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Quotebank: Business

Find the quote you need for a presentation or a speech from the list below. You can always suggest new quotes or additional subjects for quotes by emailing enquiries@warc.com

When people ask me what 'Chairman Emeritus' means, I tell them it’s Latin for 'We don’t need him any more.'

– Keith Reinhard, chairman, DDB

If they started by saying you have to prove to me this has a 90 percent chance of success, they'd never invest in anything.

– Guy Hamel, academic, business writer and consultant

Advertising is not being broadly seen for what it really is, namely, the single most powerful tool to produce profitable sales growth and to increase brand value. The purpose of creativity is to enhance the ability of advertising to actually sell.

– Brendan Ryan, ceo, FCB (view source article)

All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgarise that society. We can brutalise it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level.

– Bill Bernbach, advertising pioneer and founder of DDB

An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn't happen today.

– Laurence J Peter, academic

Business is not financial science, it's about trading.. buying and selling. It's about creating a product or service so good that people will pay for it.

– Anita Roddick, founder, Body Shop

Chances are that neither the client nor the agency will ever know very much about what role the ad has played in sales or profits of the client, either short-term or long-term.

– Michael Schudson, US sociologist

Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.

– Steuart Henderson Britt, US author

Emotion. Passion. Ideas. Simplicity. These are the big things that big business needs from its creative agencies. No one else is going to provide these essential elements for business.

– Kevin Roberts, ceo, Saatchi & Saatchi (view source article)

Experience has taught me that advertisers get the best results when they pay their agency a flat fee. It is unrealistic to expect your agency to be impartial when its vested interest lies wholly in the direction of increasing your commissionable advertising.

– David Ogilvy, advertising pioneer and founder of Ogilvy Group

Hollywood has its Oscars. Television has its Emmys. Broadway has its Tonys. And advertising has its Clios. And its Andys, Addys, Effies and Obies. And 117 other assorted awards. And those are just the big ones.

– Joanne Lipman, US journalist

I honestly believe that advertising is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

– Jerry Della Famina, US advertising executive

I never get the accountants in before I start up a business. It's done on gut feeling, especially if I can see that they are taking the mickey out of the consumer.

– Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group

If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.

– David Ogilvy, advertising pioneer and founder of Ogilvy Group

If I were starting life over again, I am inclined to think that I would go into the advertising business in preference to almost any other. The general raising of the standards of modern civilization among all groups of people during the past half century would have been impossible without the spreading of the knowledge of higher standards by means of advertising.

– FD Roosevelt, US president 1933-1945

If you ever have the good fortune to create a great advertising campaign, you will soon see another agency steal it. This is irritating, but don't let it worry you; nobody has ever built a brand by imitating somebody else's advertising.

– David Ogilvy, advertising pioneer and founder of Ogilvy Group

In advertising there is a saying that if you can keep your head while all those around you are losing theirs - then you just don't understand the problem.

– Hugh Malcolm Beville, Jr, US pioneer in broadcast research

In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.

– David Ogilvy, advertising pioneer and founder of Ogilvy Group

Let me give you one piece of reassurance. The day Saatchi & Saatchi puts risk management at the top of its agenda,you can be sure, like Elvis before me, that I will have left the building.

– Kevin Roberts, ceo, Saatchi & Saatchi (view source article)

The basic prescription for preventing deflation is straightforward, at least in principle: Use monetary and fiscal policy as needed to support aggregate spending, in a manner as nearly consistent as possible with full utilization of economic resources and low and stable inflation. In other words, the best way to get out of trouble is not to get into it in the first place.

– Ben Bernanke, chairman, US Federal Reserve

The business that considers itself immune to the necessity for advertising sooner or later finds itself immune to business.

– Derby Brown, author

To achieve success as a leader, one has to have the ability to develop visions, set clear goals, formulate strategies, align goals and objectives with the strategy and vision, engage in partnerships, invest in new, better and faster production plants, organize an efficient production process, etc. Nevertheless, this is insufficient – many leaders can accomplish these tasks.

– Anne Martensen and Lars Grønholdt, academics

Without passion, you don't have energy; without energy, you have nothing. Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.

– Donald Trump, US entrepreneur

You can't overestimate the need to plan and prepare. In most of the mistakes I've made, there has been this common theme of inadequate planning beforehand. You really can't over-prepare in business!

– Chris Corrigan, Australian businessman

Innovation today is much more than technology or new products and even more than just new products, technology or processes – like an orchestra, it is a balanced interplay and interaction of all these elements.

– Anupama Wagh-Koppar, vp and strategic planning director, JWT (view source article)

Customers must trust an organisation and its people.

– Tom Farmer, ceo, Kwik-Fit

A lot of people think big business in America is a bad thing. I think it's a really good thing. Most people in business are ethical, hard-working, good people. And it's a meritocracy.

– Steve Jobs, ceo, Apple

I think that the best companies are companies that have a real purpose.

– Marjorie Scardino, ceo, Pearson

The meek shall inherit the earth, but they'll never increase market share.

– William G McGowan, founder of MCI Communications

Every product has some element of service, and every service some element of product.

– Aubrey Wilson, UK marketing consultant

Innovation is everything. When you're on the forefront, you can see what the next innovation needs to be. When you're behind, you have to spend your energy catching up.

– Robert Noyce, co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel

Government caters to those screaming the loudest, regardless of what they’re screaming about. In business, it’s exactly the opposite! You invest more in the most successful departments, and less in those that aren't performing.

– Michael Bloomberg, US entrepreneur

No one can possibly achieve any real and lasting success or 'get rich' in business by being a conformist.

– J Paul Getty, industrialist

Politeness and civility are the best capital ever invested in business.

– PT Barnum, circus owner

You cannot build a reputation on what you are going to do.

– Henry Ford, US automotive pioneer

Executive: a man who makes quick decisions and is sometimes right.

– Frank McKinney Hubbard, US humorist, The Roycroft Dictionary, 1923

Retail is selling things that don’t come back to customers who do.

– Tony Farmer, British executive

Economics and ethics are not mutually exclusive.

– Lionel Tiger, Canadian anthropologist

The first law of economics is that when the price goes up, consumption comes down. This is a divine law.

– Ahmed Zaki Yamani, Saudi Arabian politician

One of the most important tasks of a manager is to eliminate his people's excuses for failure.

– Robert Townsend, US executive

Clients want agencies to be a cross between the vendor who does as they say, and the doctor who refuses to provide medicine that doesn't cure his patient.

– Alain Thys, managing partner of Futurelab (view source article)

Organic growth from current operations and incremental innovation is not usually sufficient for long-term survival. The growth rates will be stable, but probably not enough.

– Laura Morris, global account director, Nunwood Consulting Ltd (view source article)

In the 19th century China dominated the manufacture of porcelain. Then European factories discovered a cheaper method of making pottery of equal quality, demolishing the Chinese industry – the exact reverse of what is happening now. World economics have turned full circle.

– Sir Martin Sorrell, ceo, WPP Group (view source article)

It is time to recognise there is a strong case for the disestablishment of advertising as the de facto starting point for planning thinking and practice.

– John Griffiths, UK planner (view source article)

If you think about a corporation as a giant machine, you compartmentalise yourself, become a cog in its wheels, and attempt to move it through force by identifying leverage points to build a business. If you think about a corporation organically, then you become part of an ecosystem in which you compete to find your niche, and you grow business through patience and cultivation.

– Charles Young, founder and ceo, Ameritest (view source article)

Tracking account planning is rather like counting a mixed batch of tropical fish. You think you see patterns, but they've all changed by the time you've finished counting.

– Stephen King, former JWT executive (view source article)

Both agencies and research companies need to take responsibility for helping their clients create a more totalitarian regime. Some may ask: 'Do we really want to encourage some of our clients to get in touch with their despotic side?' But I say, better a despot who decides, than a procrastinator who is never more definite than 'maybe'.

– Jon Steel, planning director, WPP (view source article)

Briefing your agencies is not a chance to pass the buck and sit back. A subtle blend of styles is required: information and inspiration; prescriptiveness and openness; and focus and dialogue.

– Merry Baskin, UK brand consultant (view source article)

There are really very few economies of scale in centralising or standardising advertising.

– Stephen King, former JWT executive (view source article)

Pitching can be a very time-consuming, frustrating, disheartening and expensive process. All too often, the unfortunate incumbent becomes the scapegoat for all the brand's problems.

– Merry Baskin, UK brand consultant (view source article)

Who are the agency conductors of the future? The clients? The aligned inter-agency team? The agencies that are positioning themselves as fully integrated? Or the consumer, in our increasingly consumer created world?

– Zaid Al-Zaidy, managing partner, Saint, from The Warc Blog

We start with our consumers and spend an exorbitant amount of time talking with them, trying to figure out what's driving them, finding out where they are and how they're changing things.

– Kathy O'Brien, vp/personal care, Unilever (view source article)

The point at which planning is today is not just being creative with what we have, but totally forgetting what we know and making things different from what we already have.

– Waqar Riaz, strategist, Rapp London, from The Warc Blog

No movie becomes a hit without good reviews and word-of-mouth. No agency ever became a great brand by merely saying it was great - in advertising or by any other medium.

– Shelly Lazarus, chairman/ceo, Ogilvy & Mather (view source article)

No longer will we be silent and complicit to the failings of logic and reason when it comes to the barriers that have prevented this great industry from genuinely reflecting diversity of race, ideas and experience; we promise to raise the battle-ax and help tear down the walls that keep us from the truth.

– Nancy Hill, president/ceo, 4A's (view source article)

The current model is broken. It's under attack from all sides, including within.

– Bryan Wiener, ceo, 360i (view source article)

Applying creative thinking to our clients' business strategy—this should be our industry's new core competency. And—in what is very good news for our industry—this kind of creativity, creativity that goes to the heart of business, is more in-demand than ever.

– Bob Schmetterer, Havas and Euro RSCG Worldwide (view source article)

It's relentless, brave agencies that win good clients. Agencies who know what they're in business to do, who have a clear point of view, and who've built their businesses from the ground up to be laser-focused on winning— be it in the marketplace or in the presentation room at some Holiday Inn Express off the interstate.

– Mark Goldstein, ceo, Fallon Worldwide (view source article)

It seems to me that in their natural anxiety for pre-determined results many advertisers are walking right past basic principles, which have been around for a long time, or after having gone as far as possible with research, either shy away from really great and daring ideas or pull their punches in the execution of them.

– Leo Burnett, founder, Leo Burnett Company (view source article)

Acquiring information is becoming easier and easier. It comes to you don't have to choose it. The challenge is to transform and integrate that information into a business process.

– Michael Bartl, ceo, HYVE (view source article)

Our business involves a process of rejection ... But you have to feel you can make mistakes and not get in trouble. That you can bounce back.

– Jeff Goodby, co-founder, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners (view source article)

Companies will be a part of sustainability, or they'll be bowled over by it.

– Adam Werbach, ceo, Saatchi and Saatchi S (view source article)

At the root of all sponsorship strategies is sound business planning.

– Karen Earl, chairman, Synergy Sponsorship Ltd (view source article)

It was tough when media companies were spun off from agencies. It's one of the things I hate. Separate is as separate does. It has to come back together.

– John Osborn, president/ceo of BBDO/New York (view source article)

If I had one dollar to invest. I'd invest it in service. That's where I'd get the best and biggest return.

– Joanne Bradford, ex-head of sales, Yahoo (view source article)

If we don't find a way to self-regulate, we will be regulated.

– Scott Howe, corporate vp, Microsoft (view source article)

We created a new kind of agency ... We had to retrain our people. But the corporations that will be successful will be those that are willing to change.

– Howard Draft, chairman/ceo, DraftFCB (view source article)

The advantage ad agencies have over digital specialists is that we tend to have lead relationships with clients, and we are called in a little earlier and on a more strategic long term basis.

– Tom Morton, planning director, TBWA\London (view source article)

To be relevant, we need to focus less on research and more on business; to show how and where to win.

– Donna Goldfarb, vp/consumer & market insights, Unilever Americas (view source article)

We need to get to kids who have no idea what we do. We need to open the doors wide and let them in. There are many undiscovered voices out there - voices that, against all odds, can rise up and enrich this culture and perhaps change the very nature of the marketplace for the better.

– Dan Wieden, co-founder, Wieden + Kennedy (view source article)

Like it or not, the walls of a corporation are becoming transparent. Customers, suppliers, and even critics, have the ability to reach inside the walls of a company and connect directly to employees at every level. Today, you have no choice. Every company must either be more open or risk being defined by others on the outside.

– John Winsor, Victors & Spoils (view source article)

There will be an enduring role for the 'soft' side of planning. The piece that deals with meaning, identity and ideas. This is the slightly intangible piece that creative agencies hold at their heart.

– John Woodward, global planning director, Publicis Worldwide (view source article)

Speed is the key strategic and insulating advantage. Every other strategy can be copied.

– Jason McDonell, vp/general manager for customer strategy, Frito-Lay (view source article)

Ideas are future cash flow for our companies: if you do an excellent job on innovation, you will drive the bottom line. The right ideas – focused on big economic levels and profit – equal success.

– Patrick Edson, vp/marketing innovation, MillerCoors (view source article)

You get the clients you deserve. But you have to recognize your limitations as part of your responsibilities to their business if you really expect to make a difference to their brand…. When something isn't working, it's okay to say, 'Stop!' and change everything. Learn to be fallible.

– Kristi VandenBosch, ceo, Publicis & Hal Riney (view source article)

Once upon a time, your only intent was to sell the brand. Not any more. Now you work for the people and they'll carry the brand.

– Jaime Cohen Szulc, cmo, Levi Strauss & Co (view source article)

The media agency model has been hit by a perfect storm ... We are chasing share in a broken system, rather than changing the system.

– Nick Manning, coo, Billetts (view source article)

We are ROI rigorous. But you can't get anywhere until you try something. You just do it and learn… take a portion of your budget and experiment.

– Jodi Allen, vp/North American Baby Care, P&G (view source article)

The biggest challenges aren't coming from the internet and new technology but rather from the different kinds of relationships customers will demand from companies. It will take more than sending colleagues to internet conferences to paper over the cracks.

– John Griffiths, UK planner (view source article)

Businesses are beginning to realise that becoming more sustainable can create new sources of competitive advantage, as well as achieving cost savings and stimulating innovation.

– David Whiting, sustainable business expert (view source article)

The human race has survived turbulence only through adaptation; the same goes for organisations.

– Derek Williams former md, Cadbury Schweppes (view source article)

Innovation without insight is failure.

– Mark Simmonds, Insight and Idea Development (view source article)

Major brands don't know what to do with happy customers. They make it hard for customers to say thanks and way too often companies don't celebrate and embrace customers' positive gestures.

– Paul Walker, GCI Group (view source article)

Business has still to embrace emotion as a leading indicator of future behaviour, let alone advertising effectiveness.

– Orlando Wood, innovation director, BrainJuicer (view source article)

More brand valuations, it appears, are commissioned for financial purposes than for marketing purposes.

– Janet Hull, IPA (view source article)

Facebook could be used by corporate executives to allow some business-decision dynamics - and even some personal information - to become "public." Two-way communications must be encouraged.

– Bob Deutsch, president, Brain Sells, from The Warc Blog

It is not sufficient to merely have social goals at the centre of the communication strategy. Authentic CSR stems from a way of doing business and is most powerful when it actively involves consumers.

– Liz Harrison, The Co-operative Group (view source article)

Co-creation is a slippery term. It has been used so widely and so loosely that it has virtually lost all meaning.

– Dr Sheila Keegan, Campbell Keegan (view source article)

When written in Chinese the word 'crisis' is composed of two characters, one represents danger and the other represents opportunity.

– John F Kennedy, US president

Diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and persuasions contribute to a more inspiring and creative environment - the kind that stimulates marketing processionals to produce the best work possible. Businesses that support inclusion set an example for their employees and positively influence society - at large - by broadly socializing the inherent value of diversity.

– Bob Liodice, president/ceo, ANA (view source article)

Market-led innovations is one of the top issues for B2B companies and gaining end-user insights is the largest perceived capability gap.

– Vivek Banerji, McKinsey and Company (view source article)

The concept of 'the line' came from a financial model that no longer exists – production funded from commission – yet it is still in use today.

– Mark Hunter, ceo, Molson Coors (view source article)

If cost is the focus of attention, then strategic thinking is superfluous.

– Jules Goddard, research fellow, Management Innovation Lab at LBS (view source article)

Why has corporate social responsibility failed so spectacularly to address the very issues it claims to be most concerned about?

– Dr Wayne Visser, founder and director, CSR International (view source article)

The paradox of success is you need to embrace failure to achieve it.

– John Kearon, BrainJuicer (view source article)

The greatest challenge of doing business across cultures and markets is the ability to localise products, services and ways of communication.

– Alexander V Shashkin, OMI, Russia (view source article)

The paradox of the 21st century economy goes like this: On the one hand, consumers are confronted with an ever-increasing amount of products and services; however, this complexity seems to generate more confusion than happiness. On the other hand, companies face an intensified global competition, which often leads to shrinking profit margins.

– Richard Gehling, Research International, Germany (view source article)

The benefits of a well-communicated 'vision' in the innovation process might mean the difference between approval and investment or a return to the drawing board – no matter how good the blueprints.

– Lucy Blakemore, Gravity Planning & Research, UK (view source article)

“Sense the market and respond” should be today's paradigm instead of the “invent in your laboratory and sell” philosophy of the production-led past.

– Andera Gadeib, Dialego AG, Germany (view source article)

One of the most effective and cost-efficient customer touchpoints is the sales force – yet salespeople are often unaware of what the brand positioning is, how it better meets customer needs than competitors and how to bring the brand experience to life.

– Ruth Saunders, managing partner, Galleon Blue (view source article)

The industry’s main source of inspiration, ideas and insights (people) has evolved. Today, people demand value from businesses. If they get it they will do anything for you – if they don’t, they won’t hesitate to do everything against you either.

– Waqar Riaz, strategist, Rapp London, from The Warc Blog

The best innovations are the result of uninhibited exploration and collaboration. The key tenet is that transformation requires taking risks and challenging conditions.

– Jim Forrest, svp, Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange (view source article)

The quest to do something great doesn’t change, but don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking that re-applying your previous successes is genuine greatness.

– Simon Law, executive planning director, True Worldwide, from The Warc Blog

It's been said that there are five kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, statistics, benchmarks, and delivery dates.

– Robert Passikoff, president, Brand Keys, Inc, from The Warc Blog

Getting consumers used to paying less for more makes it very difficult to compete and make a solid profit, unless you can really provide differentiation and value. But ultimately investing in what drives loyalty is where a brand can clean up.

– Robert Passikoff, president, Brand Keys, Inc, from The Warc Blog

If clients are from Mars, agencies are from Venus - namely, agencies respond well to the touchy-feely, emotional "thank yous" in life.

– Libby Child, ceo, APRAIS UK (view source article)

A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter – and getting smarter faster than most companies.

– Martin Oxley, BuzzBack Market Research (view source article)

Like Damocles, if you keep looking up at the sword hung above by the single thread of horsehair, you will only distract yourself from the profitable business in hand. That is looking after the brand.

– Peter Walshe, global account director, Millward Brown (view source article)

Don't get seduced by the next shiny thing, because you'll get caught up chasing shiny things and that will keep you from addressing what you really need to accomplish.

– Joseph V. Tripodi, chief marketing and commercial officer, Coca-Cola (view source article)

You as a marketer should lead change. If you do not lead change, your partners won't lead change. If you ask for 'x' but pay for 'y', you'll get 'y'.

– Rishad Tobaccowala, chief strategy and innovation officer, VivaKi (view source article)

The walls have to come down at agencies. We can sit and work together with them, but we can’t work with silos. The future is not in competition but in finding partners and building businesses together.

– Robin Domeniconi, svp/chief brand officer, The Elle Group (view source article)

Agencies could actually have charged more money for that, and recognised that, ultimately, the very thing that digitalisation was going to do was to commoditise the one place where they were making money - production. Their loss is the gain of a whole plethora of new businesses.

– Michael Birkin, former vice-chairman, Omnicom (view source article)

Despite clear demands for better service, customers report almost no improvement in the last decade. Why? Companies too often ignore the dynamic people issues that truly affect customers' experience.

– Jörg Höhnery and Charles Kirk, Maritz Research (view source article)

As clients, too often we choose the comfortable agency, when we should be looking for something unique and different - with something we don't have, with some people who can challenge us, and make us stronger…. And we fail miserably when an agency looks too much like its clients.

– Bruno Gralpois, director/global agency management, Microsoft (view source article)

Ironically, the end of eyeballs may also mean the end of the individual creative agency.

– Judie Lannon, editor, Market Leader, from The Warc Blog

One of the biggest silos we need to break down is our own ‘funnel vision'. Shoppers don't follow the funnel. They simply don't see their behaviour in those terms.

– Sarah Ivey, Initiative Worldwide (view source article)

Every business wants to be innovative and to do things differently, whether it is talking about R&D of new products or communication and marketing. So it is perhaps surprising that some of the best examples of successful business come from old concepts.

– Robin Lauffer, The Bank Robin Lauffer, The Bank (view source article)

The only companies who stand a chance of coming up with new categories and brands are those that consistently cultivate new capabilities.

– Kieran Levis, UK author and marketing expert (view source article)

Most companies are focusing on the intended output when they should be focusing on the input.

– Andy Stefanovich, chief curator and provocateur, Prophet, from The Warc Blog

We recognise the power of markets outside the organisation to allocate resources efficiently and inspire entrepreneurialism. Introducing markets into the rigid hierarchies of traditional companies has the power to reap the same kinds of rewards.

– Dr Jules Goddard, UK academic (view source article)

Character is the tree, reputation is the shadow.

– Abraham Lincoln, US president

All business growth can only happen if business learns faster than the rate at which its customers change.

– William Charnock and Jonny Longden, R/GA (view source article)

Success often looks seamless. People are much more likely to recall failure. So, think hard and invest time in making the right decisions, as early as possible in the process.

– Toby Southgate, managing director, The Brand Union (view source article)

People talk about the businesses of the future needing to be more agile and more responsive if they are to be successful. But this requires a deep change in the way organisations work.

– ndrew Curry, director, The Futures Company (view source article)