Cindy Gallop continues to wallop the industry with painfully necessary truisms. In a recent interview she said:
Q. What is the biggest mistake companies – brands or the industry – are making in their attitude to age today?
A. They don’t understand that experience and expertise are incredibly time and cost-efficient, and that they could be making huge amounts more money by hiring, promoting, valuing and retaining older employees.
I’m 53. I started Bonehook when I was 44.
This is how I describe the value of our senior team to prospects:
When you hire Bonehook, you’re getting a senior team comprised of leaders who all specialize in a particular aspect of Marcom, and who have all known each other and worked together for more than 15 years. Thanks to our lean configuration and distributed team, Bonehook clients can afford top talent and reach their communications objectives in faster and smarter ways.
Here’s a bit of what I’ve learned. People sometimes silently translate “senior” to “expensive.” It’s often more of a reflex than conscious thought.
This price sensitivity is often expressed in witless exchanges about hourly rates. On the low end, we have competitors willing to charge a fraction of what we charge and then bill for three times as many hours. On the high end, we compete with agencies that bill a grand or more for an hour meeting with three or four team members.
My point is pricing is the wrong discussion to have when hiring an agency or an individual. Value is the correct discussion, along with a clear outline of the process that moves the client from unhappy to happy.
A Room Full of White Guys
Gallop is leading the charge for diversity in advertising, and beyond. We tend to think about these arguments as “the right thing to do.” We do not frame these discussions in economic advantage terms, even though it’s the obvious means to both the activist’s and the capitalist’s end.
Q. What is your biggest regret about the industry today?
A. That the closed loop at the top of it, white guys talking to white guys about other white guys, doesn’t understand how much happier they would be, how much more creative their output would be and how much more money they would all be making, if they welcomed in and handed over opportunity to women, people of colour, LGBTQ, disabled and older people.
“White guys talking to white guys about other white guys,” describes so many of the problems facing society today. In ad business terms, there’s a talent shortage right now, which is an absurd self-inflicted problem given how many experienced people are being passed by due to their gender, race
The question is, do employers in this industry want to nurture a diverse workforce capable of amazing things, or, do employers see workers as mere labor units that must be hired for as little as possible and asked to do as much as possible?
Look At The Yearbooks
It’s common for agencies to showcase their personnel in yearbook-like layouts. Crispin does it. Many others do it too. The idea is fine on the surface. But, it’s unintentionally revealing. Young and shiny white people are everywhere.
Editor’s Note: The headline above is a Peter Tosh reference.