Knock with Your Elbows

As a youngin’ starting out in marketing at Ogilvy in Manhattan, I had the pleasure of meeting some good people who taught me some things, both on and off the job. The crew I came up with was pretty close, and like most agency people, we spent time together outside of the office. My friend Mary invited a few of us over to her brother’s midtown apartment to watch a Knicks game before going out on the town.

Grateful for the invite, I called her brother to thank him. He was cool (and very New York) and said, “No problem, kid. Just knock with your elbows.” New to life as a (semi) adult, I started to panic. What did that mean? I quickly rolled over to Mary’s cube and asked her. She laughed and explained that it means don’t come empty handed. “Bring a 12-pack of beer or something.” No sweat, crisis averted. The meaning is simple: Bring something to the party.

What does this have to do with a marketing blog? A lot, actually. Make sure you bring something. To everything you do. At the micro level, bring an interesting idea to your next meeting, even if it’s something from an article you read online. At the macro level, what is your brand bringing to the table? There are a lot of other companies, artists, writers, TV shows, Netflix, websites and so many other things competing for your audience’s attention.

There are a lot of people at the party. To help your brand stand out, bring something to their world they can use. Marketing utility, maybe. Engaging storytelling, perhaps. Something. Whether it’s something interesting or just something funny and memorable, you need to bring something to the party. Knock with your elbows.

By Matt Read, OMCP, Senior Business Development Manager