Today, even the largest corporation in the world is naked without a beloved brand, full of positive content.
Not so long ago, I received a call from a senior leader of a large corporation, and he was clearly in significant emotional distress.
This distress reflected the emotions of senior management and of the people in his organization.
This was one of several similar calls over the past couple of years.
All of these organizations had been world-beaters, with seeming strangleholds on their categories, at least, in their strongest regions or sectors.
At the times of these calls, each was being trashed in social media, destroyed in the press, and humiliated in the U.S. congress.
The reasons for their turnabouts varied. Suffice it to say that bad things were done, or the right things were left undone. The companies had fumbled, and the world had decided that they no longer deserved to exist.
Empathizing with my callers, I invariably told them some version of the following story:
“You may be aware that Warren Buffet said that his idea of a perfect business would be to own the only toll booth, on the only bridge, to an island.
Many large businesses share qualities of Buffet’s fantasy. While not being perfect monopolies, they have elements of a monopoly. Perhaps their bridges are not the only ones to the islands, but just the most convenient ones, for example.
People inside these companies say things like, “We have the size. We have the relationships. We have the supply. We have the data. We own the cables. We laid the pipes. We’re the only ones who have it… We don’t need to waste time or money building a brand. We don’t need to be loved – it’s enough to be rich!”
But here’s the thing about companies like that – people hate them.
They won’t say that in surveys nearly as much before, as after, the lapse, because the hatred is mostly unconscious, implicit, and waiting for a trigger to emerge.
But, make no mistake, people are waiting to get even. When you have power like that, people are waiting to set things straight.
Invariably, these brand owners who had called me had spent years trying to get their senior management to embrace brand strategy and brand-building processes. To a one, these senior managers had fought for efforts to make their brand experiences delightful, and to express noble purposes to the world and prove those purposes with inspiring on-strategy actions. And every one of them noted sadly that he or she had, more or less, lost those battles.
The companies had been fat and happy; but now, they were bleeding and miserable and mortally wounded… by what? By shame. By infamy. By the fury of a global mob empowered by social media, by the people who prosper by attracting their eyeballs, and by those whose pensions depend on their votes.
And… now they were very much interested in the brand, the purpose, the experience. Now they were interested in being delightful, customer-centric and socially valuable. Now, they needed a quest, and hoped that we might help them find their purposes, above and beyond commerce.
And yes, we can.
But, the time to have a purpose is before. The time to build a brand is before. The time to be delightful and meaningful and worthy of cheerful word-of-mouth and sharing, and 5-star reviews, and thousands of caps and t-shirts, and maybe even a few permanent tattoos, is before.
Because, even before social media and the monsoon of shaming, it was coming for them. Organizations with purposes, understanding the inspiring ideas that drove them, expressing them not just through communications, but through iconic actions, infusing exceptional experiences with the ideas, and generating waves and ripples of word-of-mouth – these organizations were coming to take away their clients and customers anyway. They just didn’t know it.
When selling is just selling, you are building a house of cards – today, more than ever.
When your inspiring idea is your best-selling idea, you’re not only selling more, you’re building something that can stand the test of time.
Every large corporation stumbles. No collection of people that large is without a few bad actors. But, some companies are protected by the powerful, positive feelings that people have for them. There are companies about which most people don’t want to hear anything bad. Their love for those companies, their belief in their goodness, and most of all, their identification with the heroic qualities they attribute to the companies, dramatically alter their behavior. This is why building the brand in this way is the ultimate behavior change marketing strategy for brand and business growth.
Some organizations planted those seeds from the beginning, from their startup phases; and that’s always best. Others found their inspiring ideas in the growth stage; and that works really well, too.
The important thing is to find it, live it, act it out, communicate it… before.
You’re naked in the icy winds of change without it.
We’re so proud to announce that Rebecca Weiser, our very own Director of Integrated Media and Analytics, has been named one of Gramercy Institute’s 2017-2018 “20 Rising Stars in Financial Marketing!”
We’ve known Rebecca to be a star since the day she joined DiGo as a Sr. Media Planner back in 2012. In the five years since, she’s proven that time and time again, growing through the ranks of the agency and continuing to be a true agent of the client.
Rebecca has played a vital role in inspiring action and growing the businesses of leading financial brands such as Ally Bank, TradeStation, Online Trading Academy, and Affinity Federal Credit Union through award-winning media strategies. In a constantly evolving media landscape, Rebecca considers all factors that could potentially impact media performance. She approaches each new business problem as an opportunity to provide creative, innovative, and thoughtful solutions. By looking at the story beyond the numbers, she brings unique insights to the table and offers actionabale analysis that has consistently driven growth for our clients.
Her leadership among the team provides clients with the ultimate confidence that their dollars will be spent efficiently and their trust in her has resulted in significant business growth year over year.
The most creative activity in many agencies is filling out time sheets.
For eighteen years, we have never done one. Here’s why:
1) We don’t want to reinforce the silly idea that what we sell is time. We sell results.
We take that seriously and stick to it. Our compensation agreements align with it as well, accepting risk and reward for creating marketplace results.
2) We don’t want the moral or legal hazard of a practice that is almost universally abused. A process that at best is a waste of the very time it purports to record and at worst is a fraud. Sometimes accountants are creative people, but creative people are rarely accountants.
3) We want to spend all of our time and energy on the stuff we’re good at, the things that return the most value for our client’s dollar. We always strive to deliver much more value than we capture in revenue. And our agreements, often with lower fees and bonus for market success, bear this out.
4) No one benefits from a culture of nickel and diming over time. Not clients, who will feel hesitant to use the team to the fullest extent for fear of additional changes. Not agency people, who come to value their contribution in billable hours rather than in winning work. We never charge more for “going over” hours. Because we don’t measure hours, we measure value.
Less than 10% of companies on the list appear more than three times, much less in consecutive years.
Our growth is a direct byproduct of the growth and fulfillment of our clients, so we truly mean it when we say that we share this award with all of them. Our clients are our partners, and they make our mission of inspiring action possible by inspiring each one of us here at DiMassimo Goldstein every day.
This recognition is also a reflection of our team members who work so hard to drive this organization forward every day. The first step toward growth is having a vision, but that vision is only as good as the culture and team that works to bring it to life. At DiMassimo Goldstein, we’re lucky to have all three.
When brands focus on purpose, rather than just profit, their marketing blaze tends to burn hotter and last longer.
This week on “The A-List” podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann chats with his long-time friend and former boss, Bill Oberlander, the executive creative director at OBERLAND. Bill has worked as a creative executive at many top agencies, including JWT New York, Cossette New York, McCann Erickson, Ogilvy & Mather, and Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners. Working on such global accounts as Microsoft, Intel, Snapple, Target, Coach, Bloomberg, and Nikon. Bill has helped reinvent brands with his iconic and transformational campaigns.
Tune in as Bill and Tom discuss what it takes to break into advertising in New York City, why philanthropy is important for both brands and people, and how today’s creatives can build a portfolio that gives Bill goosebumps.
[0:00 – 2:05] Intro
[2:06 – 5:17] Bill and Tom discuss working together at Kirshenbaum
[5:18 – 8:23] Bill’s childhood in South Amboy, NJ, attending an all-boys Catholic high school, and dreaming of a future in the arts
[8:24 – 13:25] Studying business communications and visual communications at the University of Delaware, and falling in love with advertising
[13:26 – 15:17] Moving to NYC, couch surfing, and landing his first advertising gig
[15:18 – 19:49] Becoming an art director at McCaffrey & McCall
[19:50 – 30:57] Learning the ropes at McCann, working on the Coca-Cola account, and scheduling his first shoot without client approval
[30:58 – 35:08] Being recruited by Richard Kirshenbaum as his art director, and faking it until he made it
[35:09 – 41:13] Bill’s first big campaign at Kirshenbaum: El Presidente Spiced Brandy
[41:14 – 48:49] Reinventing Snapple with the famous “Snapple Lady” campaign
[48:50 – 56:49] Working at Robin Hood Foundation, the importance of building brands with purpose, and launching Oberland
[56:50 – 61:16] What Bill looks for when reviewing portfolios today
[61:17 – 62:44] Outro
“The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, recorded at the Gramercy Post, and sponsored by the Adhouse Advertising School, New York’s newest, smallest, and hippest ad school. You can subscribe and rate the show on iTunes or listen along on SoundCloud. For updates on upcoming episodes and guests, be sure to like the A-List Podcast on Facebook and follow host Tom Christmann on Twitter.
In the latest episode of “The A-List” podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein Chief Creative Officer Tom Christmann sits down with creative maestro Dan Kelleher, Chief Creative Officer at Deutsch. Dan has worked at many of the world’s most renowned agencies, including Saatchi & Saatchi, BBDO, Cliff Freeman & Partners, and DeVito/Verdi. His work for brands such as BMW, DIRECTV, General Mills, FedEx, and Guinness has earned some of the industry’s top awards. Bill Clinton once said that his favorite commercials were the “Cable Effects” spots for DIRECTV, which Kelleher helped bring to life. Dan was also responsible for bringing us the BMW Super Bowl ad, “Newfangled Idea,” which Ad Age ranked among the best Super Bowl ads of all time.
Tune in to hear Dan discuss how perseverance paved his path to success, what today’s creatives can learn from the “funny vs. not funny” wall, and why honesty is the key to great client relationships.
[0:00 – 1:35] Intro
[1:36 – 7:04] Growing up in Plainfield, New Jersey, being passionate about art and deciding that medical illustration wasn’t the right field for him
[7:05 – 11:35] The Rocky of advertising: how perseverance landed him his first job in the print production department of Ammirati & Puris
[11:36 – 20:39] Working on his portfolio, attending ad school, and learning the ropes from great bosses
[20:40 – 29:32] Getting hired in his first creative role as junior art director at DeVito/Verdi
[29:33 – 34:36] Moving to Cliff Freeman & Partners and selling his first TV spot for Staples
[34:37 – 43:44] Lessons for young creatives from the “funny vs. not funny” wall
[43:45 – 49:14] Dan and Tom discuss their time at BBDO working for Gerry Graf
[49:15 – 54:32] Working at BBDO, getting more client interaction, and filming with Burt Reynolds
[54:33 – 59:50] The importance of honesty in developing great client relationships
[59:51 – 62:24] The value of building a strong agency culture
[62:25 – 69:20] What Dan looks for in a portfolio today and his one piece of advice for young creatives
[62:21 – 70:50] Outro
“The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, recorded at the Gramercy Post, and sponsored by the Adhouse Advertising School, New York’s newest, smallest, and hippest ad school. You can subscribe and rate the show on iTunes or listen along on SoundCloud. For updates on upcoming episodes and guests, be sure to like the A-List Podcast on Facebook and follow host Tom Christmann on Twitter. If you want to be interviewed for an upcoming episode, contact us at AdhouseNYC.com.
We’re proud to announce that our new campaign for inspiring action client Affinity Federal Credit Union officially launched last week!
Affinity is an organization built around empathy, and those values and behaviors are communicated on every level and throughout every brand touchpoint. Affinity members are unified, supportive and inclusive. It’s their money. It’s their organization. We wanted to bring that emotional connection to life in an iconic way.
The new campaign, titled “A Community Connected,” showcases the life-changing benefits that each member provides one another. Using real members with real stories, this campaign perfectly captures how belonging to Affinity means belonging to something better.
The highlights of the campaign are the three videos in which Affinity members themselves are the stars. We asked members to record selfie videos detailing their inspiring experience with the credit union, and we worked to compile these videos all into powerful ads.
We continue to be inspired by how Affinity improves the lives of the members and communities they serve through community credit, and we couldn’t be prouder to be their agency.