Bill Cosby once said: “The very first lawin advertising is to avoid the concrete promise and cultivate the delightfullyvague.” Godfrey Morley, new Group Managing Director of FCB South Africa, woulddisagree with him.
There’s nothing vague, delightfully orotherwise, about this man’s views on what will give South Africa’s largest advertisingagency in terms of revenue, the edge in what is a notoriously competitiveindustry. And he doesn’t shy away from making promises or takingresponsibility. “The FCB philosophy sums it up: creativity ahead of everything– except accountability,” he explains.
“What that tells you is that it’s not aboutcreativity just for creativity’s sake,” says Morley. “As a brand and corporateleader, we are accountable to the client, responsible for meeting theirobjectives. That’s on a business level.
“On a personal level, ‘creativity ahead ofeverything – except accountability’ means we’re accountable to the people whowork for us, in that we need to create an environment that allows them to bethe best they can be. We want to attract miraculous people, who performmiracles for our organisation and our clients. You can imagine how proud I amto be a player in such a responsible and creative team,” he says.
Excellence in creativity, accountabilityand miracle people has made a good recipe for FCB’s success.
Morley joined FCB South Africa in Februarythis year after a career in corporate sales and marketing – as Group MarketingDirector for Samsung Electronics (2004) and before that, Marketing Director forMcDonald’s South Africa(2001).
Looking back on his career, he battles topick out one highlight or defining moment. “All the career choices I’ve madehave been a series of building blocks. The challenges I faced in each newposition and how these helped me to grow are all highlights. It has really beenabout growth.”
In an industry that he describes as beingabout people, these are attributes that will come in handy. With such pressureto achieve consistent excellence in that slippery, hard-to-pin-down thingcalled creativity, it’s an industry where people frequently fail, and a goodleader needs to know how to deal with that.
In dealing with failure, in himself andothers, Morley says: “One of the qualities I’m glad to have is introspection –when I fail, I have the ability to reflect on the reasons for that failure. Inothers, it helps to remember that most times when people fail it’s not out ofmalice. Before I react, I remember that failure is hardly ever intentional.There’s an opportunity in every adversity and you can see the potentialnegative of failure as a positive chance to grow.”
If there’s growing to be done, here’s a manwho is up to the challenge.