Why an Agency? Why Now.
Why’d I start an agency amidst the first global pandemic of my lifetime? The answer is complex but can be summarized pretty briefly.
When I was 22 years old, I said I wanted to start a marketing agency. I told myself I would take on side hustles on top of full-time roles until I had enough experience and know-how to be an excellent marketing resource.
Throughout my career, I’ve worked in a variety of industries, segments, and environments. including production studios, agencies, major retail brands, startups, and education systems. I’ve held titles ranging from Chief Marketing Officer to Sandwich Artist. And it’s that diversity of experience that felt like the precursor to becoming a reliable and strategic partner for brands of all types.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, I received emails from friends and colleagues about their businesses. The pandemic caused a lot of disruption in nearly every industry, and the reality is that many brands are going to look and feel very different coming out of it. With that, I anticipated downsizing, restructuring, and even complete 180-turns for brands that relied on physical or brick and mortar models. With that comes massive gaps and top-talent fleeing to other opportunities because their work environment may look drastically different than it did just a few months before. Enter the alleged opportunity.
The original concept for this business was called “Pivot CMO”, and was meant to offer up part-time strategic leadership services for brands that were making a significant move or dealing with a transition in leadership. It would encourage short-term contracts specific to a new project, a launch plan, or a seasonal focus. As an Enneagram Type 3, this model would keep me entertained and energized by new challenges while utilizing the massive range of experiences I’ve had. After an entire evening of copywriting and ideating, a quick Google search told me that a few guys in Silicon Valley seemed to already have this idea (and more importantly, the brand name) under lock and key. Well played, sirs. I wish you well.
But this idea brought me back to a notebook I had started in 2010. It was written during my first twentysomething life crisis where I thought the biggest challenge I’d face in my life was how to tell my mom that I started drinking beer and actually kind of liked it. I had written a list of entrepreneurial ideas, startups, and concepts that I felt had the potential of making it. But one of them stuck out amongst the crowd.
Start and lead a marketing agency.
I had no business starting an agency at that point of my life, making the goal more of a pipedream. I had read a dozen books about advertising agencies like Ogilvy and visited a few of them with admiration, but had never had that experience myself. Working in an agency just felt like the quintessential marketing experience. As I entered the agency world, I started trading in my ideals of beer fridges and ping pong tables for a reliable network of the most creative, talented, and inspiring people in marketing. It felt like the most engaging people in the industry were working their way through clients that were willing to take a risk, explore a big idea, or dive into the unknown for the sake of growth and success. I knew this was what I wanted to do, but felt like I needed to experience every aspect of these businesses to truly be successful. Enter the big-brand experience, team management, partnership management, and emerging media strategy. Then add direct P&L experience with massive business implications. In just over ten years, I said yes to nearly every opportunity that brought a new channel or segment to me.
So here we are amidst an extremely challenging time in our nation and in our world. Is it the most ideal time to launch a business? I suppose you could argue that it’s never the perfect time. But definitely not.
I wanted to start a marketing agency once I had enough experience and know-how to be an excellent marketing resource. It took me 10 years to get here and I humbly know there is no true point of arrival, as the needle continues to move and these platforms change daily. But I’m more excited than ever to introduce Angry Bison to the world and to brands that truly give a shit about their customers and their teams. There’s a long-term growth strategy, but right now I’m focused on personalized marketing strategies for brands that are looking for a marketing partner that is a bit different than what they’re used to. I’m inviting people into the mind of a Strategic/Activator hybrid marketer that battles itself on whether to sprint towards an idea or step back and evaluate the big picture. I promise the result is beautiful chaos and measurable results.