Q&A with Rick Gardiner about Embracing Change Part One
Rick Gardiner will be presenting, Digital Acument: How to Hire the Staff of Tomorrow, Today!, at the Integrated Print Forum in Pittsburgh this October 24-25. Rick took the time to talk with me about how Brunner has adapted to change and how this all relates to the printing industry.
How has Brunner evolved to be who they are today?
Our agency was founded over 20 years ago and our focus initially was print design and production. In the early 90’s, as the company started to become known for other services, like creative, some thought the ownership was crazy for getting into services like database marketing. Decisions like that went completely against the grain from what other agencies were doing. Then we acquired an early iteration of an Internet marketing company. So, I don’t know if, at the time, they knew how visionary it was. But they always believed in having technology at the core.
There are pundits that believe it’s not about technology, but printers love technology and the iterations they make revolve around technology. What do you have to say about that?
It’s the marriage of both. If you make decisions only about technology and not about ideas or creativity, then that’s not going to cut it. But if you can successfully combine both, you’ll find some success. That’s what worked for us. There are some downsides, too—having to invest earlier than your clients or customers are ready in order to stay ahead of the curve. Obviously, there’s a cost implication of staying the course. I remember I was here during the dotcom bust in 1999 and 2000 and we at Brunner were talking about how committed we should stay to this “Internet” thing. Michael Brunner said, “You know what? It’s not going away and it’s a blip. We’re going to stay the course.” Turned out to be a great decision.