Some nitty gritty: three traits of Chicago-based ad agencies

Hello there, new business fans. Hope you enjoyed last week’s guest post by Dan Gershenson. He’s got a fun way of looking at Chicago agencies vs. agencies in other cities. As Dan and I chatted about it, we thought about other attributes of Chicago-based agencies. Your opinion, of course, is more than welcome. But here are some of the things we came up with.

Client mix.
Dan wrote about this. And I think he’s got a point, too as it relates to the city producing tough ad people. We tend to work on categories that are fairly conservative, yet still want great work. Categories like consumer packaged goods, pharma, insurance, business-to-business and more. And you  hafta be tough to help clients sell in more interesting advertising across multiple internal and external stakeholders.

Long-lasting relationships.
Back in the day, I remember telling prospects about how long the Chicago office of Foote, Cone & Belding would keep it clients. (Decades.) Sure, they added a client or two over time. But they had clients like Kraft, SCJ, and Coors for many years. Don’t get me started there. The same could be said for DDB Chicago. Wrigley @ Energy BBDO. And, then, of course, ya got Leo Burnett. Ad Age recently published a letter written over 50 years ago by the man himself. It addresses client loyalty. A few of those brands he mentions are still with this storied firm.

More successful partnerships.
I dunno about this one. But it sure would be a cool stat to develop (and not all that hard to craft, either.) The way we used to do this at FCB Chicago was to compare the performance of our publicly-traded clients vs. the S&P performance. Build a Chicago one with a broader list of clients. Of course, it’s easy to poke holes in something like that. But it can be an interesting metric. And this is not just a Chicago-based idea by any means. Versions of the stock price story have been used at agencies like Zimmerman, which used to track client stock prices on their website.  KBS+P has a very cool take on this idea, and has created a stock index of their clients. Very smart.

Heck, you could even look at new business development through a Chicago lens. But we digress.

So, maybe there are a few similarities found in Chicago shops. But I don’t see the Agency Division of the Chicago Convention & Visitors Bureau picking up the phone to hire yours truly. And I gots to get billable.