Brand Strategy Consultant or Bullfighter?
Matthew Choate – Lead Digital Strategist
I was three weeks into my role at the business marketing firm Rock Candy Media, and my impressions were still being properly formed by the time my first kickoff meeting rolled around. As I had come to understand kickoff meetings, it was an affair for the bigwigs, who would update us minions on what they deemed to be useful information after the affair had taken place.
So when the meeting invite arrived in my inbox I figured it was a way of letting all of us know that clients were coming by, a ‘be on your best behavior’ reminder. Then on the day of the meeting, Annie requested questions from all of us, and I thought that was a really smart move as a brand strategy consultant. Getting all our input would give Annie a larger base to work her own questions from. Then the meeting time rolled around and I was beckoned into the boardroom.
Somewhat surprised I took a place across from Kelsie, our managing partner, and technically on the client’s side of the room. We were all there, every Rock Candy Media employee, even those who couldn’t be there in person were on the phone. By the time the clients came in, and lovely they all were, I was ready to see some action.=
I felt like Picasso at a bullfight. However, this analogy soon proved false. It wasn’t too deep into the meeting that Annie took over. Her firecracker excitement sent us all to the fringes of our imagination as she weaved together the strategy we would finalize as she listened to the client and her team.
As excited as we all were, the client was the most responsive to Annie’s infectious energy. Here was someone genuinely interested in getting to know them, and doing so in a no-nonsense manner, cutting through the bullsh**t.
Here was Picasso, post many bullfights, painting the fight. The only deceleration in the whole 3-hour meeting was Kelsie trying to bring Annie back to the questions and images that were prepared, however, even here there was finesse. Kelsie letting Annie run, allowing her to be explosive and exciting and then bringing the meeting back to the essentials. I think my first kickoff meeting solidified the things I’ve grown to love about Rock Candy Media and their existence as a brand strategy consultant.
Most importantly: no ego ever served a client, and everything is about teamwork. Take ones creative fire and adapt it to your client’s needs, this is far more challenging than the alternative… and I like a challenge.