Are Ad People Serious With Appearing This Serious?

An ad agency in San Francisco recently redesigned their site and I enjoyed it, except for the fact that all 33 members of their team for the most part were not smiling, laughing or even mustering a smirk. At all. Many weren’t even looking into the camera.

Are you serious with being this serious?

This is an industry that, at its best, can be a blast. We get to come up with creative ideas and unique strategies for a decent living. We joke, we laugh, we usually find ways to have a beer or two at the end of the day. We don’t have to often wear suits and ties. Many of us can even show up in a t-shirt and flip-flops, for crying out loud.

If you think this is just about how someone takes a photo, remember that impressions mean something. Especially the first ones.

Agency sites are opportunities to show personalities. Showing those personalities with a little more levity doesn’t mean we’re any less serious about furthering a client’s business. It actually is to the advantage of the client’s business because a fun and collaborative environment often increases the likelihood that better ideas will bubble to the surface.

And you know what? A lot of clients, whether they admit or not, are looking for that quality in a partner.  You have to spend every week, if not every day, dealing with someone helping your brand along. You’d like to be able to, well, like that person.

It’s great that people can spit out data and talk about their experiences with the other agencies/brands they’ve worked with and speak to the current clients they’ve helped. And while that’s truly terrific because it can often get them on the short list of businesses to consider in a pitch situation, sealing the deal may depend on showing they are human beings who have the ability to relate well to other human beings.

Like their clients. Like those clients’ target audiences.

Without this ability to form a rapport, the person most impressed with someone so serious will be the one looking back at them in the mirror.

Don’t be that guy or that lady. Loosen up a little. Have a little more fun. Show some personality with that bio photo. But don’t stop there. Inject several personal aspects into your bio that could create talking points and common ground. Put it right into your LinkedIn profile and don’t apologize for it. Show those pictures that capture your culture on your Pinterest page. Share some video of your next mockumentary on your agency’s YouTube channel.

Your ability to win some business may be counting on it.

2 thoughts on “Are Ad People Serious With Appearing This Serious?

  1. I agree 100%! We just rebranded our agency and purposely turned up the fun factor dial even further. So far it is working like a charm.

    I guess there is a different agency for everyone though. Some people like serious, some don’t. Being true to who you are I think is the most important.

    Good article 🙂

    • Thanks for the kind words about the article, Pam. I enjoy the exceptional words of wisdom you provide on Twitter and elsewhere. Agreed that not everybody is right for the fun angle – but I think with a fun Twitter handle like yours for example (and being a very accessible person), it would be hard to be “all business all the time,” which is a very good thing in my book. While I mention one example of an agency I saw that could’ve loosened up a little, my overall issue is with the industry as a whole. There are certain agencies that do good, smart, fun, exciting work that stirs the senses – but I can’t possibly imagine that they are so serious when they come up with those ideas all the time. So to your point, being true to who you are is to say, “Hey, we’re not afraid to have fun because we see it as being an essential ingredient to a process that’s collaborative and creative. That’s a part of who our people are, what our culture is about, what our vision is, etc. And here’s what that looks like.” To me, it’s always been hard to unlink being creative and having fun for the purpose of better results. I wouldn’t mind seeing more agencies embracing that sentiment more openly.

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