While producing There is a Difference interview series, we have learned that experience never gets old has a significant role in the success of the people, projects, and companies we have featured. We asked our leader, Shawn Draper, how and why the interview series came about, what are some of the important insights we have learned from talking with all these terrific people, and what the future holds for the series and the agency, Draper DNA.
This was a fun and truly insightful interview we believe you will enjoy and, hopefully, share.
When, how, and why did you start that There is a Difference interview series?
Well, it started in March of 2021, and it was a combination of a couple things. First, it was created out of boredom from the pandemic. We had a lot of time and we were all sequestered. And so there were several things I decided I wanted to learn and video editing was one of them, but in order to learn how to edit video, you had to have video to edit. So then it happened in March, which is Women in Construction month. And so I thought, all right, well that’s something that I believe strongly in that it’s a group that’s underrepresented, but certainly overqualified to be so much more. So, we started with that by interviewing some people that I really respect who are women in construction and are very accomplished women, and also learned how to edit the video.
We posted the videos on our website and social media channels, we did a couple a week, if I remember to start. And as we started to post them, the response was good. I was having fun. It just seemed to make sense to continue to do that. So that’s how it started and that’s the reason why.
Where did the title There is a Difference come from?
Where did the title come from? The title There is a Difference came from some research that we were doing at the time, or preparing to do at the time. When I started Draper DNA, what made us different is the fact that we looked for the differences in things. Most agencies at the time were differentiating themselves by their skillset. They were a social media agency or a PR agency or a creative agency. You get the drift. And so looking at things differently was really what stood out for us. And as a result, we tended to gravitate towards those people that do things differently or see things differently, like-minds, I guess, from clients to partners to just friends. It started with that and the more that we talked to people and started to ask questions about how they’re making a difference or what makes them different, we just learned great things.
Whether it was from a creative director who uses his own brand of humor, or it was an architect who takes advantage of the fact that as a woman, she sees and experiencing things a bit differently, and that’s a differentiator for her. We even spoke to small business owners, like a person who started his own popup coffee business because there’s just something to learn from all different ways of doing business. And I think that’s helped us with our business, and certainly it speaks to an audience that we’d like to entertain. That’s where the title came from. There’s a difference.
How has this series evolved over the last two years?
There is a Difference series, it really has evolved over the last two years, not just with the different audiences that we’re talking to, which provide different points of view, but then also we started to inquire about how their experience led to doing things differently. And that opened up a whole brand new area of interest that we’re just now starting to delve into.
Again, when we go back to the start of the agency and the research that we did, how agencies differentiated themselves, what we started to find is that we were early adopters to looking at things differently. As we started to take a look this last summer about what is agency life as we see it now, all of a sudden people moved from individual skill sets to define themselves to everyone’s now talking about how they’re different than everybody else.
So when everyone says they’re different, now no one’s different as far as I’m concerned. And so one of the things we learned from this series is the more that we looked into it, the more we realized it was people’s experiences and the depth of those experiences. That’s where the good stuff was coming from. And honestly, that’s where the true differentiation occurs is with the experiences. So now that opened up a whole new thing for us, which is this is, I think, a real key learning for us as a result of what was supposed to be a project that taught me how to edit video.
What is next for There is a Difference?
What’s next for There is a Difference is we’re going to expand on this experience idea or input. And we’re going to find out not just what makes a difference, but how does experience now make a difference. That’s really going to be our focus because we think that’s the real differentiator. Before it was the skillset, then it was doing things differently. But now we really think that the real difference, the meat and potatoes is the experience that’s there. This is really important and I think a real solid differentiator in the agency business.
For someone that’s been a partner in a more traditional agency where hiring junior people and letting them grow within the business was as much a financial model as it was a service model. In other words, younger people with less experience cost less and you can still build the same amount. It’s something that the clients bear the cost for, the cost and lack of experience or providing experience to their agencies.
Experience has been a very important part of what we do. All of our people on our team have deep experience, not just in home and building, but across a lot of different disciplines. It’s that diversity of experience that’s our differentiator and so that we’re going to embrace that, talk about it, showcase it in There is a Difference as we move forward.
What is next for Draper DNA?
What’s next for Draper DNA as we head into the new year is now, we’re going to start flexing our muscles. And what I mean by that is this whole agency was built on the experience of the team that we have. Everyone that we work with has been around for a while, as it were. And there’s no one here starting from scratch. Everyone here has been around the block a few times. That originally was done to make sure that we could hit the ground running and run fast so that we could be very efficient, which always has been important to me. And that efficiency comes from that experience. There’s no wasted energy when you’ve got that experience.
The other piece of it is that this experience provides you with the ability to take more risk because you’re more knowledgeable. Risk is blind risk when you don’t have the experience. The risk we take, or what I’ll call the innovation that we’re able to offer is because we know well enough. So we know how to take a risk or where to take a risk and what to do. And I think that our marketplace, the home and building marketplace is ripe for that. But it has been for quite a while and we plan to focus on that in the new year.
I’ve embraced the idea or the tagline I guess, of experience never gets old. I just love how that sounds. So that’s what we’re going to pursue next, is to be able to demonstrate and prove that that’s the case. I think we’ve been doing that all along, but now we need to show more people and find those that can appreciate the fact that experience makes a difference and therein lies the little twist. By the way, I’m also going to work with the hashtag experience matters. Why not? And have some fun with this. So that’s next for DNA from this vantage point as of today. Experience tells us however that could change too.
Thank you, Shawn.
We hold curiosity, agility, and experience in high regard. It drives our thinking and work every day. We know it is difference between our team and that of so many others. Our challenge is fining clients that are seeking a smart partner in their marketing and business development efforts and not just order takers. We are actively seeking the next challenge and the next solution for our current and future clients. We have faith that you or someone like you will invite us to join them in their search.
Watch the interview on the Draper DNA YouTube Channel by clicking HERE.