Why a seven-inch Media Week trophy makes you walk two feet taller

A year ago, we fulfilled a lifetime professional ambition of winning Media Week's Agency of the Year. And what a night (and next few days) it was.

In fact, what a year it’s been. Our best ever.

Fast-forward to this Thursday evening at the Grosvenor House Hotel and our bid to do the double and retain the diminutive trophy that means so much.

Only MediaCom and Carat have successfully done the double in recent history and as far as we can tell no independent agency has ever achieved it.

We’re under no illusion that it’s going to be one hell of a challenge.

I’m reliably informed by those who know that retaining a title is harder than winning it in the first place, and this year I’m sure will be no different.

Goodstuff is up against the very best of UK media – Manning Gottlieb OMD, MediaCom, OMD UK, PHD and the7stars.

All of them have, like us, had a strong past 12 months and (putting industry adulation to one side) each agency will have its own personal reasons why this award would mean so much.

But who cares and why does it matter so much?

Why do agencies enter in the first place?

Why do those who don’t make the shortlist feel so aggrieved?

Why do those who make the shortlist spend so much time and money on putting on their best pitch during a full day of judging in front of a panel of media owners and marketers?

And why do those who don’t win on the night give the judges such a hard time (apparently)?

After all, there’s no income or clients attached to it.

All agencies will have their own version of this but for Goodstuff, having proudly held the title for the past year, Media Week Agency of the Year matters because:

It’s the ultimate litmus test of who’s got it right

The industry is full of change, challenge and questions from clients, opinion formers and outside investors who are looking for clues as to what the future media agency might look like.

It helps the agency walk two feet taller

Putting the obvious benefits two feet would add to my height to one side, this award enables the agency to walk a bit taller. As an external endorsement of the work the whole agency is doing it further lifts morale, retention and with it our work for clients.

It provides a leadership platform

With Agency of the Year success comes a licence to lead the industry around the areas the agency is passionate about. Observers are rightly interested in your point of view and willing to hear you out.

In our case, that’s creativity, collaboration and entrepreneurialism of which Startstuff, Showcase, Age of Independence and the Independents’ Day video collaboration are probably our best examples. 

Whatever the motivation for each agency, winning will mean the world to them and we wish everyone the best of luck.

As for Goodstuff, whatever the result, It’s All Good.

Andrew Stephens is a founding partner of Goodstuff Communications and one of the judges for Sales Team of the Year at Media Week Awards 2018

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