This past January, our Chief Creative Officer Tom Christmann was invited down to Miami to be a guest speaker at the world-renowned Miami Ad School.
The campus, which is nestled among the mural-covered warehouses of Miami’s design district, is a creative utopia. The sun ricochets off the building’s vibrant pink exterior. The courtyard is full of abstract sculptures, all of which are equal parts wacky and genius. The inside is just as inventive, with denim-lined walls and a towering gorilla constructed of duct tape.
This is much more than just a school. This is a museum of ideas. A place of inspiration.
Tom approached the podium and addressed the student body as “the leading creatives of 2020.” In a way only he can, he inspired and challenged the room full of young writers, designers, planners, and thinkers to use their creative power for good.
Over the course of the next half-hour, Tom shared his unique perspective on advertising with the audience. He talked about the future of brands, the power of actions over ads, and the qualities needed to hone your creativity and direct it toward making a positive impact on the world around you. It was an empowering presentation. To view an excerpt from the speech, check out the video below.
Throughout the remainder of the week, Tom led two classes in an agency-simulation exercise. In a very real-world scenario, the students were assigned a client, handed briefs, and tasked with presenting campaigns in just two days. Watching the students, many of whom were from foreign countries and different cultures, come together as a team to collaborate on ideas left us feeling inspired. Creativity is the language of the world.
We’d like to thank all the staff and students of Miami Ad School for welcoming Tom as one of their Industry Heroes. We hope to be back again in the future!
To hear more from Tom Christmann, look out for his upcoming podcast titled “The A List,” in which Tom interviews a who’s who in the creative world.
How does a digital direct brand reinvent itself for the direct 2.0 economy?
For Quicken Loans, it started with a big, inspiring idea:
Revolutionize and reinvent the mortgage process for today’s digital consumer.
But how does a mortgage-lending company offer something that no other mortgage-lending company has offered before?
For Quicken, it was simple. They don’t.
They don’t reinvent the product. Instead, they reinvent the experience from top to bottom, with an objective to stand up to the expectations of a Dollar Shave Club, Airbnb, Warby Parker world.
The competition was the backdrop. Mortgage-lending companies were old, slow, and boring.
To be for the digital consumer, the new experience needed to be futuristic, innovative, and direct. They needed to think like a tech company.
And they did. They assembled a team of over 450 engineers to build this new digital service.
After five years of research, testing and development, Quicken Loans was ready to lift the curtain on their revolutionary masterpiece – and what better way than an iconic spot during Super Bowl XLIX?
RocketMortgage was launched! The spot went viral. Direct 2.0 had reached the mortgage industry.
So how is it different?
With RocketMortgage, you can get a loan approved within minutes. The entire process is completely paperless, and the interface has the technology to verify your bank statements on the fly. No other service can offer such a streamlined and seamless user-experience. For RocketMortgage, it’s all about the customer.
Emotional Match. Creative Fatwood. Momentum Fire. Rocket Mortgage assembled all of the most important elements we look for in a blazing inspiring action brand.
And unlike its competitors, RocketMortgage delivers on its expectations. They’ve generated the optimum action, prioritizing the consumer and designing every detail of the service around their journey, successfully ridding the process of any gaps, logs or blocks.
They’ve put the power back into the consumers’ hands, leaving them feeling impassioned and inspiring them in a visceral way. They’ve managed to turn their inspiring idea into relationships, as Quicken Loans is now the leading online mortgage-lender in the United States.
That’s why RocketMortgage is our Inspiring Action Brand of the Week!
My largest obstacle was finding a career that inspired me.
From the very first time I can remember thinking about what my career would be, I always knew I would be an attorney. As a child and teen, I prided myself on being able to argue with the best of them – and win. I entered college knowing that I was four years away from entering law school and finally being close to fulfilling my destiny. The first dent in this dream was being waitlisted by my law school of choice. I was devastated to learn that the rest of the world didn’t see my destiny as clearly as I did. The second dent occurred when I “settled” on a different law school and spent the first semester painfully bored in every single one of my classes and finding nothing in common with any of my fellow students. I wasn’t nearly as in love with being a year 1 law student as they were. I was stunned to realize that my own heart and mind weren’t in line with this dream I’d had since childhood. The third, and final, dent occurred when I took the second semester of law school off and spent a few months temping at a law firm. I thought that maybe living and breathing inside my ultimate goal would reignite my passion, help me find my way. It didn’t. It only solidified what I had slowly come to realize. I didn’t want to be a lawyer. But what does a twenty-something do when the one and only dream she’s ever had is no longer the reality she wants? I love to read and was an English major in college, so I explored going to graduate school for literature. But I was tired of listening and talking. I wanted to do. I’ve always loved tutoring and studying with other people. So I eventually ended up in the Golden Apple program, a competitive program that offered an accelerated path to my master’s in education and my teaching certification. I started my teaching career in Chicago and spent three years in education, contributing what I could to the community and my school. But I started to realize that while I absolutely loved my students, I still wasn’t in love with what I was doing. I was happy and comfortable. But that comfort didn’t feel right to me. I started to wonder if maybe my path needed to lead me outside of the comfort zone of Chicago, where I grew up and where my entire family lived.
So my husband and I packed up our car and moved to New York. From that first scary night in a new city, I knew that we had made the right move. The day I was offered an internship at DiMassimo Goldstein, I just knew that, again, I was on the right path. My entire family and all of my friends thought that I was crazy taking such a big risk. That, at my age, an internship, followed by a full-time position as the agency’s first-impression manager, was a huge step back from my years as an award-winning teacher. But I told them to have faith, because it felt right to me. Even with how strongly I believed that I had finally found my path, I never could have imagined the amazing 11 years that I’ve had with this agency. Eleven years of inspiration, challenges and amazing growth. From intern to CFO and partner. What an amazing dream.
What are the lessons that I’ve learned from this incredibly long story? Don’t settle. Use whatever opportunities you’re presented with to seek out what inspires you. What makes you feel challenged. What helps you grow. What allows you to feel alive and engaged. Look for chances to make yourself uncomfortable. Allow yourself to feel the butterflies and the nervous energy.
A social world favors brands and businesses that are social to the core.
Too many marketers think of social as a channel, and others think of social as merely an opportunity or a challenge.
Social is more than that, as we’ve seen with the dramatically outperforming campaigns of a series of near-instant billion-dollar brands, from Dollar Shave Club to Warby Parker to The Honest Company. But social brand thinking can also relaunch, refresh and revive brands with their roots in the pre-social age.
We proved it for Memorial Sloan-Kettering when we shifted the center of its brand marketing from reiterating its superior care and outcomes to empowering and giving voice to heroic cancer patients through our “Talk Back to Cancer” campaign. The growth of Memorial Sloan-Kettering since the launch of that campaign has been phenomenal.
We proved it again when we helped Weight Watchers put its members in the center, using our patented Selfifesto® process, and helping to turn around recruitment.
Refreshing a brand for the social world means starting with reversed assumptions. Instead of thinking of a “target” whom we need to seduce, we think about how a prospect becomes a user and then becomes a brand-lover and loyalist.
We reimagine the brand from the user’s point of view. We realized that in a world of choice, what matters is people choosing to use our brand and our marketing as part of their own campaigns for themselves! If we become part of the user’s campaign to be more, better, happier … we win.
For us, the old way is anti-social thinking, and the new way is profoundly social thinking. Social brands just win.
We track all the KPIs on our brands, every single day. So, I can assure you that this isn’t some crunchy philosophy, but rather a key insight with geometric effect on the bottom line.
When a brand inspires action in a way that demonstrates love, courage, and understanding like Airbnb did this past week – we celebrate them.
As part of their new campaign titled “We Accept”, the company recently announced that the Airbnb community will provide free housing to refugees and those recently barred from entering the US.
Airbnb believes in the inspiring idea that no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love, or who you worship, you deserve to belong. They then sprung that idea into action in a meaningful and iconic way. It’s a powerful stance from a brand committed to helping people live better lives.
So on behalf of all of us at DiMassimo Goldstein, we’d like to thank Airbnb for putting humanity first and reminding people everywhere that empathy wins.
If you want to inspire action as well, you can donate here to assist those in need.
Our Chief Mark DiMassimo has been a very busy man these past couple of weeks, speaking with different journalists and providing commentary on this year’s big game. If you’ve missed any of articles, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a look back on the biggest week in advertising!
Mark talked stunts and events with Mae Anderson of the Associated Press. Her article can be read here.
Mark chatted with Bertin Pellegrin of B on Brand to discuss the role of politics in this year’s commercials.
Read what Mark had to say about that buzz worthy Budweiser spot in this article for Quartz.
The brutal 2016 election year left many relationships damaged, if not destroyed. The polarizing personalities of both candidates divided even the most close-knit groups of friends, turning our news feeds and dinner tables into debate-littered battlegrounds.
But the election is over, and in the holiday spirit of togetherness, we wanted to shift the narrative to what’s most important. To give everyone out there a shovel to bury the hatchet. A chance to reach out across the aisle and mend the relationships we’ve fought so hard to build. To prove that having opposing views does not make you the opposition, and that relationships are built on empathy, not policy.
The result was Bipartisan Holiday Cards, an inspiring action project produced by our team here at DiMassimo Goldstein that utilizes the connecting power of Social Media to unite, rather than divide.
By visiting our website, you can either download and share the cards with your friends – or purchase a hard copy and deliver it right to their doorstep. And, in the spirit of giving, all proceeds go to the Morgridge Academy, a school on the National Jewish Health campus that serves children with severe asthma, diabetes, HIV/AIDs and other chronic illnesses.
The need to provide children with a safe and healthy learning environment is one thing we can all agree on.
These Holiday Cards are the first installment of a series of Bipartisan-themed cards to be released throughout the year, so please like our Facebook page to stay updated and be the first to know when the next batch is unveiled.
I needed to refinance my house recently. And if you’ve ever refinanced, or taken a mortgage, you know how time-consuming it can be. The bank needs lots of information about you. They need to know you’re employed. They need to know how much you make. Your credit score. Pay stubs. Assets. Statements. A letter from your dog walker. They want it all.
I tried to do it the usual way. I asked a colleague. He told me he had a great mortgage guy from Bank of America. I gave him a call. He was smart. He spoke in hushed tones about how to work the system. He had just the right loan for me. He told me to send him some an email saying I needed a certain rate and that way he could tell his bosses that he fought the good fight. I did. I had a guy on the inside. He was confident he could help me.
Then he handed me off to other people. These were people I hadn’t talked to. They needed stuff. All of the stuff above (minus the dog walker letter) and more. How did they tell me they needed that stuff? Well, they emailed me. And they sent me packages in the mail. This is how it has been done for twenty years, I told myself. I tried to keep up. I really did.
But I have a job. And I get a lot of emails. And I don’t always check my mail when I get home late. So stuff started to slip. I got more emails. I got voicemail messages. I was told I had stuff to do. And it was on me to get it done. I created to-do lists for myself. I stressed. I missed meetings because I was looking for this statement or that one. I sent messages to my HR people asking for the things I still didn’t have. I called banks and brokerages that I had forgotten the passwords to and asked them to reset those passwords. And then I forgot the passwords again.
One day, I got a letter in the mail saying that my loan status was terminated. I called my guy. He said that I had missed some information and the underwriters needed it and didn’t I check my mail? He started the process over again. But now there was a new wrinkle. My credit score had dropped a bit, (possibly owing to the fact that he had been checking my credit?) so he wasn’t sure he could get me the same rate. He would try, though. Expect a call from one of his associates. I had to email him a few times to make this happen.
So we started again. I now had a new to-do list. The old pay stubs wouldn’t do. I needed new ones. And the statement on my brokerage wasn’t complete enough. And could I fax it all to them? Fax? Honestly? As in facsimile machine. A device patented in 1843. But then it was called the Electric Printing Telegraph.
I called my inside guy. I asked why nobody had called me to tell me I was late on things. And what was happening now. He seemed annoyed to have to talk to me. He told me that I had dropped the ball. He wasn’t rude. But he made it clear that it had been incumbent upon me to do the work and if I couldn’t do it in their system then he couldn’t help me much. But he was trying.
I was angry. I told him that I was in a service business, too. And if my client had “dropped the ball” on approving a television spot that had to ship, it would be my job to make sure to get them on the phone. Failure to do this would be the end of my relationship with my client. He didn’t see it that way. There were procedures. I didn’t follow them. In the end, I felt like just another number in BofA’s database. Not the best brand experience. I told him to stop the new loan, refund my money and that I’d be looking elsewhere for my loan.
The next week I got seven (yes, seven!) duplicate disclosures for the new loan. I called my guy and asked if he was pranking me. At this point, I could tell in his voice that I was a problem. He condescended to tell me that that’s how it works. He was looking at different products for me and each needed a disclosure mailed out. This was just how it was done. The disclosures had been sent out before our last conversation. But he had cancelled them all. He had refunded my money. Have a good day.
That’s when I found Rocket Mortgage. I had seen the ads saying you could get a mortgage on your phone. It was fast. It was new. It was to banks what Uber was to car services. I downloaded the app and applied. I expected the same crap. But this time at least I had all my documents ready. I wasn’t going to screw up again. Seriously, I felt bad about myself. Thanks Bank of America.
The first thing I noticed about the Quicken Loan experience (Rocket Mortgage is a Quicken product) was how it was all built around me. I was given one web page where all of my stuff would go. All of the documents could be uploaded there. All of the messages between me and my loan advisor would go there. And if I didn’t check it one day, I would get a text message telling me I needed to go check it out because there was stuff to do.
Somehow, the app knew how much my taxes were. It could even verify my employment by searching public databases (although this feature didn’t work for me, but I easily uploaded the documents they needed to the site.)
It was responsive. If I left a message in the morning, someone would reply before noon. If I had a question that needed clarification, someone would text me. And if I ever needed to know what was up, I could just check the page. There were no ads trying to sell me other things. This was a page dedicated to ME, with the sole job of closing my refinance as quickly and easily as possible.
I closed on the refinance last week. They sent a title company to my home to do it. At 7pm. I didn’t have to go to them. The only mail I got were my closing documents in a box with some fun branding on it that looked like it was top secret documents and said MORTGAGE POSSIBLE and FOR YOUR EYES ONLY on it. Cheesy, yes. But, again, it was the only mail I got from them. And it felt kind of special in a Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego sort of way.
The experience I had with Rocket Mortgage from Quicken was the best ad they ever could have made. I have since learned that they worked for five years on the coding. Thousands of engineers touched the final product. Putting thought and effort into customer experience is an Inspiring Action. It made me feel modern. (Nobody mentioned a fax machine.) It made me feel personal importance. (I had my own page.) And it was all so seamless that even I couldn’t screw it up.
How are you building your brand around your customers? What elements of experience design can you use to make the sales process more modern, personal and seamless? Or are you too busy making an ad that will get more people into the funnel, where they will have to do all the work?