On Producing Better Work.

As we all learn to work in teams, to contribute to projects in a collaborative fashion and to have other people's welfare dependent upon our personal performance, it helps to remember that, because we're accountable for our work, we typically strive to deliver more than we promise.

It's our intention to deliver more than we promise – to under promise and over deliver – because we've found that happiness results when reality exceeds someone's level of expectation.

The success of our agency is dependent upon our ability to estimate properly, get agreement on the estimate and produce the goods as promised. In order for a job to be estimated properly, it must be properly planned. If it's planned properly, the estimate can be accurate. Then, this estimate must be properly explained to our client. If the proper estimate is approved, it's usually a joy to produce from that point. The budget enables us to use the right tools and spend the time necessary to produce a quality product.

It's often expensive in the short run to do a job right. But, the rewards for great work are long term. Remember the adage: "The sweet taste of high quality lingers long after the bitterness of the high price has faded." In fact, when marketing communications are done correctly, they are not an expense – they are an investment in the company's brand.

Because it's so easy to underestimate how much time it takes to produce great work, and because inflation erodes the value of the dollar, it's normal for us all to experience sticker shock at the cost of the work we do.

This can result in the fear of presenting an estimate that reflects the real costs of doing quality work. This fear causes the downfall of many projects – and companies. The fear of a competitor being able to do the job for less is one thing that tends to undermine confidence. But we must remember that, generally, we are not on a per-project basis with our clients.

We are the agency-of-record, which should reflect a higher level of trust. Therefore, if we show our clients that we have taken the time to plan the job properly, searched for the suppliers offering the best value, and that the project will give them a good return on their investment, they have no incentive to listen to or solicit bids from other suppliers (who may low-ball the price just to get their first order).

And, just as we ask for the right to make a reasonable profit, we respect that same right for our suppliers. In general, we are not interested in one-shot deals with suppliers. We want to build long-term, mutually profitable relationships with our suppliers.