From Katherine Juergens, President
Let me just get this out of the way right now: I am irreverent. I was sitting in a meeting and a senior executive stated flatly, "You know I love you, but you can just be so irreverent." True. In corporate America, if the goal is to kiss ass and do what you can do suck up and get ahead, being irreverent is not an advantage. But to get real results, it IS an advantage. We believe in being real, honest, and human. (Read: we're not jerks about it.) It gets results much faster - particularly when it's combined with an unrelenting candor, to point out that there's an elephant in the room or the emperor is naked.
Yes, seriously. Far too many meetings happen where something isn't working or won't work - and people nod and smile afraid to speak up. Yes, it sucks telling your boss / client his idea is crap. But you know what sucks worse? Living with that crap idea and trying to make it work. This is a space where we put that aside. It doesn't matter if you're a billionaire or a start-up. If you operate under the guise of pleasing others vs. making something work, you'll never get far.
Every year, there are books and seminars promising some new way of looking at marketing and promises of leapfrogging your competition. And many times, there are great ideas presented. But let's be clear: if you're looking for an equation, you're doing it wrong. Success is not a A + B = C. It's different for everyone. And while it's fun to look at Apple for the amazing leadership they have in the space, you are not Apple. If you're wanting the latest trend in digital or are suffering from shiny object syndrome, suck it. If you're looking for the magic answer in cracking the code for marketing to millennials, go away. This is not what we do.
I know. Big data is a big deal. It's not going away. But data only gets you so far. The other component is the human element. You need to be curious enough to ask the questions, smart enough to get the information, and intuitive enough to listen to your gut. And you need balls. Lady balls.
Consider this: In a recent survey, doctors indicated they rely on data 40% of the time in making health decisions for their patients. The remaining 60%? Gut. Intuition. And those are DOCTORS. The bottom line: humans like the info - but that only starts as a guiding point. The rest is up to you.
Before the internet, it was easy for companies to say they were one thing and do another. Then Amazon ruined everything and added product reviews which let everyone see real people's comments on real products. It was the first time people were seeing products from the lens of another user. Behind every company are people - and those people (should) stand for something. Companies like REI and Trader Joe's are unapologetic for who they are - and people reward them with their loyalty as a result.
There are many more truths. But the best work comes from being honest, real and - sometimes - annoying.