What goes into an idea?

February 23, 2010

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @ NYCA

Every idea has its creator in it. The uninspired idea has nothing more.

A good idea has its own self in it as well; its voice, mission.

A great idea has other voices in it. The client’s, the consumer’s, the brand’s, the product’s. They all have to be attached to it, to hear themselves in it, and deeply want to, since it is a great idea.

The grow! idea has all these voices in it plus it has the power to make people act.

It guides, changes, improves, breeds.

If you have one of those, know two things: it’s not yours alone and you should celebrate all for having it come to life.


‘Round here stop signs are suggestions.

February 11, 2010

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @NYCA

Seth Godin said it better than I could. We try to live it here every day.

“One way to think about running a successful business is to figure out what the least you can do is, and do that. That’s actually what they spent most of my time at business school teaching me.

No sense putting more on that pizza, sending more staff to that event, answering the phone in fewer rings… what’s the point? No sense being kind, looking people in the eye, being open or welcoming or grateful. Doing the least acceptable amount is the way to maximize short term profit.

Of course, there’s a different strategy, a crazy alternative that seems to work: do the most you can do instead of the least.

Radically overdeliver.

Turns out that this is a cheap and effective marketing technique.”

You got that right, Seth. We decided at NYCA for us success isn’t only found on the bottom line. NYCAers do whatever it takes to grow clients businesses – and we know how hard that is. No neutral gear. The halls vibrate with this hunger to pass ‘get it done’ on the way to sweet excellence. It shows in the huddles over the details, and the raised-hand honesty when we miss and the prideful but never cocky rhythm in our team’s strides.


Asking for compassion on Super Bowl Sunday

February 8, 2010

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @NYCA

It wasn’t on the field but during and after the Bowl that we got a sense of what’s on people’s minds. I see the commercials and programming around this event as a mass emotional snapshot. There are the key economic indicators – this is the culture version. And I’m seeing the big companies asking for some love. With the bailouts and the great lack of trust for corporations these days, I can see the reasoning.

We saw a sweet and tender Google commercial – reminiscent of Hallmark without the puppies and freckles; in fact, without anything living at all. Now, the world knows Google as the largest — perhaps most innovative — search company but this was not about what they do. This told a love story – we saw Google’s heart in a series of search boxes. Why? So we’ll feel better about them as their product weakens to competition or they start charging us per search. It’s easy to feel for the underdog but these guys got in a soft spot for the behemoth.

After the Saints won the big game, we were presented with “Undercover Boss.” A new reality show where the heads of large corporations take on the jobs of their personnel. In this episode, the president of Waste Management, a company with 45,000 employees, tried and often failed at tasks he had caused to be unreasonable through his own policy making.

Tears were shed around garbage trucks and porta-potties as he got a fresh look at his company and, so, himself. He made corporate changes for the common guy. Good TV. Good PR. Good business.

At the same time, I found out a stat that is the real reality show: Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest domestic violence day of the year.

Compassion needs to happen on both sides of the screen.