What do we want to accomplish? What are the relevant insights? What's the essence of the brand? What's the big idea that will engage our audience and make them think, feel and act? Which of the many tools in our toolkit, in what combination, will best reach that audience? How can we use those tools to create an experience and start a conversation that will be compelling, memorable and ultimately, effective in achieving our goals? How can we bring the executions to life with beautiful yet functional design? How can we sell our clients on our vision and make them feel ownership of the idea? What can we do to make sure that our ideas are executed with grace and precision? What can we learn from it all? And how can we have fun while we do it?
I started out as a copywriter at J. Walter Thompson in the early 90's in New York. Worked for Grey, Doremus and Publicis/Bloom NY before heading to Boston with my new bride. Up there, I freelanced for just about everybody (Pagano, Schenck & Kay, Allen & Gerritson, Greenberg, Gearon Hoffman, Ingalls, Hill Holiday, Arnold, Digitas and others) but it was the late 1990's and the Internet was calling.
In 2000, I partnered with a couple of the smartest folks I knew and we created Brandimation (possibly the world's first experiential marketing firm). We landed Kraft Foods as a client and spent two years exploring the future of marketing with their long-term growth research group. The experience was remarkable. People are coming out today with the stuff we proposed in 2001. But alas, we were a few years before our time.
In 2003, I left Brandimation to take on the Executive CD position at a 25 person ad agency called Princeton Partners. When I left in 2006, we had doubled agency revenue, had over 50 employees, had created a healthcare specialty practice and had won a ton of new business. We we're also on the map creatively - winning dozens of Philly Golds, ADDYs, Healthcare Marketing Awards, Asters and CAMA Astras.
I spent the next two years working for a variety of clients here in New Jersey and in New York before joining The Marathon Group. This shop was originally the in-house creative services department for Barnabas Health, but was spun out to be a freestanding agency. I was brought in to try to make it more like a real agency, and despite the worst economic environment in decades, we still won work from a variety of clients (including several in higher ed). All while handling all the marketing and communications for New Jersey's largest health care system. And while the health care industry (and our system to be sure) prefers more conservative work, we were still able to win dozens of Healthcare Marketing Awards, Aster Awards and Jersey Awards.
Now I'm back to consulting, until the right opportunity to help another agency kick ass comes along. Send me an email. I'd love to have a conversation.