When I first embarked on creating a media house as a fresh-faced design graduate, I had enthusiasm in abundance and was raring to go; to conquer the world of advertising on a small island where attitudes needed to be changed regarding not only the significance of getting branding right, but the new direction in which to take the existing styles that clients were so keen on.
And thus, the name for my company was born: Aditude (a play on the words ‘advertising’ and ‘attitude’), because, you really do need a certain attitude to succeed in this game, and when I say ‘to succeed’, I don’t mean for an agency’s gain, but for all parties involved – agency and client – because ultimately, it is the collective attitude of all involved that will ensure the right message is conveyed to the end customer, and this is simply not possible without the right attitude internally.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines attitude as: ‘A settled way of thinking or feeling about something.’ The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as: ‘The way you think and feel about someone or something’. For me, ‘attitude’ is a term that encompasses so much more than just your approach when it comes to the fast-changing world of advertising and marketing. ‘Attitude’ is passion. ‘Attitude’ is positivity. ‘Attitude’ is innovation – the ability to predict future trends and methods for promotion… and grab them first.
This ethos applies to any business or service under the sun, and what you are aiming for is to capture that attitude and convey it in turn to the end customer as though it is indeed a physical entity that is giving your customers a message directly from HQ – a message that your brand or service absolutely rocks. In order to do this, the first thing you need to ask yourself is ‘are all parties involved working with the right attitude?’
In over 20 years of being at the helm of Aditude, I have learnt the following:
1. You can’t fake it!
Either the right attitude is there, or it is not, but it can’t be faked and it can’t be forced. More specifically, you cannot force others to have it. So, if you want those around you to have the right attitude, then you need to be sending them those good vibes by way of action. Humans are sponges, and in particular your employees will reflect your attitude and feed off of it (note: buy that new staff coffee machine and remind them that you believe in them!).
2. It’s an energy that vibrates.
I think it is pretty clear to consumers whether the right attitude is backing a product or service, and you cannot sell either of those unless they are giving a strong, positive message – that of a company that believes in them. There is a good reason why the most successful sales people are the ones who bound into a room full of energy and can soon have the whole room high on their enthusiasm and absolute conviction in what they are selling. Bottle that mojo and let that attitude shine through anything and everything that comes out of your company/brand!
3. Stagnant or stale is not an attitude.
Whether it is the ever-changing ways in which the advertising and marketing industry is engaging the consumer, or the direction in which a company decides to go in order to compete in the marketplace, keeping your attitude level and set is not going to cut it. View attitude as something fluid that is riding a rollercoaster… and go with the flow. Don’t be stuck in your ways; shift your perspective (read: your attitude) and watch your company soar. Fear is not the attitude you want!
4. Don’t be afraid to express yourself – and your appreciation.
The right attitude towards employees is often lost in companies. I have seen many businesses come and go, because whilst they may have started off with the right attitude – a drive and optimism from all involved to do their best – this has then waned in time. Why? Well, The Big Boss would tell you it is due to employees not having the right attitude, when in reality, it is because they did not embark on running a workforce with the right attitude, or assumed that the way to do this was to crack the whip and create a culture of master and slave. And so, even if The Big Boss has the best attitude towards the company, its brand, product or services, no amount of attitude in the world from them could bring success if the employees are unhappy or undervalued (ie, not treated with the right attitude). And if that isn’t enough to sway you… remember that your clients, customers or end users can always tell if there are frowny faces behind the brand, even if they only feel it on a subconscious level = less success.
5. Maintain buoyancy.
You want the right attitude? It won’t happen without enthusiasm and passion. Whether the nature of your company or service is creative and innovative, or a conservative but vital one, employees need to feel good about it. And whilst this is easy in the fun and imaginative industries, it gets a whole lot tougher in the more reserved industries. Balance this out by making the attitude of the office itself a positive one; think décor, incentives; or simply listening to employees’ suggestions – this balances out the nature of daily functions and raises moral (read: attitudes).
6. Never leave the house without your attitude.
View your attitude as part of your business attire and you will never meet a client or approach your employees without being ‘fully dressed’! When it comes to client meetings, I have learnt that attitude is probably more important than showing them a big, flashy portfolio (in the case of an ad agency), or spouting out lots of impressive technical jargon (in the case of a service or product). Wear your attitude with pride and watch its infectious nature positively enhance your venture!