Each year I take stock in what I’ve experienced at Elasticity. Last January on our seventh anniversary, I reflected on it in “Seven Years, Seven Lessons.” In 2017, I offer “Eight Things I Think I Think,” as the agency reaches its eighth year in business.
In shamelessly borrowing from my friend Steve Olenski‘s annual pop culture-inspired marketing column for Forbes, this year I set each of my eight thoughts to an appropriate song title. Thus, I present what I think I learned through life at Elasticity this past year:
Problem Solvers: I think earlier this year, we met with the CEO of a large supermarket chain and he asked me what our agency did best. Off the cuff I responded that what we do is very simple, “We solve problems.” Indeed, companies do not seek communications partners if they don’t have challenges they can otherwise solve themselves. It might be revenue- or reputation-related or perhaps a little bit of both, possibly they lack expertise managing specific channels or what-have-you. I like to think that we are the prescription for what ails them (and sometimes we’re not).
Lonesome Loser: I think we founded this agency on the idea that marketing cannot exist in a vacuum and nearly any effort must be multi-channel and integrated. So when we sit down to focus on client work, we typically have a number of disciplines in the room — strategy, creative, media buying, social media community management, media relations, SEO, web, issue experts (finance, energy, etc). When we approach work as a team — we succeed. When we veer from the formula and go it alone — we fail.
Thin Skin: I think I have very thin skin. In fact, as a portly American it’s the only part of my body where I could stand to put on a few. And I really need to fix that as agency life is no place for thin skin. Calling all therapists!
Shared Vision: I think this year has had its ups and downs. If you look at the numbers alone, 2016 was our best year. But like any agency, we’ve parted ways with a few clients, and in each case those relationships began and ended without a shared vision that ultimately sunk the ship.
Partnerships – Episode I: I think we are not vendors, we are partners. And if you ever call us that — I will quickly tell you how I feel about it, probably in a pretty pissy manner.
Partnerships – Episode II: I think business partners are nearly identical to marriages, only you spend more time with your business partners. To make it work, it takes effort, trust, love (yes, love), hard work, forgiveness, understanding and a lot of liquor — all of which I have in my partnership and am thankful for.
Loyalty: I think to me, loyalty is the currency that goes beyond dollars and cents. I see it often from Elasticians like Denny and Zach and EK and Jamie, who — beyond doing great day-to-day work — do the little things like taking out the trash to cleaning poopy smells from Andy’s office to creating amazing holiday parties for everyone to putting together thankless lists and much, much more. We must love and cherish the people in our lives who continually demonstrate loyalty in so many ways and show that appreciation by giving them valuables like A-Team trading cards, Billy Dee Williams action figures, high quality winter scarves, 40-oz. bottles of Colt 45 and other delicacies.
Feeling Alright: I think while it’s a similar sentiment to #2, it’s worth repeating. It is a remarkable feeling when you have an enormous business opportunity and a team of people with diverse skills come together over a few rushed days to collaborate on a tremendous presentation. And once it’s all done said and done — you know you did your absolute best and feel really good about the deliverable, whether you ultimately win the piece of business or not.
It has been a Great 8 indeed, and I invite you to meet the people who each day shape my reality:
A former senior Omnicom (FleishmanHillard) counselor and communications executive for two of the nation’s largest energy companies, Aaron has spent more than 20 years in media and marketing helping a range of organizations — from Fortune 500s to professional sports franchises to economic development authorities to well-funded startups to non-profits — manage reputation and market brands in an evolving media environment.
An early adopter in the social media space, creating online communities and working closely with bloggers before they became accepted in mainstream media, Aaron develops unique marketing communications and reputation management strategies meant to break through the clutter of today’s crowded media environment that straddle both new and traditional media realms and has counseled organizations including H&R Block, Capital One, the St. Louis Regional Chamber, CafePress, the National Football League, aisle411, SunEdison, LockerDome, UPS, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Charter Communications, Papa John’s, and the Karate Kid Haircut Association.
He began his career as a television producer and continues to contribute to media including AdWeek, Forbes, SocialMediaToday, VentureBeat, HuffingtonPost, ESPN.com and other outlets.