"Does DENT specialize in anything?"
DENT specializes in making it easy to find, like and fall in love with brands. (And while we're at it, we make it easy for our clients, too.) We have a bias towards creating engaging experiences, especially in today's consumer-in-control world.
DENT has practical experience in many categories. Check the dents page for the breadth and depth of category and brand experience. It runs from tech to toys, start-ups to multi-billion dollar global brands, and impulse purchases to month's long decision-making processes. Yep, been there and done that.
Perhaps our most important specialty is second-guessing everything we've ever done because it's never good enough. It can always be better. Heck, we've probably edited this paragraph 50-plus times. It's all about kaizen, baby!
"Why name it DENT?"
If the name made an impression, then there's your answer. Also, we are inspired by Steve Jobs' message, "We're here to put a dent in the universe." That's what we aim to do for clients and ourselves. We don't need to rule the universe. Just make our mark. (And no, you don't have to worry about parking your car next to one of our motorcycles.)
faq - atypical answers to typical questions.
"What is your process?"
Seriously, each brand, client, and situation is unique, so we don't believe in applying a single, cookie-cutter, production line process in an ever-changing world of unique challenges and opportunities.
Without a cookie-cutter, production line process clients get fresh thinking that leads to fresh insights, strategies and creative ideas. We believe in individuals and interactions over processes and tools. Production lines reproduce efficiently, but we don't believe in reproducing ideas, efficiently or otherwise. We believe each brand deserves its own thinking and solutions.
Clayton Christensen examined and researched processes in his groundbreaking and revered book, The Innovator's Dilemma. While he attributes much success to processes for established (aka, older) organizations, they are the enemy of newer, more disruptive organizations. As he says, "Processes are meant not to change." We think the willingness to change is critical, so it's built into our DNA.
Ayn Rand did a pretty good job of summing up our philosophy on process, too: "All work is creative work if done by a thinking mind, and no work is creative if done by a blank who repeats in uncritical stupor a routine he has learned from others." Yep, that's what we meant to say. ;)
Anyhooo...what we're trying to say here is, our process depends on your brand and situation, rather than the other way around.
"I read the 'what' page. Really, what is DENT?"
Geez, some people never give up. The hell if we know! Ask our clients. We hope they'll say...
DENT provides integrated advertising* solutions that help people find, like and fall in love with brands. And we do it by making it all easy - for both target audiences and our clients.
DENT helps target audiences find brands, because it's not always easy in this media-saturated world, and competitors are wooing the same people. So whether prospects are actively searching or going about their daily lives, we make brands easy to find.
We help people like brands. It's fundamental, intuitive and the research proves it: people do business with those they like. From design to copy, audio to visual, look to feel, and personality to behavior, some degree of liking a brand is a prerequisite to taking action, from trial to the checkout stand or making a multi-year commitment. When they like, they are much more likely to try and then buy. Like precedes love, and love is the hallmark of the most profitable brands on earth.
Love is the ultimate goal, right? It starts with the first kiss and culminates with a tee-shirt. (Huh? Tee-shirt?) Getting the kiss is fairly easy, but getting someone to wear your tee-shirt? THAT is a challenge. So that's DENT's goal: tee-shirts. Tee-shirts people wear out of the house, in public, with pride. Tee-shirts that say, "This is me. I identify with this brand. Its values are my values. I love that you see me as a fan of this brand. I know I look fat in this tee-shirt. I don't care. I love this brand."
So, ask yourself now, who will wear my brand's tee-shirt? If the answer is, "Only the sales team," you should talk with DENT.
OK, what is DENT? It's the agency that gets people to wear your brand's tee-shirt. Proudly.
By the way, if you would like a DENT tee-shirt, just ask here. They're pretty cool.
"OK, what's that asterisk about?"
Everything a brand does is advertising. Lee Clow said it. So did Steve Jobs. They're pretty smart guys. We're not going to argue.
"Did I hear you say you don't pitch?"
Now, who told you that? Well, it's true. Sort of.
We don't have a new business team, person, department or function. We don't do work on spec. We don't engage in competitive creative or planning pitches. We're not arrogant, just practical.
We believe that our current clients pay us to work on their businesses, and not others'. Not diverting our attention toward giving free advice and information to potential new clients - information and experience that was likely gained from existing clients. And that is what is expected in the typical new business pitch.
If you know anything about the agency business, the following is how it works.
Potential New Client (PNC) or its pitch consultant (don't get us started) put out the call - an RFP. Woo-hoo! says everyone at the agency. We got invited (really, "invited"?) to pitch the ZYX account! Hells yeah, we're in!
Yep, agencies go nuts over these things. Nuts with irrational exuberance. Nuts, as in losing their minds. Because this means that for the next few months somebody has to work on this pitch. And since the agency wants to win, it puts its best people on THE PITCH. And since its best people are sitting around doing nothing...wait, no, the best people are busy working on the paying clients' businesses, right? OK, what are the best people doing? Um, since its best people are busy working on the paying clients' businesses, they'll just have to stop that until the pitch is over. Delay. Make excuses. Call in sick. Lie. Whatever it takes because that's what it takes to win. Lie. About anything or everything. Win!!!
Many agencies have new business teams. But how are those funded? By the current clients, of course, just like everything else. So if your agency is pitching new business, you, dear client, are funding that effort. Including the freelancers hired because there are always freelancers working on new business pitches.
And don't forget that PNC (remember, Potential New Client) wants to see the people who will actually work on the business in the pitch, right? And those people are just sitting around the agency with nothing else to do but wait for a new account to arrive, right? Isn't that what agencies do? Keep people on staff with nothing to do but wait for a PNC to come along? Actually, no. Who can afford that? Plus, one has to ask, if these people are so great, why are they not assigned to the existing clients?
And if the new business team is comprised of people working on current accounts, will those clients soon learn that the agency decided to change their team? If the agency wins the pitch, the answer is yes, because the new business team was promised to the new client, without asking the existing client (who bankrolled the new business pitch in the first place). And it all will be explained with another lie: "We're reorganizing your team to better serve your business."
The bottom line is, no, homie don't play that. We work hard for our existing clients. We give them our all. We structure for that. We don't take people from their duties to pitch new business, and we don't use our clients' resources to pitch new business. We don't share our clients' proprietary information - strategies, results or otherwise - for the asking. Others call sharing that proprietary information "case studies." We call them broken promises, unethical and contract violations. We don't build into our fee structure "overhead" to cover the costs of these pitches. That equates to making current clients pay for our pitches, and pitches require that we share their proprietary information, their team, and...well, by now you know what we're saying.
So how does DENT get clients? We get referred by current and past clients. We meet, discuss, brainstorm, etc. - all those things that help future clients get to know us. We provide cost proposals. We share the work we've done as long as it is already publicly-accessible and we're not breaching contracts. Future clients decide if we're right for them based on what they see and feel, not based on proprietary information from other clients. (Great video about this stuff here. We didn't create the video; kudos to ZAK.)
The dude abides. We're not bitter. We know it might sound that way. We're just practical and we abide by our contracts. Every client we've worked with since starting DENT has come from past clients or their referrals, and we are tremendously proud of that. And grateful. So we're sticking to our credo.
"Best 'power-to-weight' ratio in the business? Huh?"
That's gearhead speak for a flat-structured, lean & mean branding machine (weight) with high-energy and expertise (power). Whether a car, motorcycle, rocket, person or organization, eliminating excess weight creates efficiencies yielding greater speed and output. Now, combine that with well-crafted, high-aptitude parts and you have a superb machine with benefits for all. (Sorry for all the metaphor-speak.)