Get to Know the SimpatiCrew – Steve (11/12)

Steve Whiskeyman,
Co-Founder and President

This is the 11th installment of interviews with the Crew members of Simpatico Studios. The interviews are conducted by Veronica Mattaboni, your kindly narrator and interviewer.

Steve sits at his comically large desk, trying intently to convince me that the U shaped desk he’s working on, which spans 2 walls and consumes 75% of the room, is “not that big of a desk.” He then explains that the space came pre-furnished. He sits behind a laptop, wearing his fabulous collared Simpatico shirt, doing important things, probably.

VM: How would you define the Steve Brand™?

SW: Jill stole my word. The answers I’m going to give are going to sound a lot like Jills. I am completely irreverent, as in I don’t revere by default what other people think should be revered. But I’m not cynical. Well… I’m sometimes cynical.

VM: What are some things that are characteristically you?

SW: I feel like that’s a question you should ask people around me. He turns to Jill Whiskeyman. What do you think?

JW: Sarcastic.

SW: …I didn’t ask you. I asked Ver.

JW: How about contemplative?

SW: I guess… In the world stage, there are writers and there are actors, and I’m a writer. I like to think about things. I don’t like to instantly react. I’m also compulsive minter. I love Icebreakers.

VM: What’s your favorite song right now?

SW: He chuckles. I’m really weird with music. It’s the score from Avengers: Infinity War; in particular, the part where Thor enters Wakanda. It still gives me goosebumps.

VM: Do you consider yourself a good gift giver and what was the last gift you got someone?

SW: My instant reaction isn’t yes and maybe that’s your answer. I’m too much of a perfectionist. One of our client’s partners is expecting their first child, and we got their baby girl a little welcome bag, with a onesie and newborn baby Uggs. I have fun shopping for that kind of stuff.

VM: If you could teach a class on literally anything, what would it be and why?

SW: Well as Jill said, we teach classes together. We do everything together. I just taught one last spring. Have I taught the class I’ve always wanted to teach? No, but the last one we did felt very close.

VM: What’s your all-time favorite tv show?

JW: She snickers from her seat at the table. I know.

SW: No you don’t.

JW: Yes I do. Quantum Leap, followed by the Simpsons.

SW: What can I say? I love sci-fi and satire.

JW: I forgot South Park.

SW: Yes, South Park is the height of satire.

VM: Describe one good thing that happened recently.

SW: Only one? But there’s so many good things that have happened recently. In the past week we’ve on-boarded 3 new clients, all of whom have promise.

VM: What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever made with your hands?

SW: Well, I’m gonna cheat a little bit. My favorite thing that I’ve ever written is my Master’s thesis, which I don’t consider a finished piece by any stretch, but it’s the first long form manuscript that I completed. I also wrote a feature length film script and I’ve dabbled in game coding.

VM: If you had to pick a new name for yourself what would it be?

SW: I don’t love Steve. I wouldn’t be Steve, if I could. When people come up with the guy who is the butt of the joke, they always pick Steve. I mean–why?

VM: Tell me something I don’t know!

SW: Suddenly forgets everything he’s ever known in his life. Um… our cat Oscar was named after a character in my thesis manuscript! And I survived cancer. You can put that.

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Get to Know the SimpatiCrew – Jill (10/12)

Jill Whiskeyman,
CEO and Co-founder

This is the tenth installment of interviews with the Crew members of Simpatico Studios. The interviews are conducted by Veronica Mattaboni, your kindly narrator and interviewer.

Jill sits at her table, which acts most of the time as her desk, that resides in her and Steve’s office, across from their little couch, which also frequently acts as her desk. At her side is her trusty Dunkin’ Iced Tea. She asks me if it is all right for her to multitask during this interview.

VM: How would you define the Jill Brand™?

JW: I would probably describe it as “A Tale of Two Redheads.”

Steve Whiskeyman, from his desk three feet away, joins the conversation.

SW: Who’s the second redhead?

JW: It’s me.

VM: Who’s the first redhead?

JW: Still me. She laughs. I guess what I mean is I am equal parts introvert and extrovert. People energize me, but I am fiercely independent. I think there’s a bit of dichotomy there that you don’t often find in one person, which I chose to define by my most outwardly given feature: my hair color.

VM: What are some things that are characteristically you?

JW: Perfectionism, but also an easygoingness. My general disposition is to be happy and positive, but I’m also extremely irreverent, which definitely catches people off guard at times.

SW: …That was my word…

VM: What’s your favorite song right now?

JW: My favorite song at the moment is City Lights by Sara Bareilles. I’m generally obsessed with that album; it’s an oldie but a goody. And Gorgeous by Taylor Swift. Can’t get it out of my head.

Can’t Get You Out Of My Head by Kylie Minogue starts playing in my head.

VM: Do you consider yourself a good gift giver and what was the last gift you got someone?

JW: She takes a long pause. Ok. So I’m not sure if I actually live up to being a good gift giver (that’s up to the receiver), but I love to give gifts. I gave wanderer bracelets to my sister and our best friend Chelsea. They’re the coordinates of the childhood street we grew up on, so we never forget where we came from.

VM: If you could teach a class on literally anything, what would it be and why?

JW: Well I taught a class at Lebanon Valley College on entrepreneurship and advertising. If I had my say, it would’ve been specifically for women. Women in advertising has, unfortunately and fortunately, been given a spotlight since the advent of Madmen. We’re carving spots in a male dominated industry but we are not yet keeping pace with women executives.

VM: What’s your all-time favorite tv show?

JW: My all time favorite is Dawson’s Creek. If I had to do a hands down, that’s my hands down.

She then went on to list Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, and The Affair on Showtime as some other notable guilty pleasures.

VM: Describe one good thing that happened recently.

JW: There’s been lots of good lately. I think something that stands out for me is getting to go away for a long weekend with friends. I was reminded that we have such wonderful people in our lives.

VM: What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever made with your hands?

JW: My mind initially went to arts and crafts, but I actually think it’s the Christmas after my mom passed away. It was a tough one for our family. I digitized her thumb print and name from my wedding guest book, and my dads, over a picture of them on their wedding day. I didn’t realize how much of an impact it would have on everyone, but it was wonderful.

VM: If you had to pick a new name for yourself what would it be?

JW: Whats a good sailor name? ‘Cause I curse like a sailor. I’m gonna look it up.

SW: Captain Jill Sparrow

JW: We could go with Cordelia… or Catalina… I can’t pick!

VM: Tell me something I don’t know!

JW: I broke my own finger in the fourth grade by—shockingly—talking to someone down the hall in school. I closed the classroom door on my pinky finger and broke the growth plate.

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We’re Your SharpSpring Gold Certified Partner

If you’ll allow us a humble self-pat-on-the-back, we’d like to announce that Simpatico Studios is now a SharpSpring Gold Level Certified Partner.

Now that we’ve completed SharpSpring’s rigorous training and exam process, we’ve been awarded the Gold Level Certified Partner for our marketing automation prowess. After years of using SharpSpring’s full-featured marketing automation capabilities to help clients drive more leads and convert more sales, track campaigns, run social media and digest analytics, it feels good to know our expertise is finally official.

Marketing automation is an amazing tool to nurture leads with personalized content that’s easy to manage. Using automation to make repetitive marketing tasks, like sending out eblasts to a list that’s 700 names long or publishing blog posts at specific times chosen for best organic reach, is an integral part of the future of marketing—and Simpatico will be at the forefront of that future.

Thanks for taking this journey with us. It’s only up from here!

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It’s Here: Watch the Trailer for Simpatico’s 2019 Summit Destination

Tourism video, or trailer for #SimSummit19—Simpatico Studios’ 4th Annual Executive Meeting & Top Producers’ Trip? Well, what kind of agency would we be if it wasn’t both?

(WATCH NOW: ▶️ https://youtu.be/fsRKopkR5JE)

Now if you’re unacquainted with Simpatico, I know what you must be thinking: “World Travel? Is this really what I’m paying you to do?”

We’re glad you asked.

To understand what you ARE paying for when you hire Simpatico, you ought to first understand what you’re NOT paying for.

Simpatico Studios is not:

  • Another pair of greedy agency owners or consultants looking to siphon every last dime out of our business.
  • Down with treating our clients like ATMs.
  • Cool with using slight-of-hand to trap businesses into outrageous, unfair agreements.
  • Weighed down by do-nothing Executive Leadership.
  • Satisfied that work goals and life goals are necessarily exclusive to one another.
  • Sold that creative talent does their best work when they’re told to just be grateful for their paycheck.

We structured Simpatico around the bold notion that a tight-knit team of well-vetted, properly incentivized creative people can do circles around bloated, ultra-expensive ad conglomerates and consultants.

Key phrase there is “properly incentivized.” How does an ad agency properly incentivize its people, exactly?

Simple: By asking them what they want.

At on-boarding, that’s what we do. Some want more creative freedom. Some want more flex time. But a resounding commonality with each batch of hires has been wanderlust—a profound longing to get out there and see the world.

So we decided to give them an opportunity to do just that.

You can argue with the premise, but one thing’s indisputable: what an agency puts back into its people can tell you a lot about the level of service and quality of workmanship you can expect.

Because, at the end of the day, our people are also your people. And the best way to keep people’s attention where it belongs—on YOU—is, we think, to ensure they don’t have to worry about their health, or feeling stuck in a dead-end job, or when their next great vacation will be—or a single thing besides your needs, really.

Your business needs sterling workmanship and concierge-caliber service from its marketing partner—and so, in kind, Simpatico, your marketing partner, reinvests your budget into its people.

Will our method bear out in the long haul? Jury’s out.

But what I can share already is this: By the close of 2018, we’ll have realized double-digit-or-greater growth for the third consecutive year—not thanks to raiding entire budgets, obligating companies to absurd contract terms, or being anywhere near the most expensive agency our size, but thanks to our people.

So, yeah, we think we’re on to something. And yeah, your investment contributes to the annual Summit trip—the ultimate incentive our people can earn—as well as the rest of our awesome team’s awesome benefits.

All of which is why we can do more to grow your business or brand than any other shop our size, why we expect to shatter records again in 2019, and why, ultimately, we’ll come out on top.

See you at the Summit.

———————————————

Marketing Executive? Book your free 30-minute phone consult here: https://Calendly.com/Simpatico/Start

Small Business Owner? Schedule your 2019 Marketing Strategy Session here (rates reduced through 12/15): https://Calendly.com/Simpatico/SmallBizStrategy

[Music Credit: Discovery Channel — Theme of “Life” (2010)]

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From Brand Intention to Brand Identity: Bridging the Gap

We’ve been hard at work on a B2B rebrand and a few weeks ago, we presented the initial round of logo concepts to the client. Our principal contact was elated, and so were we. Sound logo design takes more than Photoshop skills. We arrive at logos after a collaborative and deliberate process. Our account principal appreciated that, and showed great respect for every step of our work. After a few tweaks, we delivered a creative, modern, more precise brand image, and put a ribbon on the project.

However, when we met last week to present website concepts—the next phase of the engagement—the client wanted to share new feedback from his team. We were anxious to hear it. As B2B brand consultants, if we’re doing our jobs right, logo designs are the first aesthetic representation of a company’s core attributes—its values, its capabilities, its position in the market. Proper logos aren’t just the visual crown of the company: they reveal the soul of the business. At least, that’s the intention.

I’m paraphrasing, but our client distilled his team’s commentary essentially to this: Although they responded well to the concepts, unless pointed out or explained, no one on the team discerned the core attributes of the business in any of the logo designs. Hmm.

My gut reaction was to take stock of our branding process. So I wrote up a rough sketch of our approach. It took the visualization for me to realize our methodology, actually, is pretty intensive. Our workflow involves extensive dialogues with all available stakeholders, competitive research and reconnaissance, evidence-based design and writing, presentations and defenses, and, where necessary, rounds of revisions. With this client in particular, we made no exceptions to process. Matter of fact, we followed it to the tee. These logo sets weren’t shots in the dark. They were educated, and they were damn good.


Changed perceptions—people seeing your company the way you want them to—are not the automatic result of a brand design. Changed perceptions are achieved over time. They are the result of a well-researched, concerted, integrated, cross-channel communications campaign, the word for which is marketing.

Yet for all our diligence, hard work, and steadfast, to-the-letter adherence to the rebrand process, the client’s team failed to see the very brand attributes from which the logos were born. They loved the designs, so said the principal. It’s just that no one looked at them and immediately said, ‘Wow, the first thing I see is a hands-on B2B consulting firm of the utmost integrity and experience.’ Why?

The answer, it turns out, is pretty simple. A logo is not a brand. A brand is an abstraction. A brand lives in the ether of the market, in the collective mind of an audience. And those minds must be influenced. Changed perceptions—people seeing your company the way you want them to—are not the automatic result of a brand design. Changed perceptions are achieved over time. They are the result of a well-researched, concerted, integrated, cross-channel communications campaign, the word for which is marketing. A solid brand strategy, while imperative and always the first step, only sets the stage for brand recognition—for capturing shares of markets and minds.

So the conclusion of a brand design really represents a beginning. Or it should, if the brand’s owner is executing responsibly. As long as a brand is not well-marketed, there will exist a natural chasm between the intention of a brand and its identity among the target market. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling to eight-year-olds or corporate executives: If you’re playing with an unmarketed brand, you are playing with a brand handicap.

Which is to say: If you’re going to go to the trouble of the rebrand, you must next do the work of marketing. So, build that sales program. Advertise. Network. Exhibit at tradeshows. If you’re at a loss for ideas, or need an extra set of eyes or hands, good news. We have all of those to spare. Contact us, or, book a consult, and we’ll get started.

We’re ready when you are.

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