‘The really big threat to our industry is confidence’: Clemenger CEO Nick Garrett

Confidence is a big threat to adland, as an increasingly conservative industry struggles under the weight of its fear of failure, Clemenger CEO Nick Garrett has warned.

During a panel at Mumbrella’s NeXt awards, Garrett told a room full of media and marketing industry up-and-comers: “The really big threat to our industry is confidence.”

“You guys should be confident, you’ve got so many amazing things to look forward to and you’ve got a brilliant future ahead of you.”

Mumbrella’s State of the Industry survey, which was presented alongside the NeXt awards, revealed that almost half of respondents thought Australian media and marketing was becoming more conservative.

When asked if he thought creative agencies or marketers were to blame for this, Garrett replied: “If you point fingers at any other part of the industry, you’re in trouble, aren’t you?

“If a creative agency points the finger at the media [agency] or client then it’s going to be a complete spiral downwards.”

Garrett: ‘We’re becoming more conservative’

However the creative agency boss admitted he thought the industry was becoming more conservative.

“We’re becoming more conservative because the world’s become more conservative, the Australian government’s becoming more conservative, business is becoming more challenging and complex.

“There’s lots of reasons, I don’t think anyone wakes up in the morning and goes ‘woohoo, I’m going to be more conservative today, best thing ever!'”

“People are nervous about making a difference, people are nervous about having a swing at something,” he said. “We know that there’s a failure culture in our world, not a success culture or a growth culture. If we take that off our shoulders then we’re going to stop being conservative.”

He paraphrased ex-Google exec Maile Carnegie, saying: “You’ve got to take a left or a right path. There is going to be a frozen middle, but that’s my generation, that’s not your generation.”

“You’re either going to be really creative and strategic on one side of the equation, or you’re going to be really really technical and operational. People that can be both those things – and your generation should be – you’re going to be deeply successful and amazing.”

The CEO told the audience to “make your day job count”, and warned against mediocracy and getting “caught in the middle.”

“Don’t be the relationship person, don’t be the person that pushes a load of paper aside. Use every moment of your day to do something productive, brilliant, and hopefully you love what you do, and if you do, you’re going to be really successful. I don’t think it’s that much more complicated.”


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