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DiMassimo Goldstein blog

Welcome to our blog! Each week, our inspiring action content creators work hard to update this page with the latest and greatest in the world of DiGo.

How Do You Relaunch A FinTech Company? Give Away Free Haircuts

So now you’ve redesigned your website, reinvented your platform and unleashed an entirely new pricing structure. How do you get the word out about your brand’s new logo, voice and everything in between? If you’re TradeStation, an award-winning fintech company and brokerage, then the answer is simple: dye people’s hair blue in the middle of one of New York City’s busiest commuter hubs.

Video captured by TradeStation

“TradeStation just got a fresh look and now it’s our turn to give people one,” said Kevin Karp, Creative Director. We created the TradeStation Barbershop, located in the heart of The Oculus, a stone’s throw from Wall Street and in the shadow of One World Trade Center. The pop-up barbershop gave away free haircuts, blowouts and blue hair dye and extensions while hosting trading competitions, trivia challenges, market-themed meditations and photo ops with blue wigs. Why all the blue? Why not? (And it’s the brand color.)

“It was completely unexpected in the fintech world,” said Nehal Beltangady, Brand Director. “So was engagement. Over 400,000 people go through the Oculus every day. Partnering with LiveGauge, we were able to track 87,000 unique impressions at our barbershop over the course of three days. And we recorded over 4,600 repeat visitors, too.”

TradeStation is highly regarded in the trading community for its powerful tools, winning numerous best-in-class awards yearly, but isn’t as well-known as other mainstream discount brokerages. “Competing against bigger budgets and bigger names, the brand was struggling to stand out in traditional TV,” said Alessandra Pinho, Director of Strategy and Planning, “At DiMassimo Goldstein, we look to find new ways to find solutions for our clients. Live events create memorable brand experiences. You’ll see hundreds of commercials every day, but you won’t forget the trading platform that gave you a blowout.”

Like most advertising agencies and fintech companies, DiMassimo Goldstein didn’t have a lot of experience running a barbershop. “It really was a big cross-disciplinary effort,” said Claudia Mark, Design Director. “We had people working together, some in completely unfamiliar territory, across different fields. From the project’s inception, we had people from every discipline work together.”

“TradeStation’s offices are in South Florida,” said Matt Peters, Senior Designer, “So we wanted to bring those vibes to New York City.” It wasn’t enough to just create any old barbershop, but a modern one that felt like TradeStation’s hometown. Our bulls had sunglasses and our bears carried surfboards. It’s Wall Street meets beach culture.

“The client was happy, we were happy and we left a lot of people with blue hair,” said Mark DiMassimo, Chief here at DiMassimo Goldstein. “What’s amazing is that we raised brand awareness and none of it looked like a traditional advertisement. Lots of brands want something out of the box but lose their appetite when it comes to actually doing it. We found a novel, engaging way to take an online-only brand and bring it face to face with their consumers. That’s what Inspiring Action is all about.”

Inspiring Action Brand of the Month: Slack

(Photo from Slate)

Sometimes, you must first fail before you can succeed.

Few can speak to this as much as Stewart Butterfield, the co-founder of team collaboration tool Slack.

In many ways, his “failures” are also his “successes”.

It started with Game Neverending, his first project, and his first public failure. Developed by his then company, Ludicorp, Game Neverending was intended to be an online multiplayer game for the masses, but it never saw the light of day. When it became apparent that the game would not survive, Butterfield shifted his focus to the game’s photo-sharing tool, turning it into its own stand-alone product, Flickr.

A year later in 2005, he sold Flickr to Yahoo for a reported $35 million.

Determined to make his game-developing dreams come true, he would try his hand again. With much of the same team from Ludicorp, Butterfield cofounded Tiny Speck, and began building a new online-game in Glitch.

It was during this development process where Butterfield would inspire a worldwide behavior change revolution – though he didn’t know it at the time.

Frustrated by existing communication tools, Tiny Speck developed its own tool to help better manage the creation of the game. During the three years leading up to the game’s launch, the Tiny Speck team, consisting of 45 people, had only sent 50 emails.

Then, at the end of 2012, the eureka moment came. Butterfield closed the book on Glitch, and Slack, the communications tool his team had developed, sprang forward.

But the Slack squad only knew how their team interacted on the platform, and if the product was to work across industries with varying company sizes and workflows, they needed a bigger sample size.

For the next seven months, Butterfield and his colleagues begged friends at other companies to trial Slack. This gave them the opportunity to see the tool from an outsider’s perspective, and each new company armed the team with unique observations and feedback that they would later use to optimize and tweak the product.

Finally, in August of 2013, Butterfield felt the product was polished enough to be shared more widely and announced a preview release. The launch amassed a large amount of media attention, and within 24 hours, 8,000 companies had signed up for the service. Two weeks later, that number doubled to 15,000. Slack was an instant hit.

That type of staggering growth, although unprecedented, was an accurate indicator of what was to come. Slack quickly became the fastest growing business-app ever, and was considered a unicorn shortly after its first year. Last September, just four years and a month after the company’s launch, it was valued at over $5B.

 Which brings us to today, where Slack is used by 65 companies in the Fortune 100 and over 500,000 organization worldwide. Last week, Slack announced that it had reached 8M daily active users, a number that will only grow, living up to its billing as the place “where work happens for millions of people.”


How did it all happen? What was different about Slack?

Team Communication For the 21st Century

First and foremost, it was created at the perfect time. Built for the era of mobile phones and short text messages, Slack’s growth coincided with the rising trend of companies operating remotely, and offered a less formal, more user-friendly way of keeping in touch with co-workers.

Around the same time, Microsoft Office, Windows, and seemingly every other tech company that could were churning out new tools left and right. Each trying to better each other. In most cases, the competition was healthy, and the tools themselves evolved greatly. But what was left was a scattered ecosystem of tools and services. The fragmentation led to friction and inefficiency. While the tools themselves had improved, the user-experience was left behind. There was no glue to hold it all together.

Enter Slack, integrating all the tools and housing them all in one place. Twitter. Salesforce. Dropbox. Google docs. You name it, it’s all on Slack.

And when you combine that seamless third-party integration with a thoughtfully-designed interface, full of vibrant and playful colors, and an endless amount of customizable applications like to-do lists, reminders, project management tools, scheduling assistants, and hundreds more, what you get is a communications tool that boosts your productivity tenfold.

Perhaps the biggest reason for Slack’s growth is its customizability. Created for any workplace, the product can be catered to your team or individual needs. Channels can be made for departments, projects, office locations, or whatever you deem fit.  If a channel becomes too loud, you can “mute” it. If you need to conduct deep, uninterrupted research, you can activate “Do Not Disturb” mode. You can customize “highlight words” that are important to you so that you are notified every time that word is mentioned – be it your name or an urgent project you’re working on. If you’re going to be busy for the day at work conference, or are going to in a long offline brainstorm, you can set your status to reflect that. Files, images, PDFs, spreadsheets and other documents can be shared in real-time with a simple drag and drop.

In group chats, or “channels”, Slack allows you to overhear conversations, giving you an ambient awareness of work developments that you do not get from email. If you want to share something confidential, you can do so through a private channel or direct message.

Files, images, PDFs, spreadsheets and other documents can be shared in real-time with a simple drag and drop. And everything on Slack, from notifications to links to images, are all searchable so that you can find what you need and find it fast.

Consistently evolving and introducing new features to meet user demands, Slack is delivering on its mission to make people’s working lives simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.

A Behavior Change Revolution

While it may not be obvious on the surface, Slack is one of the leading behavior change companies of our time.

In a medium post, written on his page, Butterfield states the following:

“The best – maybe the only? – real, direct measure of “innovation” is change in human behavior. In fact, it is useful to take this way of thinking as definitional: innovation is the sum of change across the whole system, not a thing which causes a change in how people behave. No small innovation ever caused a large shift in how people spend their time and no large one has ever failed to do so.”

“By that measure,” he goes on to say, “Slack is a real and large innovation”.

And he’s right.

Butterfield knew he couldn’t sell a “group chat system”. People simply wouldn’t buy that. Instead, what Slack sells is “organizational transformation.”

“We’re selling a reduction in information overload, relief from stress, and a new ability to extract the enormous value of hitherto useless corporate archives. We’re selling better organizations, better teams. That’s a good thing for people to buy and it is a much better thing for us to sell in the long run. We will be successful to the extent that we create better teams.”

This is not a one-to-one behavior change. Slack must be sold to companies, both massive and tiny, and everything in between. Companies that adopt Slack are betting on a massive, positive behavior change. They want effortless communication. They want to work more efficiently. They want a business tool that works for them rather than against them, helping them make more inspiring decisions and form more empowering habits.

“We’re asking a lot from our customers. We are asking them to spend hours a day in a new and unfamiliar application, to give up on years or even decades of experience using email for work communication (and abandon all kinds of ad hoc workflows that have developed around their use of email). We are asking them to switch a model of communication which defaults to the public; it is an almost impossibly large ask. Almost.”

The change is both dramatic and far-reaching. We know this to be true because we at DiMassimo Goldstein are a proud member of the Slack revolution.

We weren’t looking to abandon email entirely, but to reduce it, and Slack has done that. We found ourselves having too many meetings, which Slack has helped cut down. The transparent communication makes it the perfect place to review projects as a team, on the go, and from anywhere.

Put simply, it has made our work lives easier and most importantly, it has pushed the work we create to help inspire others forward.

That’s why Slack is our Inspiring Action Brand of the Month!

 

Drucker on Two-Track Planning.

I recently discovered in reading my copy of The Daily Drucker that I’ve long shared one of Peter F. Drucker’s main management philosophies – the concept of two-track planning.

For decades, I’ve heard the following sentiment.

“We can’t solve your problem because we haven’t done our strategic work yet.”

When I worked at other agencies, I always thought this to be the ultimate bureaucratic blindness.

Building the BRAND while we build the BUSINESS.

This is the core promise of our agency, DiMassimo Goldstein. This is the experience our clients have bought when they’ve bought us.

Not: “First we’ll build the brand, then we’ll build the business.”

Not: “First we’ll build the business, then we’ll build the brand.”

Instead, we do both, and simultaneously. Like you do!

Sometimes this translates as “Building the brand while lowering the cost of acquisition.” 

Sometimes it’s “Building the brand while driving sales efficiency.”

Sometimes it’s just “Growing the business and the brand.”

Our clients never wait months to see returns from an agency engagement. We typically deliver measurable revenue within the first 30 days, and we don’t have to sacrifice future success to do it.

Drucker calls this the harmonization of the immediate and long-range future, going on to state that “a manager must, so to speak, keep his nose to the grindstone while lifting his eyes to the hills.”

At DiGo, we call this practice two-track planning, and it’s implemented in everything we do. Imagine two columns on a page, the left titled URGENT and the right titled IMPORTANT.

Some urgent things are truly unimportant, but some we term “The Runway.” The board meeting coming up. The quarterly results reporting. The partner’s meeting.

If a plane doesn’t get aloft by the end of the runway, it doesn’t matter how good the food service and the movie were going to be. There are things you just need in the short run to make the long run possible. Often these things include results. That’s the Runway.

And, we don’t lose our strategic heads. We see the long-term opportunities in urgent problems.

And we manage them both, so that our clients can move forward, paying for tomorrow’s opportunities with today’s wins, all while strategically planting the seeds that ensure growth for the future in a time-starved world.

Let’s talk about inspiring action in the short and long term!

A Day in the Life of an Operations and Finance Coordinator

At DiMassimo Goldstein, every member of our team plays an important role in bringing our clients’ ideas to life and helping them inspire action.

“A Day in the Life” is a new blog series that shines a light on the many faces behind our agency and the different roles that we each play, showcasing the creativity in every corner of our office.

This week’s post provides a glimpse into the daily routine of  Operations and Finance Coordinator at DiMassimo Goldstein, Hannah Mardini!

I wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy.

JK.

In truth, my alarm blares angrily at me and I slam my finger down on the SNOOZE button. Finally, after a couple more angry prods from my alarm, I am up and getting ready for work at DiGo.

Cue the montage of getting dressed, frantically brushing my teeth, applying a bit of mascara, and grabbing my bag. A short drive away is the Riverside train station where I take the 8:08 (as long as it’s not late) and arrive in New York, New York at 9:00 a.m.

The subway can be a pain, so we’ll skip that part.

At last, I arrive at DiGo.

I genuinely enjoy where I work, which is something a lot of people don’t have the luxury of saying. I work on both the Operations and Finance teams, starting as a tiny, naïve intern and becoming the full-time, full-fledged employee I am today. It’s incredible to think that a few short months ago, I had no idea where I would be – now I am working at an agency that Inspires Action in New York City.

In Operations, I’m at the forefront of all renovations and major agency changes from birth to life. When I was just starting out, at first, it was overwhelming! The agency relies on my team to create change that is not only efficient, but benefits everyone and allows them to work more cohesively. But hold on to your hats, because while it might be daunting to think about, creating that change is an amazing and fantastic thing to experience.

As an example, there was a large discussion for a better communication method between team members. People were using different methods with different people and there was no streamlined channel, leading to confusion and general discomfort because of all the channels being used. (Insert the amazing ops team here!)

Over the course of a couple months, after meetings and streamlining and planning, the Google Drive was chosen as the medium to go forward with. It is where all team members can connect and share documents and media with clients and fellow members in one cohesive hub.

Over the course of a couple more months, after meetings and streamlining and planning, the moment had come – the rollout itself. Our tech support staff was assembled…. the Creative Lounge was equipped for an agency-wide meeting… and a hush fell over the room as the reps from tech support began the meeting.

Myself and the ops team were a bit nervous for this part. It was all finally happening! (Quick shout-out to Deb! You were amazing!)

Which brings us to today, where I can look back on everything with a feeling of pride. Already the Google Drive has impacted team members across the board. The Google Drive helps people connect, communicate, and inspire each other on a daily basis. Being a part of something greater than yourself is something I and everyone at this agency strive to do every single day and the fact that I could play a greater part in making this happen is absolutely wonderful.

Where I used to be overwhelmed, now I see an opportunity. Where I once didn’t have a clue, now I can solve the mystery. Where I once thought I was alone, I now have a kick-ass team at my back. (Another quick shout-out to Desiree, Bertin, Chayenne, and Maham!) My team consistently challenges and helps me to get better, work things out, investigate, and act. I owe so much of what I’ve learned to working with such a close-knit, inspiring team, and I am grateful that I get to work with them each and everyday.

After each day, I try and think about the bigger picture of my role here at DiGo. Even though the every-day minutiae can get exhausting, I think about the friends I’ve made here and how the work I do impacts them and the clients they work with on a daily basis. After this reminder, it’s back to Grand Central, back on the train, and back home to reset for the next day.

Earth Day, An Important Call To Action

Earth Day is a call to action.

A call to action to people everywhere to direct their attention to the ecological challenges facing our environment. To use this day as an opportunity to adopt new behaviors and habits that benefit our planet, and to ensure that those actions become part of our daily routine moving forward.

No action is too small. No action is insignificant. It is our collective responsibility as humans to be advocates for the protection of our environment, to continue to push the dialogue, and to commit to lifestyle changes that ensure the safety of our planet.

Brands, too, share this responsibility. With large audiences and the ability to captivate, influence, and inspire movements, it is vital that brands create purposeful actions to raise awareness around the many challenges facing our environment, and to implement alternative eco-friendly methods to help solve these issues, in all aspects of their business.

Here are some brands that inspired us by stepping up to the plate on Earth Day this year, reaffirming their commitment to make this planet a better place.

Apple debuted Daisy, a robot that can disassemble iPhones to recover valuable materials, getting one step closer to its goal of making products with only renewable or recyclable materials. Apple is one of the most innovative companies of our time, and inspiring action with inventions like Daisy further stamps their commitment to use technology toward protecting our world’s resources.

Republic Services, the industry-leading sustainable waste disposal company, encouraged its staff, the communities it serves, and its customers to commit to “#1More” action each day to become better at recycling. They released a series of tips to help educate, build awareness, and inspire action in people to recycle properly.

Staples expanded its Electronic Recycling Program to include coffee brewers, and for this entire week, Staples Rewards members who recycle an old coffee brewer at the national retailer can get a $10 coupon for any purchase above $30. Since starting its Electronic Recycling Program, Staples has collected more than 400 million pounds of electronic waste, including ink and toner, which is the weight of roughly 13 Brooklyn Bridges.

Popular outerwear brand The North Face partnered with the National Park Foundation to clean up waste in parks by pulling over 160,000 pounds of single-use plastic bottles and recycling them into “The Bottle Source Collection.” One dollar of every purchase made will be donated back to the parks.

With its new campaign, “Earth Day Every Day,” 1 Hotels announced a year-long initiative that will include activations across all properties focused on raising awareness of environmental issues, specifically around saving our shores.

Though not yet an action, ride-sharing service Lyft announced its plans to become completely carbon neutral. If the direct-economy brand can follow through on its promise, millions of metric tons of carbon dioxide can be offset, which would be the equivalent of planting tens of millions of trees or taking hundreds of thousands of cars off the road. It’s a lofty goal, but one that would protect the environment and prevent the continuation of mass pollution dramatically if achieved.

As reported by CNET, home automation producer Nest used Earth Day to make an inspiring promise: to install one million smart thermostats at little or no cost to low-income homes over the next five years. The pledge is part of Nest’s “Power Project,” an initiative aimed toward raising awareness around energy efficiency and consumption.

Now that’s #InspiringAction.

How Social Listening Can Inspire Action

The best marketers don’t sell products. They sell ideas.

Ideas they want you to believe as a consumer. Perceptions that have been thoughtfully designed and delivered. Because in branding, perception is often reality.

But the hard truth is this: The message that marketers want to convey is often not the same message that consumers receive. Your brand isn’t what you tell people it is. Your brand is what people tell people it is.

So, marketers monitor the conversation. They compile metrics from their social platforms, track their mentions, and look at engagement rates. And maybe, the data they’ve gathered is enough to prove the value of their social marketing efforts.

But it’s not enough. Not even close.

The best marketers don’t just monitor the conversation; they listen to the conversation.

Through social listening, you can discover what people are saying about your brand, even if they don’t tag you. This difference is critical, because far more conversations are being had about you than with you.

Social listening can determine what the sentiment is behind these conversations. Social metrics are terrific, but they only tell one side of the story. Having a high number of engaged consumers is great, but only if those engagements are positive. To quote Dan Neely, “Monitoring sees trees; listening sees the forest.”

But unquestionably the biggest power of social listening is its ability to inspire action. Through analyzing the conversations being had around your product, brand, and industry, marketers can identify an entirely new world of opportunities to delight their consumers.

Social listening gives marketers a chance to be directly involved in the consumer experience. It reveals common frustrations that are plaguing your consumers. Then, they use these insights to inform their next business decisions, working to obliterate the gaps, drags, and blocks causing friction for their consumers. Whether it be product development, identifying influencers, or customer care, social listening should influence the way your brand chooses to interact with its consumers.

If social listening isn’t incorporated into your business strategy, you’re operating with blinders on. Simply put, if you aren’t social listening, then you don’t care about your customers, and the customer is king. Always.

The A-List Podcast: Episode 20 with David Baldwin

On the latest installment of The A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann is joined by David Baldwin, the founder and CEO of Baldwin&, an ad agency based in Raleigh, North Carolina, that was named Small Agency of the Year twice in its first five years. Baldwin is also the former chairman of the One Club in NYC and was an executive producer for the Emmy Award-winning film Art & Copy.

His advertising has been recognized by The One Show, Cannes, D&D, the Clios, the Effies, the Andy Awards, and more.

Tune in as Baldwin and Christmann share stories from working under some of Advertising’s most famous superheroes, talk about the challenges facing the industry today, offer sound advice to young creatives, and much more. Episode and show notes below!

Show Notes

  • [0:00 – 2:22] Intro
  • [2:23 – 5:49] Growing up in a little West Texas town and being in advertising since age 12
  • [5:50 – 10:39] Superheroes of the industry, being interviewed by Gary Goldsmith, and living on floors in Manhattan
  • [10:40 – 15:00] The importance of humility and Baldwin’s transformative educational experience at the University of Texas
  • [15:01 – 16:44] Baldwin talks about getting hired by McCaffrey McCall and his first assignment as a copywriter
  • [16:45 – 18:15] Baldwin shares stories about his first partner, Steve Rutter
  • [18:16 – 24:40] The story behind the Emmy Award-winning film Art & Copy
  • [24:41 – 28:19] Working under Jerry Della Femina at Della Femina Travisano & Partners and the influential book From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor
  • [28:20 – 32:15] Moving from NYC to Portland to work for Cole & Weber and how it was a defining moment for his career
  • [32:16 – 34:40] The existential conversation that led to Baldwin starting his own agency
  • [34:41 – 36:49] Baldwin&’s ethos, being benevolently selfish, and living your point of view
  • [36:50 – 39:02] The criticized McDonald’s Women’s Day stunt and why he loves working for companies that create positive impact in the world
  • [39:03 – 42:30] The Polaris Duel Campaign he spearheaded at McKinney
  • [42:31 – 44:13] Baldwin discusses his writing process
  • [44:14 – 46:15] Facebook’s recent scandal, how the industry is changing, and the pros and cons of being an independent agency
  • [46:16 – 50:27] Creating his own brand, Ponysaurus Brewing Company
  • [50:28 – 53:25] Baldwin talks about why he started his agency in North Carolina and why young people should look for a boss to work for, not just a company
  • [53:26 – 56:54] How Baldwin is building more doors into his agency, being committed to creativity, and what he’s excited for moving forward
  • [56:55 – 58:00] 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

A Day in the Life of an Assistant Brand Manager

At DiMassimo Goldstein, every member of our team plays an important role in bringing our clients’ ideas to life and helping them inspire action.

“A Day in the Life” is a new blog series that shines a light on the many faces behind our agency and the different roles that we each play, showcasing the creativity in every corner of our office.

This week’s post provides a glimpse into the daily routine of an Assistant Brand Manager at DiMassimo Goldstein. Matt Zani brings unrivaled enthusiasm and energy to every account he works on, including TradeStation, Sallie Mae, National Jewish Health, and Starr Companies. To learn more about a day in Matt’s life, read his story below.

Having spent exactly a year at DiGo, the five images below accurately represent my every day at the leading Inspiring Action and Behavior Change Agency.

Stepping into this beautiful world isn’t bad every day. The agency aesthetically reflects its inner soul which can be seen clearly through the walls teeming with award-winning work. A glance at the décor and a cup of coffee from the DiGo kitchen is all I need to get my day going.

DiGo breathes strategy. The agency’s process and work are strategically infused, bringing insights and measurements into creative work that allow it to work harder.

Don’t even get me started about the eats. I don’t know what I like more: Salad Wednesday, Bagel Friday, Friday happy hours or Mimosa Mornings?! Not to mention, we have some of the best snack-sharing in the ad agency game. A bowl of Cocoa Puffs is never more than 10 steps away.

DiGo is a culture designed for growth. The employees inspire each other to achieve and tease the most out of the work. The leadership team has instituted structures and programs that allow for employee transparency. There is opportunity for development and learning for whoever is hungry and willing to seek it.

The people are truly what bring this place to life. At the end of the day, DiGo is filled with bright and beautiful minds infused seamlessly to create campaigns, branding and work that hit home in the universes they aim to reach.

– Matt Zani, Assistant Brand Manager. Photographs by Will Jellicorse.