As of last year, there were just shy of 14,000 advertising agencies in the United States. There are more than 150 in the Metroplex alone. And like every Dallas Advertising Agency, LOOMIS has the challenge of constantly differentiating ourselves from every other agency.
Unlike most of the others, we do.
Today, LOOMIS is the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency. Admittedly, for more than a decade, we were another Dallas Advertising Agency fighting the same wars, offering the same services, promising the same results. But 20 years ago, we shifted that mindset and committed ourselves to becoming experts at challenger branding and serving underdog brands lock, stock, and barrel. We are still a Dallas Advertising Agency. But for regional and national challenger brands trying to fight the category leaders with fewer people, fewer weapons, and fewer resources, LOOMIS is a lot more than that.
FIRST, A LITTLE HISTORY
Though we’re a stalwart Dallas Advertising Agency now, LOOMIS was initially founded as a music production company back in 1984 by composer and marketer Paul Loomis. Paul had opened a small studio off I-35 where he was toiling away turning out jingles and placing media for local advertisers. One afternoon, a young white kid wandered into the studio and swore to Paul he’d be the next hip-hop sensation. Undeterred by his complexion in a genre completely dominated by African American performers, Vanilla Ice (and Paul) challenged convention, embraced his differences, and set the world on fire with Ice Ice Baby. From its humble beginnings as a local music house, The LOOMIS Agency would soon emerge as an up and coming, full-service Dallas Advertising Agency.
In 2001, current CEO Mike Sullivan took the reins as president of LOOMIS and under his leadership, LOOMIS blossomed from one Dallas Advertising Agency among many into the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency with a roster full of regional and national clients. Having previously run a Dallas Advertising Agency that had twice been named “Adweek’s Southwest Agency of the Year,” Mike understood what it took to build and grow a leading advertising agency. For more than 20 years, Mike has run point along with partner and COO Julie Ondrusek as LOOMIS became known for helping challenger brands discover and embrace their hidden advantages to fuel success. What began as a one-man music show is today a perennial top five Dallas Advertising Agency, an Ad Age Small Agency of the Year winner, a multiple Dallas Morning News and Dallas Business Journal “Best Places to Work” company, the winner of numerous creative awards in regional and national competitions including the National Sports Marketing Promotion of the Year and a beloved home for top talent and national clients.
WE HELP UNDERDOGS WIN
So, how did we move from Dallas Advertising Agency to the country’s leading challenger brand agency? We decided to stop chasing category leaders and focus instead on the scrappy, hungry challengers nipping at their heels. Challengers find a way where there is no way. And even for us, a lack of resources was never an acceptable justification for not getting the job done. No matter what the challenge, there is always an alternative. Always another door. Always a creative solution that challenges convention, sticks out a chin, and screams “what if” and “why not?” This was the mindset we wanted to take into battle every morning. And 20 years ago, we decided to go all in. We would no longer be a Dallas Advertising Agency competing in a sea of sameness. We would carve out our niche, actively seek underdogs with the same mindset we had, and together, start looking for chinks in the armor of the category Goliaths. Today, that’s what we do. And if we might say so humbly, we’re damn good at it.
We carry the challenger brand ethos into everything we do, and every client challenge we go after. We are not a Dallas Advertising Agency focused on digital, or an agency focused on broadcast, or on social media, or creative, or disruption. We focus on all of those things. But we focus on them through the crystal-clear lens of challenger branding.
Challenger brands know who they are and who they are not. They know who they are for, and just as importantly, who they are not for. Challengers know what they are about, where they stand in the market, and just how ready they are to go to battle. They embrace their lighthouse identity and navigate by who they are, not by what their consumers say they want. Challenger brands outthink, rather than outspend. They disrupt things whenever possible. And rather than being the leader that’s the biggest, they strive to be the thought leader that grabs the most attention. Challenger brands overcommit and aren’t afraid to sacrifice for something better. They are idea-centered, not consumer-centered. And above all, they never stop fighting.
We understand the challenger mindset because it’s the same one that transformed us from a Dallas Advertising Agency to a national thought leader on challenger branding and the importance of company culture. We even wrote a book about it.
At this point, we’d be remiss without touching on the crucial importance culture has played in our transition from a Dallas Advertising Agency to a national thought leader. Building a great company culture is vital to the success of any challenger brand and here’s why: underdogs have to fight together. Where category leaders have the resources and personnel to fight on multiple fronts and throw dozens of people at multiple issues, challenger brands do not. We have to fight together and that means being on the same page, feeling the same fire, and pulling in the same direction.
In our book, “The Voice of the Underdog: How Challenger Brands Create Distinction By Thinking Culture First,” we offer a blueprint for what’s required to build a transcendent culture in any organization be it a Dallas Advertising Agency or any other brand. Safety, vulnerability, purpose, belonging, creativity, connection, and North Star Leadership are the seven tenets that form the foundation of every great culture. And for challenger brands especially, they are the glue that holds the company together. Or not.
By definition, challenger brands have fewer resources than their competitors and when that’s the case, the importance of cultural elements is magnified. Consider your own brand. Do your people feel safe physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually at work? Do they feel free to say, “I don’t know,” and “I need help?” Do they share a sense of purpose and truly understand your company’s reason for being? Do they share a true sense of belonging and acceptance regardless of who they are? Do they experience your company as one that embraces creativity, thinks big, and swings for the fences with the freedom to fail? Do they feel connected to both the company and each other? And do they see, engage with, and follow your company’s leadership at the top? These are all crucial questions, and their answers define the strength of the culture your team spends 40 to 60 hours a week working within.
Some leaders will argue they don’t really have a culture, or that it’s not important. Neither are true. Every company has a culture whether they acknowledge it or not. And if the culture isn’t good, it’s most likely the opposite. That’s why culture is such a crucial foundation for challenger brand success. Companies have enough battles to fight without adding internal strife or confusion to the mix. More importantly, when your people all lean into a positive, loving, supportive culture, there’s a galvanizing effect that makes your team twice as strong as it would have been otherwise.
We’ll admit, we haven’t always gotten it perfect. But over the past 20 years, our numbers have spoken for themselves. At LOOMIS, we keep our team members twice as long as the national average and not coincidentally, the same is true for the tenure of our client relationships. A year after 25 percent of the American workforce turned over and the other 75 percent was thinking about it, those are statistics we’re extremely proud of.
WE’RE READY FOR THE DOGFIGHT
Are you looking for a Dallas Advertising Agency that knows Quick Service Restaurants (QSR)? How about a Dallas agency that knows finance and banking? If you want an agency with experience in restaurants, retail, healthcare, franchises, home services, and more, look no further than LOOMIS. We are a full-service Dallas Advertising Agency offering our challenger brand clients strategy, account service, media, and creative capabilities. We have an entire division of the company dedicated to all things digital including UX/UI, Strategy, Social Media, e-Commerce, Digital Media, and CRM. We also offer complete in-house graphic design as well as in-house commercial production and music. But, LOOMIS is more than a simple Dallas Advertising Agency. We are an a focused, committed, scrappy advertising, marketing, and branding force for challenger brands ready to fight their giants.
Got any we can help you chop down to size?