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Reaching for the Stars



BBDO Asia's CEO Jean-Paul Burge reflects on climbing the mountain of 2020 as he explains his goals for the next 12 months

Reaching for the Stars
Before it was destroyed, at the very top of Mount Everest already several thousand feet above the ‘death zone’ and with a clear view of the summit, climbers would reach Hillary’s step. A nearly vertical rock face you would have to climb before making it to the top. It was the sting in the tail of the mountain, the point at which you had pretty much climbed the tallest peak on the planet but where you had to muster a final effort, with technical proficiency, to make it to the top.

As we enter 2021, it feels to me that we are in our equivalent of Hillary’s step, exhausted after a tough year of Covid and business transformation, the summit within sight but remaining tantalisingly out of reach. It will certainly be a tough climb, but I am also certain that we will make it. 

So with the new year here, we now take time to consider the past 12 months and imagine a better year ahead, resolutions and goals will be set but this year more than ever with an eye on the tricks of fate and unknowns ahead of us. What won’t change? 

We kick off each year with great optimism, we are in the business of creativity and creativity is by nature optimistic, embracing of change and curious by nature. At BBDO we talk of ‘radiators, not drains’, now more than ever we must be radiators emitting the positive energy of possibilities and potential at every turn.

We absolutely believe in the power of creativity, in all its forms. And we take care of each other, a key value we hold dear is “Do the right thing”. If the world learns anything from the humbling effects of the pandemic, I hope it is that we start to show greater care for each other. 

With that, and as you get what you measure, the goals we strive for as we ascend from Hillary’s step to the summit of 2021 would be: 

We will strive to create better work.
That is work that works for our clients and grows their business. We will do that by innovating and dreaming up new ways to deliver great creative work across more touch points than ever before. We will continue to partner with smart new businesses that make us better and we will use tech and data and get to know the consumer better, have better conversations with them and sell them our clients’ brands and products.     

We will love our clients more.
We like many in the service industry have had to be more professional, more tolerant and more on the ball over the last 12 months. We are here to service our clients, many of them are having a hell of a time and we are here for them. So, we are going to measure that, formally and informally in the quest of being a truly client-centric organisation. 

We will continue to take better care of each other.
We will be good at the soft stuff like socials, initiatives, off the work events and better at the hard stuff like training, mental health and time management. We have always been a people business, but now more than ever we will find that we are nothing without them, their hard work, talent and good humour. 

Which brings me back to optimism, Oscar Wilde said it best “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars” there have been times in the last few months when it has certainly felt like a gutter, but the stars will look brighter from the summit of our personal Everest and with luck and hard work I hope we will all reach them this year. 
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BBDO Asia, Wed, 13 Jan 2021 10:09:40 GMT