Q&A with Me, Myself & I(.d.e.a.)

Ryan Berman // May 30 // Culture

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So here we are.
15 months into a new company.

Are we where I thought we’d be?
What do those next 15 months look like?
What were our highlights and low lights?

Let’s face it.
These are tough questions to internalize and address.

So I figured I’d go right to the source for answers.
Me.

  1. Who knows me better than me?
  2. Who better to call me out when I try to ‘Houdini out’ of a tough question?
  3. Who is best equipped to unearth the most incorruptible of answers to the prickly questions but yours truly?

Exactly.
Precisely.
Indubitably.

So, here we go.

A sit down with me.
Interviewed by me.

ME: Thanks for sitting down with yourself today.
ME: No problem. Glad I could do this.

ME: So, tell me your deepest darkest secret.
ME: Really? Let’s stay on topic.

ME: Fine. Let’s get right to it. What was the highlight of the year?
ME: Two stand out. First, our holiday party. Creative Joe Nafziger wrote an NC17 interpretation of Snow White. The staff built a set, went to town (SFX and all) and nailed it on opening—and, well, I guess closing—night. What you don’t know is just how funny some people are until you get them out of their element. This was one of those nights.

ME: And the second?
ME: I’d be lying if I didn’t include winning Best in Show for ‘Human Motorcycles’ at the ADDYs for our International Motorcycle Shows client. The key there wasn’t that the work simply worked but the fact that we won for Best Integrated campaign. It validated, to me, the premise of our company.

ME: Is this where you spout off something like, ‘you’re a fuller full-service’?
ME: You know me so well, me.

ME: Okay, what about the low lights? I have to ask.
ME: No question, it has been our turnover. This is the second company I have started. The first company was from the ground up. This time we were bringing two established cultures together. The truth is what some people signed up for originally wasn’t what we were going to be when we grew up. It has taken us a full year to sprinkle in the right people here to help get our culture right. My sense is if you ask those who were here at the beginning to explain our transformation, they’d tell you we now have a more harmonious work place. The people that are here want to be here—which is the only way we thrive in the future. We finally have our core strong. Without a strong core, it’s hard to mentor, nurture and manage the next generation of superstars.

ME: I like how you spun your ‘low light’ into a positive.
ME: Well it’s still the truth.

ME: Talk to me a bit about how prospects and/or new clients have responded to the new company?
ME: Great question, me. We’ve had a very positive response to the way we have positioned ourselves. Many brands, though they have a hard time admitting it, are overwhelmed with resource issues. We’re set up to alleviate that. We adore the ability to create above-the-noise ideas but we also have the process and team to ‘right size’ our ideas for the appropriate mediums in traditional, social and digital channels. It’s a relief to our brand partners (which is what we call our clients).

ME: Any new business commentary you can share?
ME: Not really. Though I do find it fascinating that we have had more national success outside of our market than we have right here at home. What I’ve learned is that many of San Diego’s household brands have outsourced their marketing outside of San Diego. I don’t know if they’ve just had poor experiences here or deem the creativity to frankly not be suitable. Personally, it has become a focus of mine to ensure those brands that powerful, sales-moving ideas are coming out of their hometown. At one point in their infancy, those same household brands weren’t household brands. They knew they were capable of being (inter)national from San Diego and, not surprisingly, we believe the same of ourselves.

ME: Permission to name drop. Have you had any success in the local market with household brands?
ME: Yes. In the last 5 months we’ve started to make a name for ourselves here in the community. We’re currently working with Qualcomm on a number of initiatives—which is big as they continue to place themselves in the minds of the consumer conversation. We are also relishing the opportunity to help Harrah’s launch a new Vegas-style resort—without the Vegas drive. I believe there’s one more coming that I can’t ‘name drop’ at this time as well.

ME: Sounds exciting. What about the Petcos, San Diego Zoos and SONYs of the world?
ME: One day at a time, me. We’re working to let them know we’re here and we have high aspirations to help them move their people, products and culture forward. Go ahead and add in the entire global golf industry to that list while you’re at it.

ME: Okay, here’s a tough one—15 years you’ve been doing this. But not a single iota was spent in PR. Why was the PR and media relation verticals of your business interesting to you?
ME: Over the course of the last five years, I think it’s safe to say that the news game has rapidly changed. Perhaps it’s the reality of the internet invasion, app creation or even Twitter that truly altered the news game forever. One of the first things we analyzed after the merge was a true audit and study of the word ‘news’. What we learned was, whether we like it or not, consumers deemed TMZ news as much as they did CNN. Perhaps the credibility scores of the two sources weren’t equal but it was clear that a giant transformation had happened in the news space. That result forced us to rethink the way we approached ‘news creation’. I always say it’s in our name what we do best. Not only do we help clients come up with powerful, relevant ideas that make news in the PR/Reputation space but we could also utilize our media relations contacts to, hopefully, get the stories shared in the right outlets and publications.

ME: I know you probably have to get back to better things than talking to yourself, so let’s end with one more question. One year from now, when we do this again, what’s i.d.e.a.’s story?
ME: My partners and I believe its adding California household brands to our roster as well as the ambitious task of offices on both coasts.

ME: We can run this back in a year and see if that’s the case.
ME: And, before you ask, no, I love it here in San Diego and can’t imagine moving.

ME: Well, there you have it. Thanks for your time, me.
ME: You got it, me.

One final note:
If you made it this far, please don’t hesitate to ask a question if you have one. I’ll be happy to answer. Feel free to email me at RyanB@theideabrand.com.

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