WEIGHING OPTIONS: Take a Deep Breath and Grow (Part 1)

The sweetest melody ever recorded is Motown’s “Just My Imagination,” by the Temptations. Eddie Kendricks sings in a bittersweet tenor about a girl that he loves. “Each day through my widow, I watch her as she passes by. I say to myself, ‘you’re such a lucky guy.” Paul Williams belts out the bridge, speaking to prayer and desire. The song progresses to the relationship’s hoped for conclusion. The lovers will have “…a cozy little house in the country, with two children, maybe three.” Sadly, towards song’s end he admits that it’s all a fantasy, a product of his imagination.  He has never met the girl.

Still, what is wonderful about the song is that it addresses to a human need to grow – to increase who we are. Carson Dunn Media is at that juncture. It is time to grow.

Sometimes things crystalize slowly. Before Carson Dunn Media began tackling advertising and public relations full time, we performed media buying and wrote copy for small business clients of our consultant company, Carson Dunn Associates.  Both were challenging – absorbing. For some unknown reason I was reluctant to throw all of our business efforts toward advertising. It wasn’t because of Marty, my office manager at the time. Zealously, Marty implored me change our business model. The idea mortified me, so time dragged. She or Tara would lay ideas on me; I’d do a story-board, and then write copy. Alli or Caesar would negotiate media rates. My approach was detached. Eventually the idea of promoting other businesses hooked me.

Back then my staff was loyal, smart and inventive. They were young, hungry  – attrition took it tow. Years passed before I found people I trusted. In the process of searching the agency remained small. That was a mistake. Likewise, our client roster stayed small, and the challenge should have been greater.  Despite my nonchalance, we had spurts of growth.

It is time to grow again. It’s time to rally around the idea of being better than other agencies not just because of creativity, but because of embracing the needs of our clients. This is our new evangelical call.

Growth is a bit daunting. Growth is a strange stimulus that is catalytic and causes staff to become restive. So, like all agencies, our doors swing open and gifted people like Marty and crew leave at the door’s closing. The door opens again and the wonderful footsteps of Patrick, Aaron, Karla, Walter and the inestimable Kim are heard. Each staff incarnation improves on the previous one.

Seldom are talented people confident enough to know full measure of their impact. They are important, a lifeline but as I leader I must set the tone and lead by example.  They have to know their importance – the work only speaks only so much. This is all endemic to real growth.

That’s a good thing. It is not imagination, but need.


Bernard A. McNealy, President

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