Does Longevity Matter? Or maybe even more curiously, is it even a good thing? As we celebrate being in business for the last 35 years at the Miller Ad Agency, I’ve been thinking about the implications of longevity as it relates to the rapidly evolving digital and traditional advertising space in 2019.
Let’s face it…new is cool. Not just the evolutionary arc of technology that has defined at least the last 15 years, but new companies are cool. At the agency we’re helping an increasing number of these embryonic start ups. Often run by rebels, the youngest of guns, these entrepreneurs are raising capital, looking to swing for the financial fences. Graduate college, find a passion project and incubate.
Some people perceive ‘niche’ to be equally cool. The last decade in the advertising agency business has been increasing defined by specialization. Company X just does website optimization, Company Y just does influencer marketing. Many are niche not by choice necessarily but because they are bootstrapping their efforts, or don’t have the capital it takes to support the heavy lifting in say, video editing and production, for example. And there is certainly a segment of the population that believes that niche, that singular specialization, equals better than that which could be acquired from a generalist.
So, if new and niche is cool, what can be said for companies that are neither new or niche? As we celebrate 35 years, let me take a swing at that question. Companies that stand the test of time are rare. Looking at those companies that occupied the Fortune 500 in 1955, only 60 remain. I would argue that longevity equals survival and survival is the ultimate scoreboard, the ultimate measuring stick, THE performance indicator for any company.
To have survived for 35 years we have:
- Performed: Delivering results to our clients that beat our competition
- Evolved: Our media mix, our product offerings, our staffing, our work day, our client vertical are all radially different than they were 10 years ago let alone 35 years ago.
- Earned Trust: As you look at our business and that of other managed services like banking, finance, legal, you see a pattern emerge. When the business relationship requires absolute trust, longevity seems to follow.
- Practiced Creative Destruction: We have been relentless in innovating from within, destroying our constructs and creating anew before the market conditions force us to change to meet them. For that may be much too late.
- Been growers of people: Keeping great people has defined this business, with many key team member at 10, 20, 25, even 35 years of service.
Our longevity, our survival, speaks to the strengths of our organization.
Here’s to the next 35 years.