DDA subscribes to several business practices and principles that direct everything we do. They are transparency, ethical conduct, and doing the right thing. The practice of these are both just good, sane, logical, and practical approaches to client and vendor relations and emotional, cerebral, and feel-good-about-yourself practices and beliefs that allows one to look himself or herself in the mirror each morning and sleep well at night.
Transparency. Transparency tools are woven into and heaped upon every advertising, branding, or marketing project we undertake. DDA TRAC (Time Resource and Accounting) is an in-house developed, Internet-based time tracking database tool. The result is that every hourly billed project including programming, logo design, graphic design, copywriting, photography, video, 2D and 3D animation, illustration, trade show displays, large format graphics, print design and print production for sell sheets, catalogs, brochures, flyers, direct mail, business cards, training portals and tools, CME design and development and even search engine optimization (SEO) is invoiced accurately. No time, not one minute is rounded up or added on, and every invoice is accompanied by a detailed minute-by-minute description of how the time was spent. On time, On budget, On TRAC every time.
Additional tracking and reporting tools abound. DDA’s search engine optimization (SEO) work has a series of metrics that perpetually report website visitation, usage, pathways, experience-based mapping, rankings, and much more. Website analysis means corporate websites can be better understood, improved, and managed. Online proofing development websites are assigned to each client and each project. Our clients see every project unfold, improve, and take shape, and their input is welcomed, requested, and insisted upon every step of the way.
Transparency is as much an attitude as it is a report or tool. At DDA, we believe that direct communication is the hallmark of a truly professional service-oriented vendor. We answer the phone, have project coordinators for each client, welcome questions and love client interaction. Every project is a blend of skills, expertise, information, and point-of-view provided by both the client and DDA. At DDA, the transparency is clearly better.
Ethical Conduct. DDA has always believed that ethics are not something that individuals bring to the job. They need to be molded into an entrenched, formalized, and definable set of values and goals that are postulated, institutionalized, and supported by the business organization. At DDA, they are!
A strong code of ethics is discussed, encouraged, and adhered to at DDA for a few reasons. There is an old European proverb that says, “The fish stinks from the head down.” Kind of quaint, but somewhat nauseatingly true. The leaders of any organization have, or should have, great influence over practices and policies throughout the organization. Frankly, we don’t want to work at a place that stinks. A strong code of ethics is also the best protection a business can have. Call it an ethical prophylactic of sorts. No truer an adage ever existed than, “What goes around comes around.” We treat clients, vendors, and colleagues as we wish to be treated and they return the favor. It is also human nature to encourage kindness by being kind, fairness by treating everyone fairly, and morality by being moral.
Finally, we practice ethical behavior at DDA because we want to feel good about ourselves. More than just sleeping well at night, behaving ethically, being scrupulously honest and always taking the moral approach to relationships, practices, and situations awards us a certain self-opinion that raises our standards and allows us to respect ourselves. Ethics, like transparency and honesty, are not a discipline we must be taught or a set of rules to be imposed, but rather a gift we give to ourselves.
Doing the Right Thing. They say bad habits die hard. It should also be said that good habits are a laborious birth. At DDA, doing the right thing is NOT a matter of unlearning bad habits, but rather the articulated and dedicated practice of doing the right thing.
Example after example abounds of new agencies being formed by one or two account representatives who steal a few clients and set up a business of their own. The ease of doing this is enhanced by the fact that almost by definition, advertising agencies often don’t really do the marketing or advertising design and production themselves. Outside design and production houses, like DDA, serve the advertising agency industry by providing in-depth graphic design, photography, video production, 2D and 3D animation, programming, search marketing, copywriting, website design, ecommerce and other services. DDA provides them all.
A readily available source of design and production makes for an easy advertising agency business start-up. What is difficult is servicing the clients well over the long term and sustaining growth. What is wrong is the perpetuation of bad habits the founders of advertising agencies learned at their former place of employment and integrated into their new work process and client relationship procedures. In this way bad habits not only die hard, they are perpetuated and spawned. Some of the bad habits may have actually been more benign at the original advertising agency due to the large size, or specific nature of the clients and industries they serve. When transferred to a smaller, less capable environment, they can mutate and become malignant.
Here’s the irony; the backgrounds of the founders at DDA are an organic mix of corporate marketing, B2B and B2C advertising, retail store and manufacturing ownership and general business management and consulting. NO advertising agency experience, no breakaway business start-up, no mutated process and poor client relationship habits. After more than a decade and a half of steady and sustained growth, innovation, and pioneering processes and procedures, DDA has all but reinvented the advertising agency. And, even after more than a decade and a half, DDA is still fresh, eager, energized, and creating new habits daily by always striving to do the right thing.