One Goal

The World Cup lost some excitement for me the minute the U.S. was eliminated. It’s hard to pull for a team you don’t really care about. And, even though I took three years of Spanish, I found I didn’t really care whether Spain or the Netherlands prevailed. I guess that’s what they call “not having a dog in that fight.”

There are a lot of things in life I don’t get worked up about. I generally don’t care what restaurant we choose. Or what the best way to get there might be. I don’t care much for politics or politicians (regardless of their affiliation). I’m not concerned about the increasing mileage on my car. (After all, what good is a car if you can’t drive it?) I don’t worry much with housework and lawn maintenance. And since last year, I haven’t looked at my 401-k. After all, it’s already beyond repair and I’m clearly going to have to work until I die.

What I do care about is the work we do – every part of it. What it says, how it says it, where it runs, how it looks, how it sounds, how it’s built, who sees it, who does it, what response it gets and its quality, price and presentation. Everything matters when it comes to the work. It’s this singular focus that keeps our quality level high regardless of the medium. For the past seven years, our company’s goal has been to offer the same great quality work whether customers see it on TV, in a magazine, on the web, in an email, in their mailbox, in the store, or on a board on the side of the road.

We can maintain this quality level because it’s our sole focus. We should focus on public relations to increase awareness of our brand among prospective clients. However, much like the dentist whose kids end up with bad teeth, we inevitably spend the majority of our time working on our clients’ brands instead of our own. This isn’t optimum. We should market our own brand. But we won’t do this at the expense of our clients, so it remains a secondary priority. (It comes as no surprise that referrals are our best source of new business leads.)

I went to a business conference once in which we were told one could only successfully manage to be passionate about two things in life. If we are passionate about three or four things, the speaker maintained, we’ll fritter away our time trying to do too much with too little. And we’ll ultimately fail to achieve any of our desired goals.

I think this philosophy holds true. A business has to have a single focal point – a shared belief and mission that permeates throughout the company. Our belief is that advertising communications must be equally inspiring regardless of the medium in which they appear. We can’t create an inspiring website and then support it with uninspiring print advertising. The brand must be consistently presented across all platforms. This is our focus. Every project. Every hour. Every day.

What’s your company’s singular point of focus? Can you verbalize it to your clients? And, perhaps more importantly, can your employees verbalize it to you?

In the World Cup, Spain’s single point of focus was to score a goal. After a long, dull couple of hours, they succeeded. One point made. One goal achieved. What’s your company aiming for?