Monthly Archives: June 2013

Disclaimer: I understand that I’ve been more than negligent to my dear WordPress. I admit to abandoning my writing and being the worst kind of deadbeat dad, but the other day my boss encouraged me to write as often and as relentlessly as I can. So once again, I’m dishing out another shallow, meaningless apology for the non-existent following that comprises my readership. Below is a recent blog I had to write for my company’s internal PR and advertising blog, and I thought I’d share.

I’m going to make a concerted effort to write more often. When I started this blog, I had lofty goals of sharing provoking content about music, sports, food and books and anything else that interested me. I’ve come to realize that that expectation puts a lot of pressure on me to publish things that ultimately take a lot of work- taking photos and editing them in itself takes a  long time. And as a sad result, I’ve just stopped updating this. I share photos, news links and ideas on every other social platform, making my blog pretty obsolete. But I truly believe WordPress is still the best platform for purely writing. So I’m going to take a different approach to this blog now – I think I’m going to remove the reader from my thought process and just write what I want to write – selfish as it sounds. Writing is my therapy, and if you’d like to absorb what I share, you’re welcome to it. 


Our fair city has certainly prided itself on its vibrant, eccentric personality – unapologetically labeling itself as the Live Music Capital of the World, a flourishing tech hub and ultimately, a pretty weird place.  However, when considering cities known for advertising and public relations, Austin is rarely top-of-mind, and understandably so. We automatically associate cities like New York, Chicago and LA with these mass communications specialties. After all, they’re among the highest ranked media markets – even Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston fall in the top 10. But Austin barely makes the top 50, ranked a modest 45th place behind other happening city centers like Birmingham and Harrisburg.

Lest we forget, what Austin may lack in size, it makes up for with creativity. Our city is brimming with innovative tech start-ups, a young, hungry student population and no shortage of big, entertaining events like ACL music festival, which has become so large in size and popularity that it quite literally outgrew Austin’s city limits, spilling into two weekends this year.

GSD&M is arguably the most recognizable ad agency in the city, neighboring Whole Foods in the heart of downtown and boasting impressive clients like Southwest Airlines and Goodyear. Even two of NI’s own advertising team previously worked there. In spite of the agency’s reputation, I was surprised and impressed by a recent article in the Statesman profiling one of its employees.

The article essentially describes the role of Glenda Goehrs, GSD&M’s principal referrer. In other words, while most PR and ad agencies place a heavy emphasis on winning new business, Goehrs’ primary purpose is turning new business away. Her reasons certainly vary – these decisions are often based on size of the account or scope of work – but not only does she reject these prospective clients, she refers them to other agencies that can better meet their marketing needs.

Though this role is curious, it’s certainly remarkable. Rather than adopting a cut-throat Mad Men competitive mentality with rival companies, this referral program lends itself to healthy, mutually beneficial relationships, and ultimately, a robust pool of talent in the community.

I suppose, like NI, GSD&M had a long-term vision in mind when it started this referral program 20 years ago. By cultivating a thriving advertising and PR community, these Austin agencies can continue attracting top talent from other major cities – and keep them here. According to the article, there were approximately 135 Austin ad agencies in 1994. Now, there are over 500. Corny as it may be, this data brings GSD&M’s signature tagline to life –  Austin has evolved into an “Idea city.”

This abundance of experts in the creative, digital and mass media communications fields is exciting to say the least. This melting pot of skills, experience and most importantly, ingenuity will only produce provoking campaigns and original ideas. So the next time you reflect on how rich our city may be in technology, music, food, fitness, or dare I say weirdness, remember that it’s full of communicators, storytellers, copy writers, media buyers, and designers too.