Leo Burnett was…and still is, right.

Leo Burnett told his agency when he was leaving in 1967: “when the apples become apples for eating and they don’t represent the core, the essence of who we are…it is then time to take my name off the door”.

Burnett, the agency, had a bowl of apples at it reception desk and they stood there as a reminder to employees what got the agency to where it was.

It wasn’t about great creative.

It wasn’t about great people.

It wasn’t about the media leverage they possessed.

It wasn’t about Tony the Tiger or the Pillsbury Dough Boy or the Jolly Green Giant.

Leo Burnett

It was about adding value and being a great strategic partner working alongside the client.

Couldn’t be more true today.

I tell our agency clients on the agency new business side of our company that “you all do the same stuff”.

Sure some of you are better at creative or slightly better at buying media, or savvier at managing in the digital space…but at the end of the day, many of those are givens.  Costs of entry.

What really sets the great agencies apart from those that are “just OK” is that which surfaces every year in our surveys among marketers (www.rswagencysearch.com/surveys) as to why they look for new partners: the agency has lost its way.

They no longer know how to partner with their clients to bring smart thinking and vision to a client’s business.

So remind your agency every now and then about what made (or still makes them great).

The more they can stay focused on that which really matters (bringing greater and greater value), the happier you’ll be as their client and the better the relationship will be.