Thoughts (Wise or Otherwise) on Turning 35
Our agency is in its 35th year. Many of the key members of our team weren’t even born when we started; others were just learning to ride their bikes without training wheels. The internet was in its infancy – web browsers, laptops, and smartphones were not yet invented. Social media wasn’t even a notion. Ronald Reagan was President and Mike Ditka had just finished his first season as Coach of the Chicago Bears. Many of our current clients did not yet exist.
Thankfully much has changed. We recognize that change is opportunity in disguise. The internet has made traditional advertising appear slow and unresponsive. Consumers are overwhelmed with choices. Marketers have to go where their product users go, and those users are spending more time online where views are not as important as engagement. There is no such thing as a mass market and no such thing as a captive audience. It’s a new world.
Experience counts… sometimes
We have decades of experience with marketing fundamentals – business strategy with dozens of companies in many industries, concept development, campaign architecture, design, and storytelling. But experience is only nostalgia unless you can apply it to today’s marketing problems. Faith in tradition stunts the growth of new ideas. We understand how the digital landscape provides a new universe of opportunities to engage customers faster, more effectively, more consistently.
Putting ideas into action
Ideas have a short shelf life; you have to act on them before they expire. Ideas drive plans which prioritize actions which impact reality. Even the best plans must dissolve into action because only the ideas actually implemented can drive success. Ideas without action are just daydreams.
We can help when you’re ready to change
Change is good. We work mostly with companies that are at a point of change – introducing new products, revitalizing a brand, entering new markets, fighting off new competition, energizing distribution.
Helping entrepreneurial companies succeed
Many of our clients are “Underdog Marketers” — companies who want to grow in the face of larger, better established, formidable competitors. These kinds of companies have to do more with less; they need to optimize the impact of their limited marketing and communications resources; they need to differentiate their brands relentlessly; they have to move quickly in the marketplace. They often target their programs geographically; and they need clearer, more forceful, more engaging messaging to get noticed and remembered.
Some things never change
Advertising has always been about people, passion, and most of all, ideas – sometimes big ideas, sometimes startling or goofy ones, sometimes even bold, small ideas. It takes an idea – something immediately relevant and expressed in an interesting way to deserve the attention of customers. And it has to be an idea of substance or it is insulting to the audience.
Think big; act small
We’re a 35-year old start-up –optimistic, energetic, relentlessly pragmatic, and occasionally irreverent– drawing on our heritage while adding new people, new capabilities, embracing new challenges. It’s a lot like log rolling – not for the weak nor the faint of heart. You’ve got to keep your feet moving, maintain balance, adapt quickly and be not afraid. Smart people learn from their mistakes; really smart people learn from other people’s mistakes.