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Tag : Inspiring Action

Both! Brand and Business, Simultaneously.

“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. We call it 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 was 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. We see growth in behavior change. Every 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. Yes, we build the brand. Yes, we build the identity and design the brand. Yes, we develop a theory of growth and build out a marketing plan. Yes, we develop advertising and content. Yet, we view all of this through a Behavior Change Marketing lens. In short, behavior is where brand and business meet. Until someone acts, nothing changes. Until behavior changes, businesses don’t grow. Behavior is the intersection of meaning and emotion. Every KPI in a business is driven by a Key Behavioral Indicator. Behavior drives results. By keeping our eye on the behavior and the result, we see eye to eye with our clients as we accelerate value creation for the business. About DiMassimo Goldstein (DiGo) DiMassimo Goldstein (DiGo) is a Behavior Change Marketing agency, trusted by sophisticated marketers and committed change agents to understand complex situations quickly and to bring forward highly-effective creative solutions. DiGo helps life-changing brands grow by helping people make more inspiring decisions and form more empowering habits. The brand, advertising and design agency’s clients, from start-ups to blue chips, have built legendary brands that inspire action. DiGo is applied behavioral scientists, growth strategists, brand planners, designers, writers, marketers, data storytellers, technologists, social and digital media experts, project managers, producers, artists and brand leaders – all of them change agents.

“We tried that before and it didn’t work.

Have you heard about the grown elephant and the rope?

Perhaps you’ve heard about the elephants.

Elephants, like humans, have wonderful memories. This is both a strength and a weakness. A superpower and kryptonite. 

Look at this picture of an adult elephant tied to a small bar, with a lightweight rope. A grown elephant can easily bend that bar or break that rope. 

But, sadly, they don’t.

The trainers start tying them when they are little. They learn that they can’t break the rope and as they grow they never again test that theory. To them, it’s not a theory at all – it’s just the truth.

“We tried that before and it didn’t work.”

But it’s worse than that. Bring the human equivalent of adult elephants together to envision possibilities and not one of them will even suggest tugging at that rope. It just won’t come up. They will focus on solving the problem of how to achieve their goals within the range that the rope allows them. The rope length will define their limits. I’ve watched it happen hundreds of times. I’ve been part of it hundreds of times. 

There is a difference between an epiphany and a habit. Talking about possibility and feasibility together is a habit. In most places, it’s just the way things are done. There is a strong taboo against separating the two. Someone may suggest something foolish! Unprofessional! Incorrect! Impossible! Embarrassing!

But, breakthroughs don’t come from doing the right things. Breakthroughs come from doing brave, incorrect, inspiring things.

Twenty-five years ago, I developed a process that has driven my career and life ever since. It’s a process I built off of all I had learned in my career to that point, comparing successful projects to less successful projects, and a system for realizing possibilities that I learned from the pioneering executive coach, Trisha Scudder. 

I had seen her breakthrough process shift the culture and results of a team from ordinary to extraordinary in just a few days. And, while Trisha taught many powerful concepts and processes, one stood out to me as the most powerful of all.

The brilliant sales and marketing consultant and author, Mark S. A. Smith says that, “We are in the epiphany business.”

Trisha’s most powerful idea struck me as an epiphany, and that epiphany has fueled my career ever since.

Here it is: 

Discuss Possibility and Feasibility separately. Start with possibility.

Perhaps this doesn’t seem like very much to you. It didn’t strike me as Earth-shattering either when I first heard it. Trisha made it fun, so I was engaged. The results of the process she led us through, starting with Possibility, then moving on to Feasibility, led to some surprising breakthroughs. This stimulated my curiosity, always curled up like a cat ready to pounce. I committed to playing with this process and to keeping my eyes wide open.

Here’s what I noticed. People come into conversations about the future weighed down by the past and the present. 

We’ve all heard the classic, “We tried that before and it doesn’t work.”

We’ve all seen that little chestnut over-applied.

“Are you sure it was THIS that you tried?”

“Are you sure we are proposing testing exactly the same thing in the same way?”

We’ve all witnessed this idea-killing malpractice. But, what I noticed is that most possibility killing is much more subtle. It’s the ideas that people don’t even bring up in the first place. It’s the invisible limits that people bring to these conversations.

By insisting that the first phase of the conversation be entirely focused on Possibility, while reassuring everyone that the next phase will focus on Feasibility, you will find you develop breakthrough results.

While possibility is all about what might be, feasibility is about, “What can we really get done.” Feasibility is important. Hell, it’s essential. But don’t let it get all mixed up in your discussion of the possible. Don’t let it cloud your vision.

Looking back, I see that this principle is so powerful when practiced that it has played a part in every breakthrough I’ve seen in my career. And, though I built my agency’s process around this epiphany, it is like a brain of which I’ve only used about 10%.

There is a difference between an epiphany and a habit, between having a process and using it. I see the possibility of using this process ALL of the time. I see that I can do so much more good if you use it too.

Let me know how it goes! I’m happy to help. You know where to reach me.

Pride Works.

If you want to inspire a community to action, nothing works harder than pride.

Five years ago, some folks on the school board in Rye asked if I had any ideas for how to get a controversial school budget passed.

I told them what I’d learned working on the board of Rare, a conservation organization that works all around the world.

Rare’s Pride Campaigns start with a local leader and engage local pride to protect and defend the local environment, which turns out to be a revolution for the global environment.

Back in Rye, Luis Torres and I made some, “Love Rye” videos and yard signs and the rest was history. The school budget passed by a landslide.

This video is a good example: https://vimeo.com/127372432

Now, the signs are back!

Some smart locals have brought the signs back, are selling them to locals, and have raised well over $100,000 to help people affected by the pandemic. You drive through Rye and see hundreds of them, all along the treelined streets.

Pride Works.

If you want to inspire a community to action, nothing works harder than pride.

The Black Pride movement is still going strong around the world after fifty years or more. The Black is Beautiful Movement instilled pride and changed identities in the 20th century and beyond. In fact, the phrase, “Black is Beautiful” goes all the way back to a speech by John S. Rock, an African American abolitionist, all the way back in 1858. Once the seed of pride is planted, it grows for a long, long time!

“Keep America Beautiful” used pride to take a nation of Anchorman-like litterers and show that it could clean up nicely. And while this iconic commercial unfortunately features an Italian-American man playing a Native American, it had a huge effect by instilling pride and shame. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7OHG7tHrNM

“Don’t Mess with Texas” famously used local pride to do the same for Texas. https://adage.com/article/special-report-small-agency-conference-and-awards/gsd-m-founder-tim-mcclure-mess-texas/294314

As a master change agent, pride is one of the most powerful tools in your kitchen. In fact, if identity is the most powerful concept in brand-building, marketing and change, then pride is the most powerful emotion.

Change agent, be proud of your tribe. Though all times and all kinds of crises, we have found ways to change things. Let’s keep using our change agent powers for good!

Brand Is #1 Again

Brand is CEO's and CMO's top priority again. 

According to Gartner, top management agrees that brand strategy is the single “Most Vital Marketing Capability.”
Let’s do an Inspiring Brand Idea Workshop and accelerate your brand-driven growth.
We’re a brand planning agency built for a performance-hungry world.
We’ve helped hundreds of clients discover the inspiring idea that organizes and drives growth.
The brand idea is the #1 performance driver.
While the trend of performance marketing is toward AI automation, brand becomes the sole strategic advantage.
I’d be honored to talk with you about your brand.
It’s amazing what one workshop can do.
You know where to find me.

Advertising in Your Own Brain.

I wrote this answer on Quora, and you probably missed it because it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with business, branding, marketing, advertising, design, innovation or any of that.

Except, it does. It has everything to do with those things.

It was titled: “Why am I too lazy to study?”

So, yeah? Seems to be about studying. School. Laziness… but the answer has everything to do with why we do what we do and why we don’t do what we think we want to do.

And that has everything to do with the way we advertise in our own brain. How do I know this? Two ways.

First, I went from a young adult almost paralyzed by anxiety to a daring career as an entrepreneur, investor, brand and ad agency founder in scary New York City, speaker, tv commentator – let’s just say that while I’ve never jumped out of a plane, I’ve lived a life that required courage and a lot of effort.

I’ve learned what motivated and moves me and what doesn’t.

Second, I started my career in direct marketing. This is what led me to digital marketing, brand building and all the rest. This has afforded me a multi-decade laboratory in which to do experiments about what really motivates people with literally billions of dollars of other people’s money.

I know what moves people and inspires them to action and what doesn’t.

So, here’s my answer to that question on Quora. I hope it helps you untangle your own blocks to action and move toward the fulfillment of your dreams – or better!

https://www.quora.com/Why-am-I-too-lazy-to-study/answer/Mark-DiMassimo?__filter__=all&__nsrc__=1&__sncid__=5486783701&__snid3__=8685875626

The Way of the Change Agent

Now more than ever, the world needs masters of change.

All that was civilized and predictable has become a Wild West.

For you, who forge new order, stop the bleeding, and make new growth possible – I am sharing this excerpt from the upcoming Change Agent’s Cookbook. It will provide you with some mythical support. Don’t scoff at the notion of mythical support. Myths are some of the most powerful tools in the change agent’s arsenal. In this case, you’ll take sustenance from the mythic archetype of the Fixer:

We know the end:

You’re respected.
You’re respected because you respect yourself.
You respect yourself because you know what to do to actually deliver on the promises.
You respect yourself because you know how to think, you know what questions to ask, you understand what the answers mean.
You respect yourself because you’re not just a specialist – you can talk business, brand, design-thinking, creativity, behavior change, data, media, technology, boards of directors, ceos, management teams — everything that adds up to growth.
You are respected because you are able to show up as a master of change, in flow and having fun.
Your confidence and positive energy are attractors.
You are the embodiment of inspiring action.
Here’s the beginning:

You have a WAY. You have a process, a procedure, a consistent way of operating

The Way of the Change Agent.

“Be regular and orderly in your life so you can be violent and original in your work.” – Gustave Flaubert

We’re obsessed with “fixer” characters. These are true professionals who show up and take charge, resolving seemingly unsolvable situations.

Harvey Keitel’s Winston “The Wolf” Wolfe from Pulp Fiction is a classic fixer character. Mike Ehrmantraut from Breaking Bad is another quietly imposing fixer. Olivia Pope, played by Kerry Washington in Scandal, is billed as “D.C.’s greatest fixer.”

There are so many more iconic fixers. Sherlock Holmes, of course. Jodi Foster in Inside Man. Julia Roberts’s Erin Brockovich in Erin Brockovich, George Clooney as Michael Clayton in Michael Clayton. If you haven’t seen the classic scene in which fixer Alec Baldwin as Blake attempts to straighten out a pack of sad-sack salesmen in Glengarry Glen Ross, go to YouTube and watch that right now. It’s the origin of the phrase, “Coffee is for closers!” Better yet, see the whole movie.

From their first entrance, our eyes track these characters like stalker ex-boyfriends. What makes them so mesmerizing is their competence and elegant confidence. They do their job with very little wasted movement. Like Jonathan Bank’s Mike Ehrmantraut on Breaking Bad and George Clooney’s Michael Clayton, they also bring the humility and realism that should come from experience. Yet they can be brutally frank when necessary.

They can also puff themselves up into larger, scarier beasts when required to establish dominance in the service of good order. This is what is so brilliant about “The Wolf” sequence in Pulp Fiction. Keitel’s character is as polite and officious as Gustavo “Gus” Fring can be in his Pollos Hermanos apron on Breaking Bad. But, when he needs to establish who’s boss, he becomes momentarily forbidding before returning to normal size again and complementing the coffee. Alec Baldwin as Blake in Glengarry Glen Ross infuses this character with a striking realism – we know that there are Blakes in the real world and that they are one reason salesmen die. Blake also represents the brutal logic of the fixer – the fixer only does what works, even if it hurts.

As Master Change Agents, we embody the archetype of the Fixer, with a little bit of magic thrown in.

A Fixer is, first, a professional of the highest order. What makes many of these characters interesting is that their professions are often seedy or at least morally ambiguous, not expected to be “professions” at all. The professionalism that they bring to such things as cleaning up lawyer’s messes, making political scandals go away, “cleaning” gory crime scenes and bringing rapacious salesmen into line is what makes for great drama. It works because it rings with an insight about the human condition – that we can develop professional ethics even where they are absurd. We respect professional ethics even when we can’t condone the results.

So, as a master change agent, you will be ready to show up professional in all situations. We’ll also be careful to work toward worthy results.

Fixers are also Tricksters, going beyond professionalism to work a little magic in the course of their work. The order of the Fixer’s method leads to epiphanies and flashes of brilliance.

Master Change Agents are regular and orderly in their methods so that they can be violent and original in their work.

The A-List Podcast with Dhruv Nanda

On this week’s episode of The A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann is joined by Dhruv Nanda, Creative Director and Writer at Oberland, a New York based agency with a mission to create purpose-driven campaigns for each of its clients.

Prior to working at Oberland, Dhruv has had a multitude of experience throughout the past 7 years in this industry. He has worked at a range of agencies including Wunderman, Ogilvy, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Momentum Worldwide while also getting a taste of what in-house creative was like at Chipotle.

In this episode, Dhruv shares his life growing up and what led him to his interest in advertising, the importance of brands having a mission behind them, removing ego’s to make for better work, advice on story telling for non profits, and much more. Hear it all below!

Show Notes:

  • [0:00 – 1:28] Intro
  • [1:29 – 5:45] From Growing up in Dubai to attending a private school in Zambia, Africa for 3 years 
  • [5:50 – 12:32] Leaving Africa to study Law at Carleton University in Canada, and working in a hardcore financial sales role right out of college
  • [12:40 – 18:03] Learning the art of persuasion through sales, how reading the “Ogilvy in Advertising” book ultimately drove his attention to the industry, and his decision to attend Miami Ad School
  • [18:54 – 24:00] His consistent interest in drawing comics, drama, and sketch comedy playing a role in his choice to become a Copywriter
  • [24:29 – 30:40] His experience at Miami Ad School, and what meditation and being in the right mindset can do for creatives in this industry
  • [31:10 – 38:10] How Interning at Draft Agency, PI&C, and MRY boosted his career in New York City. The surprises and challenges he faced going from ad school to “the real world”
  • [39:40 – 44:48] The importance of building necessary client relationship standards, accepting the offer from Bill Oberlander to work for Oberland, and what working for a mission based company means to him
  • [45:17 – 49:17] The difference between working at an in-house agency rather than out-house, his experience working alongside Steve Ells at Chipotle 
  • [49:22 – 55:00] Sharing advice on story telling for Not for Profit clients
  • [55:09 – 57:10] The value he feels working as a professor at Adhouse, and where to find Druhv online
  • [58:08 – 1:00:06] 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 Bobby C. Martin Jr.

On this week’s episode of The A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann is joined by Bobby C. Martin Jr., founding partner of Original Champions of Design, a design and branding agency that builds better brands through informed and strategic identity system design.

In 2017, FastCompany named Martin Jr. one of the Most Creative People in Business. At OCD, Martin Jr. has led design projects for a wide range of clients such as the Girl Scouts of the USA, MTV, The New York Times, the National Basketball Association and the Studio Museum in Harlem to ensure their growth and creative goals.

Martin Jr. is one of the first pure designers to join The A-List Podcast, and offers a unique perspective having worked both in-house at brands and for external agencies. Tune in below!

Show Notes:

  • [0:00 – 0:54] Intro
  • [0:55 – 5:53] Growing up in Virginia to parents who were both educators, and how he still applies what of much he learned in his childhood to his career today
  • [5:54 – 9:59] Falling in love with design in High School, and learning how to express himself visually
  • [10:00 – 11:10] What he learned from design legend Paula Scher and “painting with type”
  • [11:11 – 18:30] Martin Jr. talks about his early career and the job that introduced him to graphic design
  • [18:31 – 20:40] How to manage young talent, the importance of being patient, and giving people the freedom to make mistakes
  • [20:41 – 24:16] How to push clients to be bold while still being respectful
  • [24:17 – 27:45] Why agencies and design firms need to be more integrated, and how the best campaigns have a seamlessness between advertising and design
  • [27:46 – 33:34] Moving to New York City to work for Gear Magazine,  and how that experience taught him relentless work ethic
  • [33:35 – 38:35] Going back to graduate school, why he chose The School of Visual Arts, and the importance of osmosis learning
  • [38:36 – 40:40] Martin Jr. dives into the research tactics that inform design
  • [40:41 – 47:03] His experience as design director of the Jazz at Lincoln Center, and how he sold his ideas to Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis
  • [47:04 – 50:10] Launching Original Champions of Design, and the philosophy of the agency
  • [50:11 – 53:26] The pros and cons of both external and in-house agencies
  • [53:27 – 56:31] How to help people understand design work, and why the designer needs to be involved at every step of the process
  • [56:32 – 1:05:16] Rebranding the NBA logo for the first time in 48 years
  • [1:05:17 – 1:06:12] 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.