Q. What do you mean by “brand” and what is your definition of brand truth?
A. Brand equals every interaction a company has with its customers, prospects, staff, and investors. It’s how people think about and characterize an entire company or movement. Brand truth is the expression of the company’s core. Our job is to find this center and then to help shape it and eventually magnify it so everyone knows exactly why the company matters.
Q. How is Bonehook different from other agencies that we may have worked with in the past?
A. Radical candor is where we begin and it’s where we live, day-to-day. This approach to solving marketing communications is highly efficient, but it is not for everyone. The saying, “the truth hurts” is a saying for good reason. It can hurt to know that your product or service is never going to be the first thing on your customers’ minds when they get up in the morning.
Another great saying is, “the truth will set you free.” We are different from other agencies in this way: we badly want to make our client’s customers happy, interested, and motivated. Everything we do is in order to please them, which in the end pleases our clients.
Q. Is there’s something missing from most agency/client relationships?
A. Before starting Bonehook, Cathy and I both worked for many years in the traditional agency business. We both found it lacking. In our experience, the old school agencies are slow, thick, and wasteful. Since we are none of those things, we had to break away and remake the business. Bonehook is the “anti-agency” because we don’t waste our time or our clients’ money. So yes, there’s a whole lotta something missing from nine out of 10 agency/client relationships. And we want none of that.
Q. Do all clients get to work with the principals of the agency?
A. Yes. Bonehook is small by design. We take on just a small handful of new clients each year as a way to control growth and ensure that all of our clients are working with expert talent at all times, including David and Cathy.
Q. What does a typical engagement with Bonehook look like and how much does it cost?
A. Here’s another way in which Bonehook is not normal…we don’t want long term clients. We want to spend 18 months to three years on an account, in which time we bring everything we have in the tank forward to create brand value and marketplace interest and action.
Bonehook cut our fees at the inception of the firm in January 2010. We also cut our own expenses, in order to channel all the clients’ funds directly to the talent on the job. When you don’t dwell in an expensive tower or remodeled warehouse, you don’t need to pass on the costs to the client. The days of putting Italian leather couches in the lobby and on the client’s tab are over.
Q. What do current and former clients say about Bonehook?
A. Not everyone likes us or thinks we’re awesome. We’re okay with that. Thankfully, we’ve had the incredible opportunity to work closely with many amazing clients. Clients like Lisa Jones, the president of Danville Development in Salt Lake City.
Lisa recently reviewed Bonehook on Clutch and had this to say: “Their creativity stands out. David and his team think so differently than I do. Just by asking the right questions, David works to understand my business so he can figure out how to solve our marketing problems.”
Q. What are Bonehook’s guiding principles?
A. Show respect. Have fun. Don’t waste time. Also, we believe in infusing beauty, truth, and meaning into brand marketing.
Q. How long have you been in business, and what important accounts have you served during this time?
A. Bonehook launched in January 2010 in Portland, Oregon. We moved ourselves and the company to Austin, Texas in March 2018.
Since our inception, we’ve been fortunate to work with amazing people at top brands, spunky startups, family businesses, and bootstrapped campaigns. Some clients served: Columbia Sportswear, GE Healthcare, ID Experts, Danville Development, Kim Olsen for Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, Oracle, Lewis & Clark Bank, GPSTracking.com, and many more marquis consumer and business-to-business brands.
Q. Do you have a shelf full of industry awards?
A. Vanity isn’t productive or attractive and industry award shows feed this vanity and send the wrong message. We care about one thing: advancing our clients’ businesses and building wealth for them by significantly increasing their brand value. When we do this, we win and we need no trophies or ribbons to prove it.
Q. What qualities are you looking for in a good client fit?
A. It’s so simple…do you want to give all of our ideas (even the wild ones) a fair hearing and do you want to compensate us for these ideas? When we are hired for our expertise and rewarded for it, we have a great fit that benefits both firms.
Q. How can we start the process and begin working as a healthy team?
A. The agency business is a people business. If your people like and enjoy meeting with our people every week, and vice versa, chances are good that we can work well together. As for healthy teams, they require open and honest communication, which is built on the backbone of trust. Trust does take time to develop, but it doesn’t take a lot of time.
The best way to start working with our team is to hire us for a 90-day or 120-day sprint. Our sprints are fast-moving affairs where decisions are made and acted on immediately. If more action than deliberation sounds like what you need, let’s take the next step and set up a call.