Agency Disease: Is there a cure after all?

Agency Disease. We’ve talked about it in great detail over the past couple of posts. What is it, and how do you know if you’ve got it? How do you live with it? But still hanging out there is one last question: Could there be a cure?

As we’ve discussed, Agency Disease is a disease of the ego. One that rears its head specifically when one fails to acknowledge that those of us privileged to work in this business are, first and foremost, in the service business. Yes, we’re in the marketing expertise business. Yes, we’re in the brand-building business. Yes, we’re in the market research and digital marketing and social media and public relations businesses. But we’re in the client service business first. When one of those other things takes precedence, you’re a carrier.

In part two of this series, I said there was no cure for Agency Disease. But I humbly submit that there is a cure, of sorts. It’s not a vaccine — unfortunately, I don’t believe there’s a one-and-done injection that will clear up all symptoms. In fact, the cure is not something you can dole out on an individual basis. The cure for Agency Disease is cultural. And like all cultural phenomena, it’s contagious — just as contagious as the disease itself, in fact. So the cure, albeit slow and imperfect, requires an agency’s leadership to rid themselves of the disease through whatever means necessary and then outwardly show signs of being Agency Disease–free. The antibodies, then, have a chance to “run downhill” — essentially infecting the rest of the team with the perspective and patience to follow suit.

Keeping the agency Disease-free is a choice we make every day. (Again, there is no vaccine.) It’s a tough fight against many of our selfish, all-too-human instincts. But to truly serve the needs of our clients, we must rise above those base instincts and seek to grow by serving others.

I, for one, am optimistic.

About Drew Jones

As the managing director of the Two Rivers Marketing creative team, Drew nurtures ideas into creative expressions that motivate. When he’s not at Two Rivers, you might find him along a trout stream in Siberian Russia. You can drop Drew a line at