I’ve been waiting and waiting to make this public, and the time has finally come. No more hints. No more teasing. This is the real thing. I’m leaving the world of sole practitionership and independent consulting to join a startup that features a killer team of communicators and a laser-like focus on New Marketing.
The company is called crayon. The name derives from an analogy employed frequently by Joseph Jaffe, crayon’s founder. The biggest boxes of crayons come chock-full of dozens of colors, Joe notes, but most communicators (marketers, advertisers, PR folk, corporate communications pros) seem always to start with red, green, and blue. crayon is ready to pull any color out of the box and we definitley will not start with red, green, and blue.
crayon is something of a mashup. We’re not an agency or a consulting firm, but we do bring the best of what those types of companies have to offer. We’ll approach our assignments with fresh eyes that see the new environment in which traditional marketing and advertising is failing so dismally. We understand that customers (in the broadest sense of the word) are fed up with being marketed to, communicated to, advertised to. Engagement, conversation, co-creation, involvement—these are the approaches that we are anxious to bring to our assignments. Not as an afterthought or add-on, mind you, but as the cornerstone of our work.
(Of course, if an assignment cries for a press release or a magazine ad, we can do that, too, and do it damned well. But it definitely won’t be the heart and soul of our approach.)
What makes us different is that Joseph assembled us based on our passion for new media and the fact that we already live and breathe it. We sleep it. We eat it for lunch. And ultimately, that’s what motivated me to accept Joe’s offer and join crayon: the opportunity to work exclusively on these types of projects and the opportunity to work with this particular collection of people.
In addition to Joe, team members you’ve probably heard of include Neville Hobson—my co-host on our long-running podcast, For Immediate Release—and C.C. Chapman, host of the award winning podsafe music podcast, “Accident Hash along with “U-Turn Cafe” and a new marketing podcast, “Managing the Gray.”
I’m in California, Joe’s in Connecticut, Neville’s in the U.K., and C.C. is in Boston. It should come as no surprise that we’ll manage this geographic spread by establishing our headquarters in Second Life. Dubbed Crayonville Island, our headquarters has office space, a theater, a presentation amphitheater, housing, and a variety of other elements that will all be unveiled at our launch party this Thursday, October 26. Below you’ll see the team—our avatars, anyway—in-life. Neville and I are just to the right of Joseph, who’s seated in the middle.
I’m reasonably sure we’re the first company to launch outright in Second Life. I wish I could be there but work commitments will keep me from doing more than quickly dropping in during a lunch break!
I want to emphasize that Crayonville Island is our HQ, not just a virtual extension of a bunch of brick-and-mortar buildings we already have in place. But that doesn’t mean you have to have an avatar and a SL account to work with us. We also have a traditional website launching Thursday: http://www.crayonville.com.
I also want to introduce you to the rest of the team, all of whom are based in New York. These names will most likely be new to you, but I expect you’ll be hearing them a lot more in the months ahead: Gary Cohen (the company’s CEO), Chris Trela, Aaron Greenberger and Michael Denton.
The team will grow, too. We’re interested in talking to anyone who shares our passion for this new world of social computing, social media, and New Marketing.
We’re also interested in talking to you. I’m available, as are Joseph and the rest of the team, for interviews and conversations. Joe has cleared his calendar for this week, but of course we can talk whenever it’s convenient for you. Just leave a comment to this post or contact me directly if you’d like to chat.
In case you’re wondering, Neville and I will continue to produce FIR, just as C.C. will continue to produce his shows and Joseph will continue with “Across the Sound”—we’ll also all maintain our blogs. These will be independent of crayon and won’t (I swear) be used to hype the company.
Anyway, I can’t begin to express my excitement about finally rocking and rolling with crayon, and I’m looking forward to continued conversation with all of you.
Incidentally, Neville has already blogged this.