Stan Richards pens letter to adland consultants on bi-coastal bias

The Richards Group CEO speaks up for agencies in often-overlooked middle America.

Stan Richards, founder of Dallas-based agency The Richards Group, wrote a letter to consultants last week about bi-coastal bias and how being an agency in the middle of the country has its benefits, Campaign US has learned.

"From what potential clients are telling us, their experiences with agencies in New York or Los Angeles or San Francisco have yielded work that flies over the heads of what people call the flyover states. Not because the population in the middle of America doesn’t understand the advertising, but because they don’t connect with it," according to the memo obtained by Campaign US.

The note goes on to say that The Richards Group’s ability to connect with brands across the country may have something to do with being in the middle of the U.S.

"Or maybe it’s the result of spending decades talking with people who stay at Motel 6, take on projects for their homes with The Home Depot, put in an honest day of work with their Ram trucks, or live in the rural communities that rely on DISH Network for their entertainment and news," Richards wrote.

No, The Richards Group doesn’t have a coast or an ocean-view, Richards continues in the memo, but what it does seem to have is "a better view of America in the eyes of those who are reaching out. And that’s a view that never grows old."

See the letter in full below.


July 23, 2018

Dear _______,

Over the past several months, I’ve noticed an interesting trend in the calls we’re getting about potential client engagements. There’s a geographic skew that, at times, used to work against us and is now, for whatever reason, working in our favor.

We have no coast.

From what potential clients are telling us, their experiences with agencies in New York or Los Angeles or San Francisco have yielded work that flies over the heads of what people call the flyover states. Not because the population in the middle of America doesn’t understand the advertising, but because they don’t connect with it.

We all know that making a connection is what branding is all about in the first place. You’ve often heard me say that the response we’re trying to evoke from our clients’ intended targets, after they see our work, goes like this:

I like what you said.
I like how you said it.
I like you.
Let’s do business.

If we can elicit that response, we’ve made a connection on behalf of our clients’ brands that becomes the cornerstone of brand preference and, consequently, sales and share growth.

Honestly, I don’t know if it comes from being in the middle of the country. Maybe it does. Or maybe it’s the result of spending decades talking with people who stay at Motel 6, take on projects for their homes with The Home Depot, put in an honest day of work with their Ram trucks, or live in the rural communities that rely on DISH Network for their entertainment and news. In any case, we appreciate the opportunity to continue those conversations on behalf of the new brands who come our way.

But that response we set out to evoke is universal – the people who buy luxury brands (Sub-Zero, for example) or are financially conversant (e.g., Charles Schwab customers) or enjoy a night out at an upscale restaurant (Ruth’s Chris comes to mind) are no less in need of a true connection than anyone else.

So, no, we don’t have a coast.

While that puts us at a significant disadvantage from an ocean-view perspective, it seems to give us a better view of America in the eyes of those who are reaching out.

And that’s a view that never grows old.

Best,
Stan Richards

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