The word that immediately pops into my head when someone asks me to describe my boss, the founder and CEO of one of the top performance marketing agencies, is “cluster[…].” And I say that lovingly.
I believe this to be one of Annie’s favorite words. It gets across the chaos of what it’s like to LIVE as a brand strategist – always thinking from macro to micro and back again. Always having passing thoughts about 8 different clients at once. Always seeing the world through an immovable lens of advertising strategy, growth hacking, and business plans. And that’s across all industries– growing, entrenched, or otherwise.
So having been with Rock Candy Media in Austin for nearly a year, I’ve gotten used to the cluster[…]. Because apparently, my coworkers, my boss, and I absolutely THRIVE in storms. We work fast and creatively, and we always get results.
And this is for one main reason: the #NoButthurtRule. Clients can never be afraid to give harsh feedback, fearing we’ll be hurt. And we don’t sugarcoat anything either. Beating around the bush is a waste of both of our time, and you’re paying us to next-level your business. We won’t waste a second making that happen just because culture has driven professional relationships into a tiny pigeonhole.
Exactly As Unexpected
What this looks like with Annie is informal and straightforward communication. That took some getting used to. When I started this job, I expected it to mean “be honest,” “be yourself,” or even “it’s ok to be blunt.” But that’s not even close to what she meant. Here’s more how that played out…
If I answer my phone around friends during off-hours and they hear me cussing, laughing, and speaking casually, it’s definitely a conversation with Annie about work. Of course this threw them off. I would answer my phone, they’d overhear me saying “What the […]?” “Are you serious?” “Facebook is […].” and the like… I’d hang up and they’d ask who that was, and their faces were SHOCKED when I said “our CEO.”
To some, this might seem unprofessional. Too casual. An odd dynamic. But you know what’s actually unprofessional? Putting one mask on with your friends, another on with your employees, and another with your clients.
And our clients love the way we obliterated their expectations in this way. Everyone expects a perfectly polished, dry, traditionally professional relationship. But that’s not how humans work.
No Masks Allowed
Annie is what I would call a master of unmasking people. And she loves doing it; because for her, it’s just being herself.
You can see it in action anytime – just set up a sit-down with Annie herself. We promise it’ll go… exactly as unexpected. As cluster[…] tend to be.