For decades I have pondered and considered the common elements, tactics, practices and things the best performing Ad Agencies do consistently to deliver such massive impacts for their clients. Fortuitously, I have had the advantage of working with some of the best advertising and marketing executives in the world. I have learned from them and modeled my own strategies and techniques based on their winning ‘traits’.

I have found this especially relevant as it relates to agency positioning, client chemistry, mindset, marketing, sales, new business and growth. In fact, prospecting for new business and selling still fascinates me.

Here’s my summary of the key attributes and common traits, that I believe ad industry greats like: Keith Reinhard (DDB), Charlotte Beers (Ogilvy & Mather), Alan ‘Mo’ Morris & Allan ‘Jo’ Johnstone (Chiat/Day/MOJO) and others always deliver:

  1. Clear Agency Positioning
  2. Agency Chemistry
  3. Courage
  4. Productivity
  5. An Educational Mindset
  6. Immense Clarity & focus
  7. Energy & Persistence
  8. Build a Legacy
  9. Extraordinary Work Ethic

As George Bernard Shaw once famously stated,

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

With that in mind, I have spent the last 30 years working in an Advertising Agency environment, setting up Ad Agencies offices worldwide. I also built the second largest independent Direct Marketing Agency in Australia over twenty years ago and then pioneered Internet Marketing in San Francisco in 1999. I have also worked on hundreds of iconic global brands. I hope I can share some of the lessons I have learned to help you win more often, speed up your sales results and rethink your new business approach in the coming year.

As I have frequently stated, all agencies should have a unique and clear brand positioning which is embedded in everything they do, like Apple, Google, Nike, Microsoft or Coca-Cola. And, if you don’t have a unique position, personality and culture, you will struggle to run your Agency successfully and, more importantly, you will not be able to deliver an extraordinary service for your client

Agency Chemistry as I have written before, is critical to winning new business, building more revenue and having lasting success. Importantly, having ‘chemistry’ is all about building deep trust and respect. Just like life, without trust and respect, relationships will wither. While creativity, price, and service are always factors in the equation, ‘chemistry’ in my estimation is the single biggest factor in winning a new client today.

Just a reminder, by Chemistry I mean: the trust and connection you have with your existing as well as potential clients. You need to be ‘on the same page’ with them as to vision and expectations! In today’s complex media buying and digital ecosystem – trust and respect are more important than ever!

Bottom-line: We all tend to like people better who best meet our expectations and with whom we have commonalities. We understand them faster and easier. We don’t get surprised. In short, we want to work with them and they want to work with us.

Courage is also a trait of high performing executives and it’s something the best Ad Agencies understand. Charlotte Beers (former CEO Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide) has this trait in spades! She had immense courage and influence and helped shape my career when I was starting out.

You’ll see why she was so outstanding just by watching her talk about her career in advertising and business, and the experiences that shaped her leadership skills in this great TED Talk she gave in 2012.

Click to Watch: Charlotte Beers at TEDxWomen 2012 via @YouTube

She also served as CEO for Tatham-Laird & Kudner and Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, and was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 2009. Charlotte was also once the Under Secretary of State too!

As my former CEO, Charlotte has immense clarity, was highly memorable. She always pursued self-improvement, chased her dreams and remained ambitious her entire career. Believe me, Charlotte was always in charge when running Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide! Yes, she was also a Texan too!

Productivity is also a trait in the highest performing Ad Agencies. They always spend more time focusing on the outputs that matter. They also remember what has differentiated them and given them outstanding results and made them successful.

And, they are also absolutely drive to increase all the outputs and create campaigns that matter. They all focus obsessively over the most important services and products they deliver and spend most of their time working on them!

They all also set strict deliverables, set smart timelines and activities. Importantly, they use their diaries and never miss a deadline!

Educational Mindset is another trait that is hugely important in winning more New Business. It simply means that successful Ad Agencies must have, as part of their culture, the skills and willingness to educate and teach others. This has great relevance when it comes to understanding what ALL the issues are and in understanding their impact for both agency and clients alike.

It’s also critical to educate yourself, your team, your clients and even your prospects. If you educate and teach others, you will also be creating trust, respect and knowledge.

It’s also important to remember, when you are prospecting and selling, you need to understand the issues confronting the target audience, how the issues impact them and how to quantify them.

Additionally, the best New Business & Growth Experts and Agencies divide their time/effort in these key areas during New Business:

  • Research – 20% of time

  • Marketing – 8% of time

  • Prospecting – 70% of time

  • Selling – 2% of time

Bottom-line, Cold Calling, reaching out to prospects that you haven’t built trust or relationships with, is just not effective in 2018. (In fact, it’s the least effective it has ever been.)

Ad Agencies and New Business Directors need to have a ‘mental shift’. They need to stop trying to sell and move to educating their prospects and industry, so they can learn and grow. The best and most effective Ad Agencies must learn the best processes, best solutions; learn more about websites, CRM, Marketing Automation, Content Positioning and building and enhancing ‘Chemistry’!

Importantly, educate yourself, your team and your prospects AND, plaster your Agency’s positioning everywhere! E.g. websites, marketing brochures, videos, social media marketing, books, etc.

Successful Ad Agencies have immense Clarity regarding themselves, their clients and what the future holds for their clients and industry. I have seen time and time again, the best Ad Agencies have clarity of vision and consistently set clear intentions for the day, week, month, quarter and year to win at every stage.

The best performing agencies also enter every new business pitch thinking and feeling what they want to achieve from that meeting or pitch. What they want to get from the meeting and how they will influence and contribute to that business.

The best Ad Agencies and New Business teams understand all the steps along the path to achieving success. They bring enthusiasm, energy, connection and satisfaction and intention. They listen to their prospects and think about what their prospects hears. Energy as well as Clarity are critical to success and the best Ad Agencies all know this!

Energy & Persistence – The highest performing Ad Agencies always ask for the business at the close of every session. That’s why both clarity as well as energy in meetings, activities enables them to anticipate positive outcomes from each action. The best and most successful Ad Agencies are always positive, grateful and have a vibrant focus.

Building a Legacy – After 30 years of being in the Advertising business, I have come to believe that the highest performance agencies have all had leaders that understood and surrounded themselves with others who shared the same ongoing goals and vision of continuing success.

Whether it was Keith, Charlotte, Mo or Jo, Jay Chiat or others, they all had guiding principles, immense courage, took risks, genuinely cared about advancing others and establishing traditions that could be passed down over generations.

“Your story is the greatest legacy that you will leave to your friends. It’s the longest-lasting legacy you will leave to your heirs.” —Steve Saint

One only has to look at the Legacy of David Ogilvy passed down. In fact, his passion for advertising was infectious and I shared his passion and religion! I also learned traits from other amazing Advertising Leaders over the years:

  • Maintain integrity at all costs
  • You must risk in order to gain
  • Consider others’ interests as important as your own
  • Life is best lived in service to other

The most successful Ad Agencies in New Business today, all have and work exceptionally hard to have extraordinary habits. They all strive to create powerful business and marketing plans, target their best prospects, use and understand the importance of market research, stay in contact regularly with prospects and clients, and they all follow up.

Importantly, they all maintain a competitive advantage, manage their time efficiently and effectively, and understand their clients and their personality types.


Some days and weeks the magic of high performance habits and everything flows. But. If the path gets a bit rocky, remember to keep your growth mindset, don’t react emotionally, resign, storm out or even take in personally, instead step back, analyze the situation and make a new game plan so you can move on with grace and confidence. I know you will all be more successful and win more New Business by building these traits into your game plan.


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Super Strategist for the Fortune 500 – Geoff is a leading international expert on new business development, brand marketing, innovation, and growth. He has also directly assisted hundreds of Fortune 500 brands and clients generate billions in new business revenue from North America to Asia to Europe, South America and Australia/Oceania.

Geoff has successfully built businesses, agencies, opened offices worldwide, saved companies and helped clients generate billions of dollars of revenue and growth with their brands. 

Geoff is passionate about the art of influence, new business and presentation. His techniques can help you communicate and lead more effectively. As a global marketer, coach and workshop leader, Geoff makes mastering these advanced skills an enjoyable and achievable process. His sound business acumen and results driven approach have made him a trusted business advisor to many of the world’s leading organizations and their senior executives.

Geoff works with business leaders to ignite their courage and confidence so they can step up and step out in the way they engage people and communicate their leadership style. He is in high demand with CEO’s, CMO’s, directors, corporate executives and senior managers for his expert counsel and guidance in creating strategies for face-to-face communications and integrated global campaigns that are engaging and delivered with confidence and passion to key stakeholders.

Want to win more new business, grow faster and increase your revenue? Then get chemistry on your side. For more information, contact Geoff De Weaver at or DM me on Twitter at: or call me at: +61 411 224 961



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