10 THINGS MAD MEN TAUGHT ME ABOUT BUSINESS

10 things Mad Men taught me about business
1. Research is everything.
Research I believe is the holy grail of information. It has the problems and the solutions to everything you need, you just have to read, find the clues and solve the puzzle. I believed in this before Mad Men but they just showed me the power of Research in the most glamorous 60’s way they could! 
2. If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation. 
This is possibly one of the, if not the biggest take out from the series for me. You will not always be everyone’s favorite. There will be people who will be bad-mouthing you either because they’re competition, or because they’re jealous. Either way, if you want them to stop, change the conversation. Give them something new to talk about. It is better that you control the conversation rather than the conversation controlling you. 
3. Stand your ground.
Don’t be a Yes man. Most times people think that because they know the problem they know the solution. If that was the case, clients would never need agencies, right? The problem is that people sometimes see only a symptom of the problem. Solving that symptom is not solving the problem. The problem still exists. This is where it is important to find the reason behind the problem. Solve it and then stand your ground. It’s not always easy. Clients will want you to just agree with them and give them what they want. This doesn’t help you or them. It doesn’t help them because you are not solving their problem and it doesn’t help you because when “your solution” didn't work they will not trust you and therefore not work with you again. 
4. Presentation is everything. 
How you present is almost as important as what you’re presenting. I know the flip side is that a great product sells by itself but the problem with our industry is that we are not selling products! We are selling ideas! They are concepts you cannot touch and feel and take for a test drive. It is the way it makes you feel, the way it sounds, the way it will come to life. And for this, it is imperative to make people imagine. Make them see the picture you are seeing. Give them context because content without context has no meaning. 
5. Look sharp. Always!
This needs no explanation
6. Do what’s right in the moment.
You can’t predict the future. Remember that time Sterling Cooper lost Lucky Strike? Everyone was talking about it. Don didn’t like what was being said, so he changed the conversation. He gave everyone something new to talk about – his article to the Times. He used a crisis to put Sterling Cooper on the map. Showed the world they were not afraid and would not back down from a fight. That they were not out of business. That they were there to stay.  Also, he used that for CSR so win-win! 
7. Know your worth.
Everything in life has a price. Monetary or otherwise. Let’s talk only monetary for this blog’s purposes. A good co-relation I believe is the hotel industry. There are hundreds of options for hotels. You could live in a 1/2/3/4/5 star hotel or a guesthouse or an Airbnb. Everything comes at a certain price. You cannot expect to live in a 5-star hotel for the same price as living in someone’s guest room, right? Similarly, there are grades of quality in every industry. Don’t expect our quality at the price of a 1$ Logo shop. There is a lot of time, effort and process that goes behind our work, if you can’t afford it, move on. Too often clients try to squeeze us in their budget and often their argument entails that they want something very simple or it won’t require that much time. Well, to people like this just say no. Know that there’s a market out there for you that understands your value. Walk away from these energy vampires! 
8. Be relentless.
Remember how Don Draper landed his job? He was a struggling Fur coat seller who wanted to get into the Advertising world. Even after Roger telling him no more than one time, Don showed up. We’re still not sure if Roger hired Don after he got drunk as Roger didn’t remember hiring Don and the show never showed us what really happened but guess what? Don Draper got what he wanted ;) 
9. Listen to the customer.
This is where the Research point makes sense. We live in a world of bias. Whenever any information is brought to light we immediately think whether we do it or not. If we do we take it as the truth but if we don’t many often fight it. Don’t! Listen to what people are saying. You may not be doing that because you are not the target market. Give customers what they want. Don’t tell them what you think they should want. 
10. Have a conversation.
By this in no way am I saying don’t be prepared. Talk to the client. There’s nothing better than the client feeling involved and thus buying into the idea. Too many times we agonize over the meeting and the pros and cons of what we’ve done, what the client might say etc. Don’t. If you truly believe you have a winning idea, let it speak for itself. All you’ve got to do is present it in the best way possible.  
Things I learnt never to do from Mad Men
Don’t drink on the job–it’s unprofessional and you never know what you’re doing or going to do. 
Don’t steal someone else’s idea–it just never works out and people do find out! 
Don’t just get up and leave–it’s simply disrespectful. 
Don’t think you are the smartest person in the room–you may or may not be. If you are, great! If you aren’t, you’re screwed!  
Don’t let the past dictate your future–you can’t control the past but you can stop it from ruining your future! 
Stop with the arrogance–you’re great at your job, awesome! So is someone else. If you’re not a pleasant person to work with they will go to someone else, if not now, eventually! 

Written by Sanchari Ghosh 

A cross-fitter, rock climber and aspiring kite-surfer. Loves blending analysis and creativity to solve problems. Hates losing more than loves winning. Always gets the job done on time. Sanchari is a Brand Consultant at Fludium, a Dubai-based strategic branding agency.

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