Monday, April 18, 2011

Who We Are

“You need to be a jack of all trades.”

"Better to be a master at one thing than mediocre at many.”

“Just do it.”

Since this is tax day, I will share with you the most taxing issue I am facing of late: other people’s opinions. And you thought the IRS is a pain in the ass.

As you know, I have NEVER once used this platform to outwardly promote our company, STIR-Communications. Today, I use it more as a reference, albeit ad nauseum, and with the less than subtle attempt to express our overarching virtues and modesty, which is only surpassed by our unequalled skills, which is only surpassed by our modesty.

Our company’s approach to the practice of strategic public relations, advertising and marketing can best be summed up in the words of R. Buckminster Fuller, the American architect, author, designer, inventor, and futurist. In his book, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth (1969), he writes:

“If…nature required man to be a specialist she would have made him so by having him born with one eye and a microscope attached to it. What nature needed man to be was adaptive in many if not any direction…Mind apprehends and comprehends the general principles governing flight and deep sea diving, and man puts on his wings or his lungs, then takes them off when not using them. The specialist bird is greatly impeded by its wings when trying to walk. The fish cannot come out of the sea and walk upon land, for birds and fish are specialists.”

Like Buckminster, STIR-Communications eschews the concept of specialization, while still being special. The common industry notion is that when an agency is smaller, it is more efficient to specialize in one industry. Hence, there is no shortage of boutique agencies specializing in food, technology, health care, home goods, social media, financial services, travel, fashion, beauty, or anything else you can imagine.

But, what is the true cost of such “efficiency”? We believe the cost is stagnant, uninspired and derivative work. Even worse, the agency becomes subservient to the industry or category itself and has to put its own reputation within the category above and beyond the reputation of its clients. Yawn!

If an agency specializes in one industry, then it has to always “play by the rules” of that industry. It has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, because the agency itself becomes the very epitome of the status quo. It can’t afford to rock the boat or ever challenge the conventions of the industry. It certainly can’t represent a client that is trying to do things differently, to innovate. After all, how would the firm’s other clients react to such heresy? In the end, boutique agencies simply can’t take risks. Clients may come and go, but once the agency loses its reputation, then all is lost.

An antidote to the traditional boutique agency, STIR-Communications is a multi-specialty boutique firm, working within a wide variety of different disciplines and industries. All agency members are required to work with a diverse client base, where they get broad and differentiated experiences. The result is fresh, original and creative programming, as well as big-idea development. It is this unique, boundary-less approach that makes STIR-Communications a “Circular Communications Agency,” and true “thought providers” (see last week’s blog).

Our industry and category agnostic approach allows us to put our clients first. At STIR-Communications, we don’t care if we challenge the conventional thinking of an industry … in fact, that’s what makes us get out of the bed each morning; or, because we are contrarian work directly from bed. That’s right, often we even eschew the office itself, since we have found the least amount of productivity is accomplished in a “working” setting.

As a result of this specialty (or we should say anti-specialty), we have come to realize that STIR-Communications is ideally suited to working with companies that value non-traditional thinking above and beyond specialization. As a result, the overwhelming majority of our clients tend to be industry challengers or innovators.

As a matter of fact, multi-specialization is not only beneficial to challengers, pioneers or iconoclasts, but really to any organization that needs to reach multiple constituencies simultaneously.

It’s no surprise that lots of companies need to communicate with different audiences. For example, a B2B company may need to reach out to enterprise customers, mainstream consumers, internal audiences, investors and the government all at the same time. If the company is big enough, it can hire multiple specialist agencies or hire a large global agency with multiple practice areas, essentially the same thing as hiring a bunch of smaller agencies—except they receive one very large invoice. But what about smaller to mid-sized companies or any company that can’t afford this option?

Don’t fret, my contact info is below.


Gregory Salsburg
Miami | New York | London
c: (561) 386-8064
o: (305) 407-1723

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