April 18, 2017

By Gonzalo López Martí - Creative director, etc. / LMMiami.com

  • When I started my little ad agency -ok ok, my boutique- a client of mine said to me: “An agency? Another one? In Miami? Really?”
  • It wasn’t as sarcastic as it sounds.
  • In fact, she was truly concerned about me.
  • She thought I was a bit nutz.
  • In her buttoned-up corporate mind, I was kinda craizay to drop out of a cushy job with a large advertising conglomerate in order to hole up in a sparsely lit and dubiously ventilated yet oh so hipsterized nook of low rent office space.
  • In her humble opinion, another ad agency was and is the last thing the world needs.
  • Particularly in a crowded marketplace like the US eastern seaboard.
  • Fair enough.
  • For instance, if you were to open a restaurant, where would you do it?
  • Of course, you’d search for an underserved zip code.
  • An area devoid of dining options where, as per marketing’s cold logic, your establishment would be conveniently removed and sheltered from pesky competitors only to be welcome and populated by hungry patrons with undisputed open arms.
  • Paradoxically, reality dictates otherwise: the best place to open a restaurant is next to another restaurant.
  • If possible, next to lots of other restaurants.
  • The same reason why shopping malls have food courts.
  • These clusters become big synergistic magnets of patrons.
  • And talent.
  • The customers that can’t find tables at the hot restaurants in high demand naturally gravitate to the less sought-after competitors in the vicinity.
  • Plus, from a logistical standpoint, it becomes easier and more efficient to deliver supplies and discard waste.
  • It just so happens that, as counterintuitive as it may sound, the good ol’ Cosa Nostra cardinal rule applies to marketing too: keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
  • Ocean Drive anyone?
  • Yeah, parking can be a nightmare.
  • For some odd reason though, customers find it reassuring when finding a parking spot or booking a decent table is an uphill battle.
  • Crowds tend to believe in, you guessed it, the wisdom of crowds.
  • That’s why the best place to open a theater in New York City is Broadway.
  • Silicon Valley.
  • Wall Street.
  • Surprisingly enough, competitors end up becoming collaborators.
  • Yup.
  • There’s safety in numbers.
  • And opportunity.
  • Business thrives in clusters.
  • Promiscuity.
  • Most industries operate like groups of stray cats in an alley: they might sound like they are fighting but they are in fact mating.
  • A clusterf*ck in the very best sense of the word.
  • Let’s call it “clusterluck” (wink wink nudge nudge) for the sake of coining a catchy corporate jargon-friendly neologism.
  • Forgive me for stating the obvious and using some off-color clichés (ironically of course).
  • I’m doing so with a rhetorical purpose.
  • To be continued next week.


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