Think about it. Whether you’re making a product, delivering a service, designing, marketing, innovating or financing – doesn’t the result happen only when you get people to actually do something different?
Actions are the fundamental currency. No actions, no cash.
So, success in business – and in achieving any worthy end – is a battle between manipulation and inspiration.
Manipulation is when we use tricks to get people to do things.
Inspiration is when they do those things because those things are meaningful and satisfying to them.
A business can be built on manipulation for a while. Offers. Urgency. Price manipulations. Sales. Scarcity. Emotional hyping. There is a whole business literature of tricks. Direct and interactive marketers have proven them. Persuasion designers have honed them. Behavioral economists have proved them in double-blind studies.
Manipulation works. For a while.
But manipulation doesn’t satisfy. In fact, it sucks meaning. Organizations that rely too heavily on manipulations build a house of cards, without coherence, loyalty or passion.
Inspiration, as Simon Sinek has said, starts with Why.
When people are doing because they are inspired to do, they value their own actions differently. We saw this when we attracted more customers for an online broker by offering a stuffed monkey (really) than by offering $350 dollars cash, just for signing up.
The monkey meant, “I’m in this crazy tribe.”
The money meant, “I’ll take the bribe.”
Which do you think acquired more valuable customers? Correct. The monkey.
Which do you think acquired more customers in the first place? Also, the monkey.
Most people are surprised by that. Knowing all I do about inspiring action, I was also surprised.
This broker built an incredibly powerful and valuable brand. It inspired passion that converted into fast growth, intense engagement and rock solid loyalty.
Want a metric to measure and manage this by? Call it your Inspiring Action Quotient.
How much do you lead, market, attract, convert and build through Inspiration? That’s the numerator, the number on top.
How much do you manipulate in order to generate the actions that grow your business? That’s the denominator.
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.
Five years ago, Randy Heath and David Goldberg stumbled upon a quote that would change their lives forever.
“Socks are the number one most requested clothing item at homeless shelters.”
Not coats. Not gloves. Socks. The very same items that we subconsciously put on every single morning also happen to be a luxury to millions of people in need. Socks are what’s called a “wear through” item, which means that you cannot donate used pairs due to hygenic issues. This makes sock donations particularly difficult, putting them in high demand in homeless shelters across the country.
Surprised and upset by this heartbreaking insight, the two began to brainstorm. They wanted to help bring awareness to this under-publicized issue. They wanted to make a change. They wanted to inspire action.
So they did just that. They quit their jobs and launched Bombas, a sock company built from the ground up with an inspiring idea above commercial intent. To help the over 560,000 homeless people in the United States, Bombas would use the same buy-one-donate-one model made famous by TOMS Shoes and Warby Parker to help deliver to those in need.
But a brand is only as strong as the product and experience it delivers. If Heath and Goldberg were to succeed, they would need to design a product that was superior to whatever was already offered in the marketplace.
They spent over two years on research and development, studying the industry, experimenting with countless fabrics, and dissecting every pain point associated with socks.
The result was a perfectly engineered sock, with every minute detail designed with the consumer in mind — perfect for both athletic performance and leisure.
But the needs of the homeless and the needs of the Bombas consumer are very different. With that in mind, Heath and Goldberg reimagined the structure of their donation sock. The donation sock is engineered with reinforced seams for greater durability and a longer lifespan. It contains an anti-microbial treatment that prevents the growth of fungus and odors, and the socks are in darker tones to show less wear and tear. The refashioned sock is a testament to Heath and Goldberg’s commitment to fight homelessness with innovation and further solidifies Bombas’ reputation as a brand that’s driven by purpose rather than profit.
Stitched inside every Bombas sock is the brand’s mantra “Bee Better.” The name Bombas is derived from the Latin bombus, which means bumblebee. Bees are small, but together, they can make a huge impact. Bombas is no different, and the mantra serves as a constant reminder that we are all connected, and that even the smallest of actions can make a big difference.
Anxious and excited to share their product with the world, they went to market with the goal of donating 1,000,000 socks by 2024 – but it took just two years.
Word of their inspiring brand story spread like wildfire, and people flocked to be a part of it. It was human to the core, and consumers felt emotionally connected to the brand’s purpose and mission. It’s much more than just a pair of socks. It’s an experience that leaves you feeling impassioned, rewarded and inspired.
Today, Bombas has donated 2,287,666 socks to charity – a number that rises by the thousands with each passing day.
2,287,666 random acts of kindness. 2,287,666 inspiring actions.
That is why Bombas is our inspiring action brand of the month!
Many people have learned to start a fire from the bottom, with kindling and firestarters underneath, then small twigs, and larger wood on top.
Expert firestarters will tell you to reverse that method – for more certain results, start with the top.
Brands built around a powerful emotional match – a single emotional strike zone ignited by a powerful emotional idea that sits above and informs every brand touchpoint – tend to grow faster and burn hotter.
Many marketers try to build a cohesive brand and a self-perpetuating business through offers, promotions, personalization and other performance marketing techniques. Starting from the bottom creates an unruly fire that needs constant tending and that often fails to achieve the integrity and heat of a self-perpetuating blaze.
Starting from the bottom leads to a common marketing malady –the balkanization of target.
Today personalization and micro-segmentation are all the rage. Performance marketers have built a multi-billion dollar industry, but much of the value they capture in the short-term is at the cost of the long-term brand and enterprise value of their clients.
Make no mistake, igniting action is essential to the creation of value, but action at the cost of brand is unsustainable and irresponsible.
Often the process of building a sustainable and growing blaze starts with putting the brand back together again.
Starting with key segments and personas, the successful marketer looks for a singular “emotional strike zone” – a common emotional target that is shared.
The “emotional match” is the key idea or purpose that strikes that target and ignites passion.
The process looks like this:
Segments and personas -> Emotional Strike Zone -> Emotional Match
Once the team understands the emotional strike zone and the emotional match, attention is turned to accelerating the actions that create value and growth for the brand and business.
When you start from the top, you build a marketing blaze that becomes self-perpetuating. You set it and feed it and the heat does more and more of your work for you. Does it really work? Check out some of our clients’ recent public results.
Agencies are split. They are bifurcated, balkanized.
Advertising from sales promotion. Creative from media. TV from digital. Brand from business. Consumer from B2B. Social from experiential. Strategy from execution. Content from Identity from Innovation.
Each responsible for their deliverable. None accountable for the client’s success.
And paid to treat decision makers as if they’re split too.
Rational vs. emotional. Buyers vs. brand users. E-mail responders vs. mobile app users.
But decision makers aren’t split. They’re whole human beings. Hearts and minds together. Real people who think for themselves and are susceptible to social influence as well.
Whole people who respond to whole brand experiences. Amazing, coherent, inspiring brand experiences that move them to engage, to hope, to trust, to desire, to share, to dream, to buy and to bond.
The experiences you create, and the purpose and meaning behind them, are what people talk about. They share, rate, report and buy experiences, and as they do, reputations are formed.
We have lived on the split side, worked in those agencies, large and small, every one of us as experts in our own silos, cut off from the whole.
We each chose the whole brand experience. The integrated, cross-trained team. The challenge of collaborating with the client to create the whole solution.
Here we are gladly accountable for the deliverables, but equally we are anxious to share accountability for your reputation, your brand and your growth.
We help our clients inspire people to make more inspiring decisions and form more empowering habits, connections and partnerships.
We work to be worthy of that whole partnership, and we’re as proud of our results as we are of our work.
Because today, your brand isn’t what you tell people it is. Your brand is what people tell people it is.
Our clients are responsible for building brands and businesses simultaneously.
This often means urgently lowering the cost of acquiring customers and revenue while launching, relaunching or refreshing the brand.
Brand + Business Building.
Often, before we started working together, these leaders felt they alone bore that responsibility and perspective. Lots of people had solutions to sell them, but fitting those solutions together into a whole wasn’t anybody’s problem but theirs.
When we started working together, for the first time they had accountable partners responsible for growing the business and brand, and able to speak in the language of the CEO and the board too – the language of results.
Not all of our clients are public companies, but recently some of our public clients have released results that I’d like to share.
Weight Watchers has just posted their fifth straight quarter of membership recruitment growth, and marketing is credited to helping drive the growth, of which DiGo played an integral creative role.
After last year’s tax season, Jackson Hewitt moved their account to DiMassimo Goldstein, and the company has just reported our first results together. The short of it is that we preempted the rest of the industry and, with our smaller budget, outperformed everyone, including H&R Block.
These are public companies turning a corner. Their management teams are tight and urgently focused on results. They can’t sacrifice brand for revenue or revenue for brand – they need both urgently.
In this, they have a lot in common with our growth-stage clients who are changing industries and bringing the new world of Direct 3.0. The marketplace is changing quickly around industries, and while we help our clients seize the opportunities in Direct 2.0 platforms and technologies, we help them transform marketing for the marketplace beyond with powerful direct brand experiences – Direct 3.0. (Here’s a video on Direct 2.0 to whet your appetite for learning more about Direct 3.0.)
If you are at a giant company with a strategic sourcing department and a matrix management structure, you probably can’t hire us because you probably aren’t on a team with a leader who really is responsible for building both the brand and the business, and because you probably can’t really use a truly integrated, accountable partner of our size.
But if you are at the moment of extreme focus in your business where both marketing results and brand value are urgently essential to building the value of the enterprise, then finding true partners may just be a possibility worth considering.
If the results referenced above prove anything, it’s that when your brand inspires action and those actions build your brand, some wonderful things can happen.
If that’s what you’re working on, know that we are with you!