I paused to think about this.

Because, at one time, I was undecided about which to choose.

A. Ask.

B. Just do it anyway.

But now that I finally realise the enormous, world-changing and universally positive benefit – to everyone – of choosing one over the other.

I know the answer.

It’s A.

Agencies.

When I ran brand, marketing and design agencies.

(I ran 4 for 15 years.

There were 30 people in the team.

And we turned over about £1.5m.

So we were quite big but not massive).

We helped to tell the world how fast, tough, secure, pioneering, easy to use, high-quality, environmentally friendly or just plain friendly that hundreds of brands were.

Those brands were our clients of course.

Those lovely people that paid us to articulate their very presence.

And their differentiated offers.

As brilliantly and as distinctively as we could.

Awards etc.

We won 70 awards.

Made some money.

Made our clients some money.

And all was good.

Except.

(Now I come to think of it.

Almost 10 years after closing all my agencies).

Except one thing.

One Thing. 

One thing that was not good about how I ran my agencies.

Was this.

I don’t think I ever asked any client one very important question.

Sometimes, it didn’t need asking.

It was clear that the answer was, ‘yes’.

But for the majority.

I actually didn’t know.

Because as I say.

I never asked.

One Question.

That one question was this:

“…Are you lying?”

Or

“So, are you actually any good?”

Or

“Can you actually deliver on these promises you’re making? These promises that I’m being asked to amplify as compellingly as I can. For money.”

And I regret that.

Today.

Today, I do a few things to make me happy and earn money.

One of those things is – strategically – helping businesses to get noticed, remembered and chosen.

And one thing I do know about my clients.

All of them.

Is this.

They’re all reeeeeeeeally fucking good.

They all deliver on the clear, compelling and owned promises they are making.

But people like me have a lot to answer for in the brand versus consumer relationship.

Because what I also know is that the majority of brand, marketing and design ‘professionals’ and agencies don’t really know if their clients are lying.

They don’t really know if their clients are any good.

And they don’t really know if their clients can actually deliver on the promises they’re making.

Because they’re not paid to check clients can.

They’re paid to say clients can.

So that’s what they do.

A or B.

I paused to think about this.

Because, at one time, I was undecided about which to choose as a brand builder and communicator.

A. Ask if your clients are lying. (And if they are – bin them).

B. Don’t bother asking and just take the money for saying what they pay you to say anyway.

But now that I finally realise the enormous, world-changing and universally positive benefit – to everyone – of choosing one over the other.

I know the answer.

It’s A.

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