I started Spin The Idea after I thought I was done with entrepreneurship. It’s true. Oh I had many years of alternately pushing and positioning my last ‘baby’ Sans Serif Media under my belt, but I secretly longed for the soft comfort of stability and was finally seduced by the prospect of a steady stream of numbers fattening up my bank account and providing that kind of silky pecuniary confidence so difficult to describe but so easy to recognize. Mission accomplished.
I never once regretted laying Sans Serif to rest, and absolutely loved working with Accilent Capital. I’m still on the roll as their Marketing Director or something. We haven’t found the right title yet (‘Branding and Communications Director’?) but that is neither here nor there and doesn’t stop the work from getting done. I joined the company in 2007 when it was already on the road to success, but like so many small businesses had neglected its client-facing aspects as a point of compromise. They were so ‘in it’ that they had no time to look at the whole. They had some stationery, a logo, and 2 support staff.. that’s about it. There was no brand. There were no campaigns beyond those led by handshakes, and there were no casual internal policies (beyond their exemplary securities-related compliance policies) that did not consist of loud expletives followed by comments like “Ok, next time we should do this differently” and perhaps a scrawled post-it with the words NO FOOD OR DRINK IN PRINT ROOM smacked up on the wall.
What I am describing is not terrible. In fact, there is no shame in running your business in the moment, and that is exactly what many businesses do in order to thrive, compete, or survive. If you don’t have that gumption, that Patton spurred initiative to ‘violently execute’, then precious little gets done. On the flip-side I have observed too many businesses do the back stroke through MBA rhetoric, swapping theories for profit, and lodged in the rut of their Best Practice manuals before they’ve even done anything.
Generally I get brought into things when people know they need some kind of help but they’re not sure what. Alternately, they think they only need someone to layout a brochure and then BAM! the next thing they know they are restructuring from the outside in. At any rate, I was brought in to Accilent at exactly the right time. Knowing that they needed some ‘polish’ at first, they tentatively brought me in to design all their client-facing administration forms, which then progressed to overhauling their web presence, which (BAM!) blossomed into actively managing 4 brands from the bottom up and top down. Accilent hired me as their Marketing and Operations Manager.
The rest of the story goes like this:
We started getting good feedback on our marketing, which led our business associates back to me. What followed was a stream of design jobs for various of my now clients that very much complemented the scope of work that I was already doing for Accilent. Finally Dan Pembleton, the president of Accilent, and our Senior Manager Paul Crath, sat down with me and asked me how I’d feel about starting up my own company. HA. I had just travelled in the most satisfying of circles.
Early this year, Spin The Idea was born.
What’s in a name
Anyone who has ever worked with me, or seen my work, knows that I like to infuse stories with different perspectives. I don’t believe in the conceptual synonymies of ‘boring’ and ‘conservative’; nor ‘reserved’ and ‘traditional’. The same stands for visual analogies: ‘finance’ does not have to mean ‘gold embossed logo’, or ‘navy blue’. And in the world of public relations, ‘quarterly loss’ does not have to mean ‘disaster’.
A few examples: I have used the colour pink in marketing a very successful real estate fund, have peppered my ‘boring’ and ‘conservative’ finance campaigns with dynamic videos and engaging digital media, and have turned what could have been a very difficult recession into an opportunity for client relationship building.
Not to say that I am motivated by the principle of ‘being contrary’. It just demonstrates that looking at things differently can produce amazing results if you are willing to broaden your perspective. It all depends on how you spin it.
Demystifying the ‘BAM!’: My methods, principles, and track record.