An agency executive needs to command the same respect that a client affords his attorney, that a patient awards his doctor and that a business owner accords his consultants.
Where, in other words, the client knows nothing about the rules of evidence, the burden of proof, the examination of witnesses and the testimony of court-appointed experts; and where a patient would never (or almost never) be so presumptuous as to prescribe the frequency and intensity of multiple rounds of radiation treatment for lung cancer, or refuse anesthesia, remove the scalpel from a surgeon’s hand and perform his own vivisection; and where a CEO would rarely question the financial acumen of a team of forensic accountants and former IRS auditors, this same executive is (not surprisingly) a know-it-all about branding, messaging, marketing and advertising.
He exercises his power like a corporate tyrant, with a neutered board of directors unable to do anything but whimper or walk away in silence and disgrace, while this newfound master of copywriting and product development — this client from the lower rungs of Dante’s hellish inferno — rejects, dismisses and degrades proposed media plans and national promotional campaigns, as he leaves an agency’s creative forces — the lifeblood of a firm’s identity and collective self-confidence — without an iota of constructive feedback or an ounce of perceived value.
Let that client try that behavior in a civil deposition with a state attorney general.
Let that patient attempt to pull rank with a Harvard M.D., who is board certified in cardiothoracic medicine and trauma surgery.
Let him even think of criticizing this recipient of citations from seven different medical boards in New England.
Let him dispute the godlike power of this physician, who is also never, ever sick at sea.
So, when that same client, who is an unlicensed trial lawyer and a symbol of medical malpractice, seeks to have his way with a marketing or advertising agency — all the time, and all the way — bid him a fast, and curt, adieu.
And do not forget to bill him for your time.