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Trends and Insight

Just Do It

Ethical and environmental values should be a standard part of our communications advice to clients, says The Ad Plain Ltd.'s Duncan Murray-Clarke

Just Do It

We all know how running an agency and keeping it successful takes time and a good team. 2020 threw additional challenges at us and for some it will be hard to prioritise away from those “must do” areas towards more strategic standpoints that are an investment in the long-term.

How we trade ethically as a business and who we deal with might not seem like a priority right now, but deep down we all know that this is rapidly moving towards standard working practice. It is not a nice to have anymore.

Ethical and environmental values should be a standard part of our communications advice to clients. Yet many of us have not progressed in this area ourselves. We have been too busy. We are a service industry so it doesn’t affect us. We have to keep focussed on the direction of our agency. The truth is that trading ethically is and has to be in direct alignment with all our businesses. If we don’t evolve and change then we are not only doing the world a dis-service, but we are going to be left behind, big time.

Starting this process ourselves (beyond recycling our office waste) might be a daunting prospect but it is something that we all agree needs to be done. There is plenty of support and guidance for business.  I was on a TNO webinar on how to become 'future fit' as a business. The process might seem long-term, but it makes complete sense, from the materials used to how we treat our staff and suppliers. This process I know will strengthen the core of my business, external perception of my business, and the well-being of my staff, suppliers (and even clients). So, having attended this Future Fit webinar over two months ago, why have I yet to start this process formally? That is a very good question and you can probably guess the answer - I’ve been too busy.

However, I am going to start this right now. It is top of the “to do” list and I am genuinely excited by the idea of transforming my business for the better. I know that not all of the elements will be relevant to my business, but I will encourage the staff to buy into this and our clients will continue to benefit from our thoughts and experiences too. This process will enhance our offering and we, and our clients, will be a small part of the amazing chain reaction that is starting to take place around the world. We can’t rely on the politicians - business has to lead this one.

So, if you are thinking, “where will I find the time for this?”, you are not alone. But make it a key business decision.  There is a strong business argument for agencies to make it a strategic priority, because brands and clients are increasingly looking for communications guidance that sits correctly with the ever-evolving conscience of the consumers.  Remember those agencies in the 90’s and early noughties who could never see digital overtaking print?  Neither can I.

Just do it.



Duncan Murray-Clarke is founder of The Ad Plain Ltd.

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