Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

April 27, 2022

We have a new website, our fourth iteration in what is now our seventh year.


I’d like to say it’s been a labour of love but sadly it hasn’t. There has been little pleasure in the process – it’s been on our ‘to do' list for far too long and has been continually de-prioritised as client work has, quite rightly, come first.  


We have also been guilty of over-thinking it, wanting it to be perfect, when in reality all websites are never finished and should be a living, breathing thing.  


The prolonged process also reminded me why we stopped providing websites for clients some time ago – I’m painfully aware of too many instances when a website project has overrun because the client kept changing their mind.


So I’m delighted it’s finally here.  And I’m in no rush to see our fifth iteration!


No longer providing websites was a pivotal moment for us.


As a fledgling agency, we would happily say “yes” to the question “can you also do this for us?”…and it served us well in those early years. However, as we grew in breadth, we lost focus and spread ourselves too thinly.  So we took the decision to start saying no and focusing on what we’re brilliant at – creating demand for our clients through creative storytelling and campaigns.  The team regularly hear me say that we’re a creative agency, not a technical agency, and that it’s no one person or team’s responsibility to be creative – we all are.


And that’s why we protect our creativity fiercely; it’s our currency.  Our job is to come up with ideas for our clients and translate those ideas into attention-earning content, communicated at the right time and in the right place. It takes skill to develop concepts that are engaging, relevant and understandable and that deliver results.


Most of the time, this skill is respected and recognised accordingly.  


However, we can sometimes pitch ideas that for whatever reason, we’re told are not right…and then, voila, those same ideas appear a little while later, attributed to someone else.  


We’ve recently encountered a few examples of our work being used, or copied, without any acknowledgement or permission (it’s even more galling when other agencies shamelessly copy what we’re doing).  It’s not the first time, nor will it be the last. And we're by no means the only agency to experience our pitch work appearing elsewhere – it’s common throughout the industry.


But that doesn’t mean it’s right.  


I tried to explain it to my 10-year old daughter when she overheard me telling her dad  about a recent example.  I told her that as frustrating as it is, we should be flattered because it means that what we’re doing is really good.  This resonated with her as she told me about a girl in her class copying her drawing in their art lesson.  Her conclusion was that it wasn’t fair because it was her idea but that their teacher didn’t know that.


And she’s right – it doesn’t seem fair.  But as I explained to my daughter, there is nothing to be gained by feeling sorry for ourselves (and in the context of current  world events, I feel uncomfortable even saying it).  We can hold our heads high, take pride in the way we conduct our own business, and take even more pride in the work we’re doing…which is clearly brilliant.