Brands aren’t the colors, shapes and typefaces that companies use to distinguish themselves from all other logos. A brand is how we talk, listen, respond to and care about those we want to know. No longer just interrupting with a quick message, it’s a two way conversation in an open forum that lives on the permanent record. It’s no different than the kinship we share with our friends, family and loved ones. It has the power to turn strangers and acquaintances into deeper, more meaningful relationships with the intention to grow up and old together.
A strategy is the contract written between creative and client; a simple structure of direction that when followed plots a path where both sides agree to a common end. But strategy is nothing without the human element. If the emotional insight is ignored, we miss the root of what scares us, nurtures us, joins us and motivates us. This insight taps into the things that make us human and form real and meaningful relationships. These last far longer than convincing someone to try your product for the very first time. If we think only logically and ignore emotion, we’ve failed in the most basic way.
As brands, we can say anything we like about ourselves: The Biggest, The Fastest, The Cheapest, The Strongest. We can put millions of dollars behind each claim to make them pervasive and ubiquitous. We can meet our audience at every media source, social channel and new technology. But if we don’t fulfill on our promises, we’re liars. Once we lie, trust is lost. When trust is lost, all is lost.
This messy little combination of opposites is inextricably connected. Art is an emotionally charged experience that can change lives with depth and meaning or, at the very least, the way we see life. But art can be nothing more than a frivolous little exercise without a patron to expose it to a broad audience while commerce can be nothing more than a heartless transaction without a larger purpose. At first, they don’t appear to coexist naturally but together they are the engine that drives the culture and economy.
Marketing is a faith-based religion. If you believe, the possibilities open, things that shouldn’t be become and the world is more than limited to what’s worked in the past and what seems simply apparent. Belief makes the promise to fill the void. Belief becomes commitment, commitment becomes action and action becomes results! If you don’t believe, synicism is your talisman, you’re in this alone and the idea of imagining the impossible is impossible. Choose wisely.
Feel that? It’s another brilliant idea you’ve spent days and nights and countless soul-twisting hours only to watch die. Want to avoid that feeling? Push out another thing that just meets the specs of the job. But be prepared, it’ll most likely be met with the same level of disinterest. Instead, try to incite a conversation, an opinion, feelings and you’ve drawn the attention of fans and critics, alike. You’ve created a conversation, an argument, genuine interest. Congratulations! You matter. If you’re going to do something, do something that puts your soul on the line. It only hurts when you care.
Tell me a story. Now tell it quicker. Now change it in the middle. Now tell the one theme in a variety of ways. Now make it sequential and lead the viewer from one touch point to the next. Now make the story portable and follow your viewer from experience to experience. Now make the story end happily ever after and turn your viewers from a consumers into advocates so they can continue your story to everyone they come in contact with. Now do it again!
The things we love inspire us. They give us energy and make us want to create. Whether it’s a person or an experience or a culture, our love of life is heightened and we want more so we create more. Seek out that thing that you love. And if you don’t know what that is, seek love. If you already have some, seek more! There’s never enough. You’ll probably notice that things grow in your wake and all around you. These are the guidelines that empower us to create and love our work.
We come up with hundreds more ideas than are actually bought or produced. It’s not that all those dead ideas are wrong but just too beautiful to live in a world that must solve business problems. Oftentimes they’re killed by a test score or an arbitrary comment from a well-meaning client or maybe your own boss who just can’t see it. But once in a while, your shiny, good idea makes it through the gauntlet. Relish it! Do we have to fail to succeed? Well, no. But success certainly feels more powerful when you have.
Mark has an exceptional drive for results. He approaches every creative meeting with the intention of ensuring that everyone is clear regarding next steps and that creative has been elevated both in look and feel, and also in relevance to the target market.
Mark’s positive attitude seems to be a real inspiration for his team. His enthusiasm and good humor encourages a cheerful and proactive attitude in the people he manages.
When the stakes are high, I know I can always rely on him, as Mark never hesitates to step up, roll up his sleeves and do whatever it takes to get the job done.
Mark’s team has delivered many tremendous results that are helping move the business forward and there is outstanding creative work being done across all levels of what the team supports from finalist presentations to brand development.
Mark is honest about what he needs to succeed. There is never any question about what to do to help Mark perform. This is helpful because it helps me know how to serve. Additionally, if I ever need anything, Mark promptly addresses it. Great partnership that gets results.
Mark’s leadership lets people do their best work and he tries to create an environment in which that is possible.
Mark is always open to new ideas to make the marketing department better and to create a better work environment and to put processes in place to make our department more efficient.
Mark has gone above and beyond in reaching out to other teams and leaders to facilitate collaboration.
Mark is the quintessential servant leader. He encourages others and creates a fun environment where everyone is encouraged to share successes. He not only understands the production and strengths of his team, but he goes a step further into the culture of the individuals and the team dynamics.
Mark never fails to impress me with his creativity, his positive attitude and his ability to achieve creative excellence even in the face of operational demands.
Servant leadership; He’s the best I’ve ever met…bar none.