Need help growing
your brand?

Call Lee at 646.507.5804

or email lee@digobrands.com

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.

Change Agent’s Cookbook: Fox or Hedgehog?

The ‘Hedgehog Concept’ dates back to antiquity, to a philosopher-poet named Archilochus.

His idea still has power to move us today because he told it in the form of a simple story, the story of the Fox and the Hedgehog.

In nature, a Fox is clever, whereas a Hedgehog is well-fed. A Fox’s brain gets bored easily and seeks new problems to solve. The Fox has so many ideas he often forgets which ones are his best and most useful.

The Fox tries everything in its quest to catch and eat the hedgehog.

The Hedgehog has one idea, and he’s learned to execute it perfectly – he just rolls himself into a perfect, prickly ball, and the Fox goes hungry every time.

Because the Hedgehog has a single defining idea, she just gets better and better at working that idea.

In life, business and cartoons, hedgehogs beat foxes every day. Wile E. Coyote is a Fox. He is forever inventing new “business models” to capture the Roadrunner. Roadrunner is a Hedgehog. Roadrunner’s Hedgehog Concept is FASTER. This just happens to be the same one that has driven FedEx and Google’s success for decades.

I first met this idea not in the study of Greek philosophy, but in Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t.

Collins studied companies that had taken their results from good to great. Without bias, he and his team set out to learn how. A key factor in these good-to-great stories was the finding a “Hedgehog Concept.” 

Collins said that this hedgehog concept lay at the intersection of, “What you have enthusiasm for,” “What drives your economic engine” and “What you can be best in the world at.”

I took Collins’ invitation to find our hedgehog to heart. But, how does the Fox develop a Hedgehog concept? And how does the leader of an unruly skulk of Foxes – creative, strategic, analytical, artistic, entrepreneurial, multi-faceted, idea machines – establish a Hedgehog Concept culture?

I knew we had a passion for the intersection of entrepreneurship, creativity and personal growth – Growth. And, we shared a passion for working with and learning from the best.

Secondly, we took the word “agency” seriously, even if the rest of the world didn’t. 

To us, being an “agent” means putting the client’s success first, being “unconflicted” – having zero conflicts of interest – and limiting distractions. I believed that an agency must take fiduciary responsibility for the client’s success. 

So, it was clear that our economic engine would be fueled by client success and only by client success. That translated to fees and bonuses based on achieving milestones.

Because of our commitment to aligning with the client, from CEO on down, we knew we needed an integrated offering, bringing together brand and performance. Clients were increasingly lonely with the responsibility for integrated brand-building and revenue-generating – brand and performance – as agencies focused on micro-specializations.

So, the typical specialization couldn’t be our Hedgehog. We couldn’t just do digital or brand design or creative or media.

We stepped back to observe ourselves solving problems. Whether launching, relaunching and turning around a brand and business, we noticed that we do in fact have a single, all-powerful strategy, a single defining idea.

Inspiring Action.

The Hedgehog views the world through the lens of a single defining idea, overarching

goal, belief, or ethos that informs, colors and exemplifies all that they do.

For us that idea is Inspiring Action, and we’ve built it into a powerful, predictable process for accelerating growth.

All Growth is Behavior Change

Inspiring action starts with a core truth, that no growth in life or business is possible without behavior change. When we approach a business problem, we first look at the key drivers of value in the business. What levers move business value? What gears accelerate growth?

Value-Driving Actions.

All value creation is the result of behaviors, value-driving actions. For example, for many years we worked with an electronic broker, during which time we increased the efficiency of marketing by over ten times.

Analyzing the creation of value in the business, we noted three key levers: new funded accounts, more trading activity and increased balances.

In a low-interest environment, balances didn’t add much value to the company. We needed new accounts from active traders and a higher share of trading from our current customer.

In short, we needed to get more active traders to choose us, to fund their accounts and to trade more often with us – all value-driving behaviors.

Behavior Change is Inspiring Action

Optimal behavior change comes from a synergy of brand and performance.

Performance marketing alone is less efficient in the short run and damaging in the long run.

Inspiring = Motivated

Behavior is most likely to change – action is most likely to be taken – when motivation, ease and a trigger all happen at the same time (B.J. Fogg).

An inspiring brand organizes motivation, motivating the first value-driving action, while setting up the motivation for subsequent actions.

Inspiration is a function of the brand idea – does it connect and motivate, does it create a powerful lift?

Action = Ease

Action = Ease (simplicity, presence, lack of friction, plus a trigger – all at the same time).

In each case, we analyze the prospect and customer journey, looking for blocks, gaps and drags affecting value-driving actions. We prioritize those gaps and address them one by one, unlocking growth, marketing efficiency and customer value.

Yes, we can be fox-like in solving these problems, but the fact that we have a single problem that we solve – the problem of brand and business growth – and single, powerful way of solving that problem – Inspiring Action – means that we keep getting better and better.

So that’s why “Inspiring Action” is so much more than a “tagline” for us – it’s truly our hedgehog concept.

What’s your Hedgehog? Where do you stand with it? I’d love to hear from you.

Yours in Inspiring Action,
Mark DiMassimo

The A List Podcast with Matt Low & Mani Schlisser

On this week’s episode of The A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO, Tom Christmann is joined by BBDO’s Matt Low and Mani Schlisser

Matt is a Senior Copywriter (and resident sneaker enthusiast) at BBDO Worldwide where he has worked since being an intern for nearly five years. Matt is a graduate of Syracuse University and in his nascent career as a copywriter has received numerous accolades and nominations by bodies such as: The New York Festivals Advertising Awards, The Webbys, and his recognition earned him a feature in AdWeek.

Mani has recently taken on a role as a Senior Planner at BBDO (congratulations Mani!) having previously worked as a planner at mcgarrybowen, as well as a strategist at Laundry Service and Edelman. A graduate of Indiana University at Bloomington, he’s into all things tech media and business and has become a frequent contributor to the digital publication, Medium.

We are glad to have these two on for our second episode of our special “Dean’s List” edition of the A-List Podcast. On the Dean’s List we interview rising, young professionals who are building their legacies in the 21st-century advertising world. This is an interesting episode as we dive into a lot of great conversation and discussion about advertising in today’s world.

Tune in to this week’s episode of the A-List here:

Show Notes:

  • [0:00-2:39] Intro.
  • [2:42-5:31] Matt and Mani talk a bit about their roles at mcgarrybowen and BBDO.
  • [5:32-9:00] Matt and Mani on their shared upbringing and experiences pre-advertising.
  • [9:26-13:21] Mani on discovering brand strategy and creative planning.
  • [13:44-16:06] Matt on full time creative and tips for interns learning to excel in the workplace.
  • [16:09-19:51] Finding inspiration from agencies’ work and setting Google alerts to stay at the cutting edge.
  • [19:52-24:52] Matt and Mani’s perspectives on industry changes and shifts.
  • [25:00-27:50] Moms, millennials, and the importance of communication in the modern age.
  • [28:00-32:28] Combatting instant gratification and developing skills outside of work.
  • [32:30-38:10] Finding connections and inspiration from the world around us by unplugging here and there.
  • [38:17-41:29] Discussing the modern workflow of an ad agency.
  • [41:30-51:40] Matt and Mani’s goals for their future in the industry.
  • [54:09-58:17] Outro.

“The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, an inspiring action agency, 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

The A-List Podcast with Alex Brueggeman and Ivan Whitted II

 

On this week’s episode of The A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO, Tom Christmann is joined by 72andSunny’s very own Alex Brueggeman and Ivan Whitted II.

Alex serves as the Talent Coordinator there while Ivan is a Junior Copywriter. Alex and Ivan have done great things in their relatively brief time in the industry. This episode is very interesting as it kicks off our A-List ‘Dean’s List’ series this season. On the Dean’s List, we talk to burgeoning, young leaders who are using their current roles to shake things up in the industry.

We are very excited to have them both on for this episode. This week, we dive into interesting issues, such as diversity, inclusivity and tips for starting out in the ad business! You’re not going to want to miss this one!

Check out the latest episode of The A-List podcast here!:

Show Notes:

  • [0:00-2:01] Intro.
  • [2:31-5:31] Alex and Ivan talk about their respective upbringings
  • [5:32-8:22] Alex talks high school influences and his discovery of anthropology at Howard.
  • [8:27-11:00] Ivan discusses early inspiration in the performing arts and discovering PR and advertising.
  • [11:01-13:04] Alex discusses Howard University and the value of HBCUs.
  • [13:10-15:58] Ivan discusses life after college and being inspired to jump into copywriting.
  • [16:00-21:07] Alex’s switch into advertising.
  • [21:14-27:43] Ivan’s experience in ad school and moving to NYC.
  • [27:52-34:56] Alex’s work at 72andSunny and developing diversity initiatives.
  • [35:30-40:20] Ivan’s take on diversity and agency culture.
  • [41:30-46:18] Alex and Ivan’s thoughts about the future of representation in advertising.
  • [48:30-51:13] Outro.

“The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, an inspiring action agency, 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

What We Can Learn From Instagram’s New Update

As many sources have reported, Instagram is currently in the testing phase of a new update that among other things, has most notably generated buzz by removing the ability for users to see the number of likes on their peers’ photos. (The app allows individuals to see their own likes, after clicking through the app a bit.)

This change comes during a time where digital media platforms have come under much scrutiny by an increasing number of end users who demand that these platforms become safer, more positive spaces. These updates have been very well received in the test markets and rollout plans appear to be on the horizon. This change, if adopted by the platform at large, would signal the dawn of a new age, not only in social media but marketing and advertising.

Influencer marketing has become a burgeoning and widely adopted channel of advertising, but with a number of high-profile abuses of such social influence have made the public wary of such irresponsible marketing tactics. By offering up this update, Instagram may be following the trend many social platforms have adopted by adjusting their algorithms in order to provide quality, relevant content that people truly wish to interact with.

Given this, some may assume that such changes are the death knell for social media marketing and advertising. However, we’d opt to think differently. Quality advertising is deeply rooted in a strong brand and crafting an agile presence that listens more than it talks. If the future of social media will no longer be based in likes, then we as advertisers are thus obliged to step up to the plate and dig deep to provide the real, honest, and truly quality content that the social world has come to expect.

So, as Instagram improves its platform, it will likely benefit millions of users, ushering in a new day for social media. As marketers and behavior change agents, we’ll always seek to optimize our content, to be more relevant, more engaging and more authentic. Because to us, it’s not just the future, its #InspiringAction.

 

(P.S.: If you enjoyed this blog post, give us a follow on Instagram: @dimassimogoldstein)

The A-List Podcast with Gerard Caputo

On this week’s episode of The A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO, Tom Christmann is joined by Gerard Caputo. A celebrated creative with a career spanning more than two decades, Gerard Caputo is the Chief Creative Officer of BBH New York and an instructor at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn as well as being a notable name in advertising. Mr. Caputo has received a number of industry accolades including an Emmy award an ANDY, recognition at the Cannes Grand Prix and more!

After graduating from Boston University in 1996, Mr. Caputo began his career at Boston-based Mullen (now MullenLowe) and worked at a number of the industry’s top agencies such as BBDO and Ogilvy as a creative director before arriving at BBH, where he has assumed his current post for nearly 6 years.

Check out the latest episode of The A-List podcast here!:

Show Notes:

  • [0:00-2:06] Intro.
  • [3:01-7:55] Growing up in Little Falls, New Jersey.
  • [10:52-14:00] Discovering photography in school and creative writing.
  • [14:01- 18:35] Transitioning to advertising and becoming an intern at Mullen.
  • [20:17-26:36] Building his book, ‘finding the fire’, and becoming an art director.
  • [28:12-31:30] Emerging as a creative and moving on to Fallon, in Minneapolis.
  • [32:18-34:01] Tips for young people who relocate to new cities.
  • [34:30- 38:20] Being stubborn and pushing to make great ads.
  • [40:14-44:00] On the rise of digital storytelling.
  • [45:00-50:33] Leaving Fallon for BBDO and meeting Tom!
  • [54:24 -1:00:23] Leaving BBDO and evading complacency.
  • [1:01:12- 1:06:55] Moving to BBH and the challenges of being a senior level creative.
  • [1:07:00-1:10:30] Outro.

 “The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, an inspiring action agency, 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

The A-List Podcast with Mark DiMassimo

On this week’s episode of The A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO, Tom Christmann is joined by none other than, our chief and the founder of DiMassimo Goldstein, the most Inspiring Action agency in the world, Mark DiMassimo!

Okay, we can’t lie, we’re obviously excited about this episode. As chief, Mark has overseen the production a lot of great work in the advertising space over the past 23 years. However, Mark was not always the leader of an ad agency…

After a career as a young entrepreneur and musician, Mark DiMassimo began his second career at twenty-five years old in the direct marketing division of BBDO. There, Mark apprenticed to the Direct Marketing author, Ed Nash, and soaked in the atmosphere at a time when direct marketers were entrepreneurial, and brands where built through direct marketing.

As an account executive and without asking permission, Mark started writing ads for a client that had frustrated the creative department into mass creative block. Instead of being fired, he was invited into the creative department with the proviso, “But you won’t be able to tell us what to do anymore.” With time, he emerged as a pre-eminent creative with his career took off due to his track record of success.

Mark worked on choice assignments and launched major brands with the philosophy of exploiting the blind spots of fellow direct marketers by using brand insights to create integrated brand response advertising campaigns that dramatically out-performed more tactical work.

Mark led integrated creative departments and produced notable work at some of the best creative agencies in the world before founding his own in 1996. He founded DiMassimo Goldstein in the spirit of leading the charge for “a brand revolution among direct marketers and a direct revolution among brand marketers” as well as laying the groundwork for our practice of #InspiringAction.

On this episode, we follow Mark through his career and delve into his gritty origin story from start to finish.

You’re not going to want to miss this one. Listen here!

Show Notes:

[0:00-3:00] Intro.

[3:01-7:25] Mark talks about growing up in NJ and his early upbringing.

[7:26-9:29] Mark’s imagination and first forays into creativity as a profession.

[9:29-13:46] Mark’s super-dark childhood short story and learning how to express himself.

[13:47-16:11] Wayne Dyer’s ‘Erroneous Zones’ as a marketing inspiration.

[16:13 -20:23] SUNY Fredonia, majoring in music, and discovering the library.

[21:17-24:45] Transferring to Cornell and Industrial and Labor Relations.

[24:54-27:44] How he made the switch to communications and ultimately deciding on Advertising as a career path.

[25:00-32:30] BBDO Direct and Mark’s first job working on brand accounts in advertising.

[32:31-40:20] Mark discusses his first creative experiences as a copywriter and being challenged for the first time.

[40:42-49:00] Being laid off, freelancing, and getting copywriter positions.

[49:15-55:59] Mark on his rise through the ranks and deciding to start his very own agency.

[56:00-57:37] Outro.

 

 “The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, an inspiring action agency, 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.

The A-List Podcast with Steve Sandstrom

On this week’s episode of The A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann is joined by Steve Sandstrom, the Executive Creative Director of the Portland-based, strategy and design firm, Sandstrom Partners and a board member of the One Club for Creativity.

We are grateful to have Steve with us this season.

Steve is also one of the founding minds behind Tazo, a tea company that challenged consumer perceptions and spawned a litany of brands in its wake. Steve’s work with Tazo resulted in a number of accolades and recognition in major competitions for over a decade.

Steve has been instrumental in launching some of the most iconic brands of this decade and revitalizing many well known brands, most notably having worked on Converse, Nike, Coca-Cola, Miller Brewing, ESPN, Jordan, adidas, Levi Strauss, and more.

In this interview, Steve shares a bit with us about his journey, his upbringing in Portland, and the stories behind some of his most famous designs.

Tune in now to this episode of the A-List Podcast!

 

  • [0:00-2:33] – Intro
  • [2:34 – 7:40] How to pronounce ‘Oregon’ and Steve’s upbringing in Portland.
  • [7:41- 9:52] Steve’s early inspirations and first exposure to art through his family.
  • [9:52- 14:17] Learning design fundamentals in school and discovering graphic design in college.
  • [14:18 – 17:33] Steve’s first design job as an illustrator and standing out in class.
  • [17:34 – 21:00] for the love of drawing.
  • [21:01 – 26:50] University of Oregon and developing a unique style at the Daily Emerald.
  • [26:51 – 30:17] Deciding on commercial art and getting notable exposure for designing.
  • [30:18 – 34:15] Starting a design career in advertising and advice to young artists
  • [34:16 – 37:10] Turning a local radio station into a design opportunity.
  • [37:11 – 46:33] Being picked up by Nike and working as a creative director.
  • [46:34: 53:59] Starting Sandstrom Partners and discovering a design niche
  • [54:00 – 1:03:40] Problem solving and favorite challenging projects
  • [1:05:55 – 1:07:22] Outro

“The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, an inspiring action agency, 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.

The A-List Podcast with Michael Bierut

On this week’s episode of The A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann is joined by Michael Bierut, current partner at Pentagram and former employee of the renowned Italian designer Massimo Vignelli. Michael has designed some of the most well-recognized logos in the world, including the Hillary Clinton campaign logo, the Saks Fifth Avenue bag, the Slack icon, and many more.

We are so lucky to have Michael join us in our design series, as we interview some of the industry’s biggest and brightest.

For ten years Michael worked and learned from Vignelli Associates, before joining Pentagram as a partner in 1990. He has won hundreds of design awards and his work is represented in several permanent collections including: the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York; the Library of Congress in Washington, DC; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA); the Denver Art Museum; the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Germany; and the Museum of Design, Zürich, Switzerland.

In this interview. he divulges how he turned his natural artistic inclination into a giant career in graphic design. Be sure to listen then check out his site https://designobserver.com/ for creative inspiration.

 

Show Notes:

  • [0:00 – 1:56] Intro
  • [1:57 – 4:27] Growing up in non-starstudded Ohio and discovering his drawing talents.
  • [4:28 – 7:20] Serendipitously stumbling on the book “Aim High for a Career in Graphic Design / Art by S. Neil Fujita” at age 14 and starting art as a vocational trade.
  • [7:21 – 12:10] The benefits of social ineptitude and the nerve to push yourself creatively.
  • [12:10 – 17:57] The curse of ‘knowing the rules.’
  • [17:58 – 26:16] For the love of rules and parameters.
  • [26:17 – 28:16] Helvetica and 70’s font style at the University of Cincinnati
  • [28:17 – 33:35] The magnetic pull to New York City and working with mastermind Massimo Vignelli.
  • [33:36 – 36:10] The healthy side of a workaholic.
  • [36:11 – 38:16] Wisdom gained from 10 years with Vignelli and the importance of compelling ideas.
  • [38:17 – 43:08] Leaving Vignelli to become a partner at Pentagram in 1990.
  • [43:09 – 48: ] Working on the top-secret Hillary Clinton campaign logo.    
  • [52:49 – 54:59] Outro

“The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, an inspiring action agency, 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.