10. My biggest strength is also a weakness

Posted on Posted in 15th Anniversary

When I mapped out this series about the things I have learned in the past fifteen years of running Spire2, I knew that this one would require some vulnerability. It has proved hard to write, because I can’t wrap it up with a clever little bow. Over time, I’ve recognized a quality that I have brought to the Spire2 brand that has been a blessing and a curse. It has allowed me to help clients advance their organizations, but it has also cost me clients.

Family of origin

Parents can be an easy to target when you fall short, but I really have no disparaging words to share about my family of origin. I grew up in a very stable home, well-cared for and loved. We never lacked and my dad was never without employment, yet my parents were extremely conservative in their financial life. We were a white color family that lived in a blue collar neighborhood. This reality impressed on me the importance of being careful and looking for a good deal. This financially conservative approach has served me well, but it has affected my business.

Pragmatic approach to business

The economics of marketing have changed in the last twenty years. What was once very expensive is now much more affordable. You can build things in smaller steps — leveraging success to build more success. I find it a thrilling challenge to work within limitations and to spend less and do more. This approach makes clients happy, but it also has its limitations. At some point the investment needs to match the goal, but once you have clients conditioned to build it in smaller steps, it is hard to convince them to make a bigger leap. What has sadly happened more than once, is that someone else comes along and sells the leap and Spire2 is thanked for helping them get there.

Unresolved issues

This is an unresolved issue in my mind and business, which has tempted me to ditch this post. While organizations are well served by a very pragmatic approach to marketing, I also recognize that at some point in an organization’s life a bigger leap needs to be made in branding and marketing. But the puzzle of a weakness being a strength is a dilemma too interesting not to share, even if I can’t tie it up with a bow.


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Celebrating 15 years

Jeffery James
Jeffery James
Jeffery is the Creative Director and Principal of Spire2. He brings marketing expertise from a variety of industries. He excels at understanding clients' corporate objectives, translating them into brand positioning and executing marketing materials that exceed expectations.