by Arnie Malham | August 8, 2007

To Build and represent the top 100 50 personal injury brands in the country.

So you ask…What happened? Why did you change from 100 to 50? Do you not already have almost 40 clients, how AUDACIOUS is the goal of 50? is all this about? Great questions…Let’s discuss.

What happened?

A year ago, the leadership at cj Advertising challenged itself to establish a one-page strategic plan, which would outline our agency’s purpose, core values, brand promise, and our Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG). Ask me sometime about the first three, but for now let’s focus on the BHAG.

We agreed that our agency’s 15- to 20-year challenge would be “to build and represent the top 100 personal injury brands in the country.” Our BHAG gave us a goal that boldly challenged us to be the type of agency that strives to help our clients become the best personal injury brands in the country and, thus, we would never be settling to merely represent 100 clients, but to “build and represent the top 100.”

Why did you change from 100 to 50?

After a year, we began to better understand the journey we had set out on and realized that a course correction might very well be in order. We also got a lot of feedback from our clients about who they wanted us to be. After all, no one ever knew what our goals were, and now that we set our course, a few clients helped us remember why they hired us and what their expectations were. After much discussion, our course direction was settled at our most recent strategic retreat this past July, when we decided to change the target number in our BHAG from 100 to 50. We ultimately declared that 50 “relationships” would be worth more than 100 “accounts.” And we realized that part of the magic that had made cj and its client base so successful was the exclusivity of our group, not the general admission mentality.

Don’t you already have almost 40 clients, how AUDACIOUS is the goal of 50?

We are currently proud to represent 38 personal injury brands. However, when we ask the question, “How many of our brands are among the top personal injury brands in the country?” The answer is… about 12.

About 12 of you currently meet our initially defined standard of being a true “Power Brand” (more on the definition of a Power Brand in another newsletter). We have tentatively identified another dozen or so firms that have the potential to be a “Power Brand” in their respective markets in the next one to four years. We also identified the remaining dozen or so firms that “may” need to decide if achievement of “Power Brand” status is right for them, and how they might begin to move in that direction.

Long answer short…we have a long way to go to reach our BHAG, but our focus is now much more intensified on building the brands we currently represent, rather than building the number of clients we represent.

What is all this about?

It’s all about setting the right course for the agency so we can best serve the needs of our clients. By setting our 15- to 20-year goal, we can more clearly envision and choose our 3- to 5-year goals.

Our 3- to 5-year goals help us envision and plan our 1-year goals.

Our 1-year goals help us envision and plan the next quarter.

Our plan for the next quarter helps us determine what we need to be focused on for the next month.

And our focus on the next months helps us plan our activities for each day.

In theory, rather than focusing on the busy work of today and allowing it to define where we end up in 20 years, we believe by setting our course for where we want to be in 20 years, we can determine the really important issues we need to be working on today.


Starbucks decided they wanted to be the most recognized and respected brand on Earth.

Sony decided to change the world’s image of Japanese products.

Disney decided to be the best entertainment company in the world

cj Advertising decided to build and represent the top 50 personal injury brands in the country.