Celebrate, embrace change: Teplitsky

Marty TeplitskyVice-President,Executive Creative DirectorCommuniqueQ. What does it take to be an agent of change? A. It comes down to the fact that you look at the word 'change' as the most positive word in the English language.You look at it as...

Marty Teplitsky

Vice-President,

Executive Creative Director

Communique

Q. What does it take to be an agent of change?

A. It comes down to the fact that you look at the word ‘change’ as the most positive word in the English language.

You look at it as a word that’s to be celebrated and embraced. Some people think of change automatically as something that’s hard and difficult, and has a whole plethora of problems associated with it.

Everyone should take a hammer and challenge the status quo once in a while.

Q. How has the client-supplier relationship changed over the past couple of years?

A. What clients are looking for are ways to reach more specialized audiences. That’s why we’re seeing the rise of direct marketing companies and sales promotion companies.

Clients are looking for ways to increase customer satisfaction. They are looking at the different audiences in order to achieve this, not necessarily only communicating to that mass audience out there.

They are looking at their internal audiences. There are funds that are being transferred below the line to communicate ultimately with their customer through their internal audiences.

I would think that clients are initiating a lot of that kind of change, the reason being is related to expenditure of communication funds, versus the impact they are getting.

You have heard about the much-quoted wake-up call from [Labatt Breweries president] Hugo Powell. Clients are saying my success is your success. Get in bed with me.

That is the only kind of relationship we’re going to want in the ’90s, because the bottom line is all that would matter to me in the end.

Q. When you enter a relationship with a client, how do you determine just how open they are to supplier-initiated change?

A. Let’s put it this way. If Coke, in the u.s., would go to an international California talent agency for their advertising, they are open to change.

If clients like MasterCard and Japan Camera would go to a company like Communique for integrated communications, as opposed to just advertising, they are open to change.

They are not just going from one large agency to another large agency. They are saying we want change by going to a supplier who by their very nature, their very structure, by their vision, really does radiate change.

They are saying they are open to change by choosing non-traditional supply sources for their marketing expenditures.

Q. How important to the process of change is understanding your client’s business?

A. It’s tantamount.

We just started a relationship with one client, who on the first day the account was awarded, gave us an office in their building that we will work out of when we are there.

They have given us all their products to utilize and become familiar with. Every relevant business trip they go on, they take us along. It’s almost as if we are on their payroll.

It goes back to what I said before. Their success is our success. That is the ideal relationship.

Q. From where do you get your inspiration?

A. I get my inspiration from my peers, ultimately. The great work that’s done in this country, the international work, and those industry annuals, I really relish those.

I also get it from unexpected areas. This is going to sound corny, but my children inspire me. I have two little girls, [aged] eight and five. Children inspire a creative level in you to reach new heights and look at life differently every day.

I also get inspiration from great companies and great individuals. I just read something on Microsoft and Bill Gates, and it just knocked me out, how certain business leaders effect change and bring something new to the party continually.

Q. How do you stay on top of trends in your field?

A. I’m a voracious magazine reader. I’m a seriously ill television watcher. I also listen closely to language. I listen to how people speak and the nature of words and new words and what they mean.

Listening to music, looking at design, continually being aware of every facet of the communications industry – I look at things whether I’m interested or not.

You have to like the study of trends and new ideas to really keep on top. When you fall behind, you are really dead in the water. This is a business where what is new is right.

Q. What would be your advice to clients who have expressed dissatisfaction with their suppliers’ willingness and ability to initiate change?

A. I would tell them to break the boundaries. That you don’t solve problems the same old way. You don’t go from one large American conglomerate to another American conglomerate. You have to look at the non-traditional companies, the companies that are doing work differently.

We at Communique are not prisoners of time and space. We let the message determine the medium.

Some advertising agencies continually look at television commercials to solve a marketing problem, when the right solution might be a party at the manufacturing plant for the people who work there or some kind of a conference for the sales staff.

There are different ways to communicate and select the right audience. So the medium is determined by what the proper message is.