As a Brand Manager, Arnie Stinks!

by Arnie Malham | September 8, 2007


At last year’s conference, the agency announced a fundamental change. No longer would I (Arnie) serve as the agency’s sole brand manager. Instead, we developed a program that would tap into the experience of the agency’s most veteran contributors and challenged them to take on this key responsibility. Suzanne, Angel, Greg, Tim, Laura, Bill, and Alan have all leaped at the opportunity to serve both the client and the agency in this very challenging role. All have consistently and diligently conducted conference calls, followed-up on projects, tracked call numbers, and impressively increased the frequency and quality of communications between our clients and the agency.

When initially announced, some clients immediately accepted the change without hesitation, others expressed their concern. It was this concern and my ego that caused me to try my best to continue to manage a cross section of brands for the agency. Less than a year later, it is obvious to me, my staff, and most importantly the clients, that the clients who received the least attention, had the most projects delayed or dropped, and were generally underserviced were the very brands I attempted to manage.

For the good of all our clients and the agency, as of October 2007, I will be turning over the primary responsibility of my remaining brands to more capable individuals. I am convinced these clients will be more consistently and better served. While I will remain very active in 2007 – 2008 on conference calls, brand strategy, and problem solving, my attention will be purposely redirected to various projects and agency directives that will benefit all clients. I plan to launch several initiatives and ensure follow-through on projects that are designed to ensure our agency can proactively navigate the rapidly changing media convergence. I also will invest my time in developing strategies that will help clients of the agency maintain their status of, or become, obvious Power Brands in their individual markets (more on our Power Brands strategies during the conference).

Delegation of responsibility can be one of the greatest challenges of any manager, entrepreneur, or leader. This is not a delegation that is easy for me or that I expect will be without some level of discomfort. But I do believe that this transition is in the very best interest of our clients and, thus, the agency.

To the extent that this announcement meets with your approval or discouragement, I welcome you to voice same during what I hope will be a rigorous and healthy discussion on this topic during one of the conference roundtables. Whatever your feelings may be, don’t hold back during this discussion.

Thank you for being a client of the agency. Thank you for attending this conference. And thank you for seeing your firm as more than just a client, but rather as a partner in the creation of success for your firm, your clients, and this agency.