Collaboration = Stronger Together

November 14, 2022 | blog | By Mike Sullivan

One of my favorite sayings is an old quip attributed to both Mark Twain and Harry Truman that posits “it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t care who gets the credit.” Despite being a bit egalitarian for a business as competitive as advertising and marketing, there is an eloquent, hopeful wisdom to that thought. Up until the 1960s, advertising agencies were very much siloed into departments. Even within departments, the division of labor was strictly defined and carried out by admen (and a few women) who were fiercely protective of what they did and the role they played. Art directors and writers were often separated by floors, or even buildings. It wasn’t until Bill Bernbach ushered in a new era of collaboration putting creatives together that agencies really started to understand that 1 + 1 = 3.

Flash forward 60 years and once again the concept of collaboration is a topic of interest. Only this time, it’s not about collaboration within a single agency, but rather, collaboration between agency partners. In advertising past, agencies of record were agencies of record. If you had an account, you had the whole account. The strategy, the creative, the media – all of it. But in the past few decades, that has changed dramatically. Today, depending on the size of the account, a brand may have five different agencies handling five different areas of expertise. One agency handles strategy and creative while media firms handle media planning and buying. Promotional agencies do the promotions. Digital shops handle online and social. We are all fiercely competitive. But, as professionals, we get along fine for the most part.

The question on the table is, what would it look like to break down the barriers and all really work together on behalf of the brands we share?

Listen again to Harry. Amazing things can happen when you don’t care who gets the credit.

Golden collaboration.

For nearly a decade, The LOOMIS Agency has proudly counted Golden Chick as not just an agency client, but one of our favorites. A genuine challenger brand if there ever was one, in the past five years Golden Chick has grown from a moderate regional brand to a growing force of more than 200 restaurants in Texas, Oklahoma, Florida and Louisiana, with aggressive expansion plans to take their mouth-watering, golden chicken far and wide. Golden Chick has now pushed into the top half of Restaurant Business’s Top 500 List and was named a Next Gen brand by Nation’s Restaurant News. To say exciting things are happening with the brand is an understatement. And in large part, that’s because of the collective brain trust that Golden Chick has put together. In addition to LOOMIS, Golden Chick also partners with RBA, as well as The Power Group for PR, each an outstanding agency.

About three weeks ago, for the first time ever, we planned and led a Golden Chick brand summit where all three agencies came together with the Golden Chick marketing team. Together, we spent the day brainstorming literally hundreds of ideas for how to move Golden Chick forward on virtually every front from products and promotions to media and strategy. Each of six different groups working on their own two separate areas of focus during the day was comprised of at least one member from each of the four organizations. It was a fun, inspiring, incredibly productive day. And having led one of the groups, I can honestly say there was nothing territorial or reluctant about it. Collaboration and idea generation were the orders of the day and, together, we orchestrated an amazing volume of ideas for a brand we all love and are working hard to build.

Better together.

According to the 2022 RSW/US Survey of Agencies, 46 percent of agencies asked said the new business they won in 2021 involved collaboration with an in-house agency. And knowing that, it’s fair to assume that in-house agency will maintain some role in the relationship moving forward.

Whether it’s the brand’s own in-house agency team, or another outside independent, more and more, agencies of record find themselves in a position of collaboration.

With the right mindset, here’s why that’s a good thing.

We trade in a world of ideas. They are the lifeblood of every advertising agency, design shop, digital firm, and media company — and more ideas are always better than fewer ideas. That’s not to say all ideas are created equal. They’re not. But even weaker ideas can spark a stronger one when someone else hears them. We all build our companies with smart, capable people who do outstanding work. But it would be a bit myopic to believe that precludes great work being done other places. .

If we are all focused on delivering meaningful results for the clients we serve, why should collaboration be a threat? It’s a gift —to see how your capabilities stack up in a friendly, but competitive setting. To validate that you’ve built the company you think you’ve built. And most of all, to make good ideas even better, by any means necessary. If we’re all doing our jobs well, our clients succeed and we get to keep doing what we love.

Show me the downside in that.

MIKE SULLIVAN is president and CEO at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency and a top Dallas advertising agency for digital, social, mobile and user experience. For more about challenger branding, advertising, and marketing, leadership, culture, and other inspirations that will drive your success, visit our blog BARK! The Voice of the Underdog and catch up on all of our posts.

For more about LOOMIS, or to discuss how we can help your company succeed, CLICK HERE

ad agencyadvertisingadvertising agencybuying into culturechallenger brandchallenger brand marketingchallenger brandingchallenger brandscollaborationcompany cultureMike SullivanThe Voice of The Underdogtop 10 Dallas Ad Agency

Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


We challenge underdog brands to think differently. We help them find their voice, and urge them to blaze new trails to make sure they stand out from the pack. Whether you need an agency of record or support on a project, we are here to help you win.