, celebrity-laden world….not to mention a crapload more agency competition, nowadays this might be harder to do. But never impossible!

If you’re into this topic at all, lemme know. Yours truly is tempted to share a few hundred words on personalities today. It will be more interesting than brilliant. And certainly not helpful. Which is why it might not get written.  But we could have some fun naming some names!