When Big Ideas Are Just The Beginning

September 25, 2017

                                                       Wabash, Indiana

When interviewing job candidates, I often ask people about their (candid) perceptions of Fast Horse. While the answers vary, there’s one constant: They say our agency is known for big, ambitious ideas and high-profile projects.

As I peer around the office, it’s clear where that reputation comes from. I’m surrounded (and energized) by bold, creative people who are constantly striving to make the seemingly impossible possible.

But I must admit: When our team first began working with our client Deluxe Corporation, even the most optimistic, enthusiastic and aspirational among us could never have predicted what was in store. The “big idea” that began as the Small Business Revolution has evolved into something much bigger – and, perhaps more than anything, it has opened my eyes to the impact that a brand can have long after the team has packed up and moved on.

I recently wrote about what an honor it has been to spend time in Bristol Borough, Pennsylvania. Bristol will be featured in Season 2 of Deluxe’s “Small Business Revolution – Main Street” series, which chronicles how Deluxe experts give one lucky town and its small businesses a $500,000 makeover. (Season 2 premieres September 28 at SmallBusinessRevolution.org, when a few of us Ponies head to New York for a packed media tour.)

But before the new season – which Inc. named a top show for entrepreneurs – even premieres, Deluxe decided to revisit the Season 1 winner: Wabash, Indiana. Keep in mind that Deluxe had wrapped up its work in Wabash an entire year ago, but they wanted to see whether they had truly made a sustained impact in the community. They created a “bonus episode” to document what they learned, and (spoiler alert) Deluxe’s impact extends beyond what anyone could’ve anticipated:

As the episode shows, Deluxe’s work paved the way for long-term success: New businesses have opened, existing ones are thriving, and the energy in town is palpable. In the words of one local CEO, “Deluxe really helped create a fire and create a vision that led to momentum to carry on.” It’s the best of both worlds: building massive goodwill for the Deluxe brand, while setting an entire community down a path for success, long after we left town.

In an era when so many brands are seeking a headline-grabbing, “buzzworthy stunt” – which can often result in nothing more than that one quick headline and a mere blip on the radar – the Small Business Revolution is a testament to how brands can find ways to actually kickstart a movement that lives on long after an activation concludes.

(P.S. Don’t miss the first two episodes of Season 2 of “Small Business Revolution – Main Street,” which debut September 28 at SmallBusinessRevolution.org!)