Ten years ago, three of us took a calculated gamble and founded Elasticity. It was terrifying and exciting at the same time, but we had a vision comprised of three very specific pillars that remain foundational to the agency today:
Adapt or Fail: There are two kinds of people in this world — those who adapt and those who fail. That’s why our agency’s name is more than just a brand. It symbolizes our belief in being flexible, channel agnostic and doing what’s necessary rather than what’s comfortable. In 2007, when we first started talking about what Elasticity could be, technology was tearing our industry apart at the seams and many of the large companies and agencies were not adapting well. We had a vision for a digitally-integrated future and were committed to overturning the conventional apple cart.
Viva la Idea: There was a reason this phrase was in our first logo. Technology continues to fragment the media landscape and we are inundated with messaging at every turn, trying to gain our attention. Hence, creative ideas must be BIG and must disrupt if your brand is to gain attention in today’s world. As a result, block and tackle tactics are an abject a waste of time and energy while ideas — great, big ideas — they are paramount. Most important, we believed then (and do today) that a damn good idea can come from anywhere. It does not matter if you are an intern, fresh out of college or collecting social security, have one year or 30 years under your belt, whether you are black or white, like boys or girls, if you’re into breakdancing or the waltz, enjoy eating meat or only veggies. None of these factor into the power of an idea and who can have one. Bring it.
Culture: Culture matters and it’s vital to business success. Good, bad or somewhere in between — every workplace and organization has some semblance of a culture whether purposeful or not. Culture is the foundation upon which Elasticity was built, and continues to thrive, more than a decade after its founding. It’s a complex blend of diverse people, thinking, hairstyles, personalities and insights and it is the fabric of who we are as an agency.
Looking back ten years later, I find it remarkable how far we have come. I never thought we would fail — it really didn’t enter my mind — but in looking across the agency landscape, it’s certainly not uncommon. I’m proud. We’re still a boutique agency but have been honored to work for some amazing brands like GoDaddy, CapitalOne, Mastercard, the Federal Reserve Bank, Best Buy, the Scottish Government, H&R Block, Fireball Whisky, Stoli, Spectrum Communications, USA Today, Rawlings, Bud Light, the State of Missouri and more.
The word that keeps popping into my head as I reminisce is that I am “grateful.” Thus, in no particular order here are ten things for which I am grateful as I look back at a decade of Elasticity.
I’m grateful to my wife for allowing me to leave a good paying job at one of the most respected global public relations firms to chase a belief.
I’m grateful to Brian Cross, Dan Callahan and Andrew Barnett — my partners past and present — for going into business with me. Like a marriage, there have been bumps along the way — some larger than others. But it’s been worth it and a lot of fun.
I’m grateful to Steve Barr and the late Joe Osborn who believed in our vision and funded our knucklehead startup idea.
I’m grateful to Michael Turley for his spite.
I’m grateful to every, single person who has ever worked at Elasticity as we have only been as good as the human beings sitting next to us, side-by-side, giving their all.
I’m grateful to our clients present and past — even the ones that treated us like dogshit (and there’s been several) — as they entrusted their valuable marketing dollars to our team and it’s not something I take lightly.
I’m grateful to all the wonderful friends and trusted colleagues who have taken it upon themselves to refer business to us.
I’m grateful to those who have ever had reservations about me in particular yet chose to partner with us. I’m a unique bird to say the least and have a tendency to spout some off-color commentary from time-to-time. Yet instead passing judgment, they looked beyond the cover of the book and made a decision based on our track record of success.
I’m grateful for those who’ve forgiven me as we all make mistakes, myself more than most.
I’m grateful to those who ever doubted us because it drove us to work harder and succeed.
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.