We recently connected with Aaron Henry and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Aaron, thanks for joining us today. Let’s start with education – we’d love to hear your thoughts about how we can better prepare students for a more fulfilling life and career
It constantly fails ANY individual that seeks true knowledge in their field, passion, or pursuit of happiness. It fails to reach the marginalized, disadvantaged, and economically sidelined communities that have developed and raised genius in all forms and instead celebrates current concepts of mediocrity.
There are many in the education system that are fighting against this and doing a damn good job. And while both of my parents were teachers and gave of themselves their time, energy, and own money, the educational system has seemingly become nothing more than a pipeline. A pipeline to serving instead of creating. At the core of the American economy and system is the ability to create. To create a new way of doing things, a better way, a scalable society where all people are created equal.
Our education system has gone away with its own basic principles in lieu of political ideology, cronyism, and a sense of growing human intellect. Once we get back to the core principles of Academia we will see a dramatic improvement in the society in which we all participate.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
I am the Founder and Agency Director of a small, full-service advertising agency that believes brands only grow when they depend on and strengthen the relationships they have with people. When we work with a brand we believe in it’s goal, core concept, and purpose intently, innately, and with deep personal conviction. We do not accept any client, only those that seek to improve their market share by improving the current status quo.
I was always creative in nature, originally tinkering with music. sports, and technology as a child. I continued this pursuit through high school and into college. In my previous life, I actually left college and spent a few years as a professional symphony musician, eventually translating that into several different entrepreneurial ventures. Fortuitously, I was given the opportunity to complete my degree. During that time I worked at a small web design firm, applying the lessons I learned in musical performance to business performance. Ultimately, I was able to connect the business and creative fields together through music. Several of our spots that got us national attention were so because of the soundtrack involved.
I take great pride in watching how far each of our team members has grown. In the truest American spirit, we have taken individuals who were passed over or never given a chance by other agencies and turned them into pioneering creatives. Some have gone into different industries, some have grown into larger agencies, and some have started their own shops. At the end day, all of them have grown into new people, both professionally and creatively. That’s because, unlike most agencies, we actively invest real money into the talent that we cultivate. By that I literally mean we become business, creative, and execution partners of not just our clients, but our team members as well. We are an ecosystem unto ourselves.
By creating this very capable and talented ecosystem I was able to leverage the creative capabilities of an entire network to solve brand problems. At the end of the day, by offsetting the creative to a network that I trained, promoted, and grew, I was able to deliver national and global agency solutions to brands that saw beyond a quarter at a time and instead focused on the lifelong relationship they had. Over the last 14 years we have created deep relationships that span personal, professional, and multigenerational networks to grow our brands in every industry we’ve touched.
That is because our agency believes in a new sustainable economic model that allows ANY individual complete control of their pursuit of creative and financial happiness according to their talent and execution level. Our clients get the pick of our best team and our team members only work on projects that fit their life goals. We do this across the full agency services spectrum, digital, traditional, experiential, and frontier technology. For brands and our clients, they get a diverse, creative, senior team at a fraction of the cost of a large traditional agency. We’ve been so successful at this that every team is led by senior talent from the same behemoth agencies. We’re not out to be the biggest on the block, we’re just out to do the best.
Has your business ever had a near-death moment? Would you mind sharing the story?
When you’re in business there are so many times this happens, that you’re embarrassed to admit it. When you’re starting out, the truth is you’re really living from client payment to client payment. Unlike the traditional world of a steady paycheck, you then deal with the possibility that a business will not pay you on time or at all.
One time in particular we had to front a tremendous amount of costs for a client to deliver a high-end application. Due to a number of different and exponentially compounding issues, payment became a secondary concern (rookie mistake). This left us holding the bag of paying for enormous hosting costs and streaming costs of a large VR solution. These costs required payment DURING the live event.
I jumped into my car, at the speed of light, to pick up another client’s payment (2 hours away) to physically deposit the check into our bank account. The point of this was to have a balance in our account to run the payment for the streaming service for the client who had yet to still pay the end vendor. We were banking with a smaller, credit union that I had personally banked with since my freshman year of college. Despite having the funds in our account to clear it, the bank manager refused to clear the funds immediately, per their own written policy. To this day I don’t understand why, but I’m sure they had their reasons.
In a very fortunate turn of events, I was able to read between the fine lines of the deposit standards to overrule the bank manager’s denial of our deposit and get the funds into our account. With minutes to spare into the streaming services cancellation window, I was able to make payment and keep the entire experience live. I then made a late, casual appearance, to play off the entire episode. Had an extra cocktail that night.
What’s worked well for you in terms of a source for new clients?
Current clients. We try to work with brands and organizations that really understand how to leverage technology, marketing, and storytelling to engage their audiences. When we knock a project out of the park, win some awards, and generate substantial revenue in the form of lift and growth, then those clients sing our praises. True to how we build relationships for our clients, we use our success to deepen and strengthen the relationship we have with our own clients. They sing our praises and spread our message across their personal and professional networks. The exponential reach across those networks has led to some special brand partnerships.