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November 30, 2009
Nothing Matters More Than Gratitude

My ad agency, Hello Viking, is three years old. We’re an infant. As such, we’re very much dependant on the care, concern and enthusiasm others give us. Without their interest and love, we wouldn’t exist.

Thousands of new businesses open every week—new hair salons, lawn care specialists, mortgage brokerages, restaurants, Internet start ups. Behind them are well-meaning, talented, loved individuals; people with dreams. I seem to recall statistics saying if your business makes it to five years, you’ll likely make it even further. But most new businesses fail.

Perhaps the major difference in success is gratitude.

If other people—not just you—want you to succeed, in fact, are grateful your company exists, then your infant company stands a much greater chance of sticking around. This has as much to do with the work you perform as the spirit of work you provide.

(The evidence is only growing stronger and more evident via social media. If your business acts like a jerk, the world will soon know.)

My Agency is certainly not perfect, but we try above all else to demonstrate our gratitude for the opportunities we’ve been given. I recommend this approach to anyone trying to figure out how to nurture a career in advertising. Be grateful to those around you. Give away the gratitude.

No one “makes it” by themselves in this industry, despite the propaganda. Art directors need writers. Writers need proof readers. We all need clients. Truth is, no single ad or website or piece of software makes it into the public consciousness without the help of many people—answering phones, clarifying details, booking flights, handling expense reports, uncovering insights and managing relationships. It truly takes a village.

I’m extremely proud of and honored to work with Jennifer, Joseph, Breanne, Knute, Matt, Marnie, Lisa, Margie and Michael and our fellow collaborators Neil, Dan, Paul, Dion, Mark, Lisa, Tim, Debra, Scott, Richard and Richard, Erin, Bill, Scott, Dan, Patty and Abby. I’m grateful for our early day evangelists Aubrey, Alan, Carol and Chris and many others. We are so fortunate to have come to know and to work with many more.

And let’s not forget family, friends and neighbors. I suspect Goodby, Silverstein, Porter, Bogusky and Ogilvy could all look back on the essential kindness of their villages in providing mental and collegial support. Behind every young agency lurks a community of love, trust, financial support and last minute childcare. They’re the ones who will ultimately keep you and your business honest and fluid.

As we grow, gratitude gets harder. Time constrains. Faces become less familiar. But it’s essential to recognize and remember and respect those who give their time and enthusiasm to your brand.

You are who’re grateful for.

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As a writer, creative director and drummer, Tim Brunelle started in advertising in 1993 after receiving a B.A. in Jazz from the University of Cincinnati. Since then, he's worked with TBWA/Chiat Day, Heater/Easdon, McKinney & Silver, Arnold Worldwide, OgilvyOne, Mullen and Carmichael Lynch. Tim now works for his own entity, Hello Viking.

Tim has provided strategic and creative leadership to A.G. Edwards, Anheuser-Busch, Brown Forman, Goodyear, Harley-Davidson, Porsche, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Volkswagen.

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