Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And do you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It's freedom from fear. It's a billboard on the side of a road that screams with reassurance that whatever you're doing is OK. You are OK.
— Don Draper
Don Draper was a character I always related to. It wasn’t that he was an ad man. It wasn’t that he had a certain style and charisma that I admired. What I really related to was Don’s inner tension. He was a product of his time and yet so far ahead of his industry, and for better or for worse, he was mostly unapologetic about the way he interpreted and acted on the events that happened around him.
I have felt that tension in my own life lately. I have felt the negativity and the cynicism that seems to be a huge part of our nation and world today. I have felt the need to speak up while at the same time being aware of the lessons that I’m meant to learn along the way. I have faced my own demons and fears, and I continue to face them with an honest and open heart.
But on the other side of that tension are so many good things. On the other side, I’ve found family and friends that love me and believe that my heart is worth having. I have found that even as we grow and expand, EM remains a family-like atmosphere, and I have found that amid all the confusion and negativity, there is strength in following your path and finding the good in those around you and the circumstances you find yourself in.
But I asked myself, what would happen if I began encouraging the team at EM to lead with their heart as well. Yes, I’d love to see them do so in their personal lives, but I’m talking specifically about how we all go about our work at the agency. What would a heart-led agency look like.
Here are a few ways that I think EM-Media is already well on her way to marketing with heart.
I know. I know. Every business says the same thing, but if you spent any time out with our account executives or in any of our offices, you’d see a difference. Our clients become a part of our family, and EM becomes an extension of their organization.
It isn’t uncommon for a client to stop in for one thing and end up going from room to room in our office making sure they catch up with everyone, asking about their family, and spending time, spare-of-the-moment, with our team going over strategy, campaign results, or looking over the latest edits of some piece of creativity.
One of the things I’m most proud of is the culture of community that we have at EM. Our internal culture is like family, and I’ll never get tired of using that word, but more impressive to me is how, without fail, when people join our team at EM, they almost always end up taking leadership positions in the communities where we are active.
We join networking groups. We serve on boards and committees. We volunteer. We make ourselves available to serve not only the businesses where we are active, but we also want to give back to the communities and the organizations that make those communities thrive.
A Positive Light
As the owner and president, I love hearing how people talk not only about EM-Media, but specifically about the people in it. I try to bring people on board that are not just skilled in their particular area of expertise but people who I feel will make EM a stronger light to shine.
For years, Steubenville has been our headquarters, and I don’t foresee that changing. We have roots here and I love the relationships we’ve built and the deep ways we are a part of the fabric of the community. We’ve had a second home in Wheeling where Wayne and Karen Hardy have such a positive presence that you’d be hard pressed to find someone who has a bad word to say about either of them or EM-Media.
In the next month or so, we will soon have a home on Pittsburgh’s North Shore just a short walk from the stadiums in Old Deutschtown — more on that once it’s all official. Everyone at EM is really excited about the expansion.
Yes, it’s exciting to move into Pittsburgh. Personally, I’m excited about being able to spend more time at my beloved Teutonia Mannerchor. But what does my heart truly good is to hear the team talk about what the move means for our ability to be involved in Pittsburgh and the North Shore. I love to see them looking at Google Maps to see what businesses are around the new address that will inevitably become a huge part of our internal culture, and I smile at the thought of what EM and this team will mean for that neighborhood.
I love the discussions we had leading up to the decision where we talked about transitioning neighborhoods and the development that comes when businesses decide to invest in the community.
I love it because I know, from over twenty years of experience, that wherever we steer this ship, a light will shine because EM is wired to lead with her heart.