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Press release 17 May 2004


European brand consultancy, Henrion Ludlow Schmidt, today unveiled the main reasons that so many advertising and marketing agencies fail to live up to their promises, and invites clients to ask themselves six searching questions.

Culture: An understanding of ‘how things get done around here’ is an essential requirement. Agencies shouldn't’t seek to impose their ‘philosophies’, which are usually just an excuse for a mark-up.
Q: Does your agency share the values of your business, or just value their share of your business?

Behaviour: When all is said and done…many agencies are great at talking the talk, and then talk some more. Agencies should front the people who do the work, not the people with front.
Q: Does your agency like to think then act, or act like their thinking?

Products: Everybody wants to be ‘at the centre of the plate’, but the plate is getting crowded and some services are side dishes. Agencies should accept their limitations, not shoot for the moon
Q: Does your agency know how to mind its own business, let alone yours?

Markets: You need help defining your customers and channels and delivering the brand. But you don’t want lessons from amateurs. Agencies should first ask you what you know, not tell you what they know.
Q: Does your agency listen to your advice, or advise you to listen to them?

Communications: Complex and long-term brand and marketing activities require strong project management. But the process should be the road-map, not the destination.
Q: Does your agency spend more time on contact reports, than reporting contacts?

Design: Strategy is a long-term game: using discipline and creativity to create experiences and shape expectations. But agencies often seek to impose fashionable styling and ephemeral references, to gain peer approval not delight customers.
Q: Does your agency ask to be rewarded by results, or do they hope the result is an award?

Alec Rattray, newly appointed director of consultancy adds: “Most communications-based agencies claim to be ‘at the centre of the plate’ in helping companies to manage their brands – but nearly all have a vested interest in solving the problem through advertising or direct marketing, rather than media neutral brand positioning making their advice suspect.”

Finally, if your agencies are guilty of being commission-focused, not client-focused, you should review…the way you’re managing them.


About Henrion Ludlow Schmidt
Henrion is a leading European brand consultancy with offices in London and Hamburg. Founded over 40 year ago, Henrion advises companies on holistic branding – the deployment of brand discipline across organisations’ entire operations. Henrion has worked with a variety of organisations including Mercedes-Benz, Deutsche Bank, Transport for London and Roche Diagnostics.

Henrion has pioneered media-neutral brand positioning and has maintained its independence in a converging and depressingly homogenising industry. This independence, and decades of proven successes, allows Henrion to claim a unique authority in a contested market.

Klaus Schmidt and Chris Ludlow recently authored ‘Inclusive Branding’ (Palgrave MacMillan, 2003), which features case studies ranging from Virgin to Manchester United.

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For further information please contact:
David Pincott / Ged Carroll / Alex Crawshaw
Tel: 020 7760 7050 / /

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