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Ep. 37 Creative Strategy with Crystal McFerran

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Brad Post, Create the Movement, host

Crystal McFerran, Creative Strategy Partners, guest

Brad Post, Create the Movement, host: Welcome back to Create the Movement podcast. This is Brad Post, and I’m very excited today to be speaking to my new friend, if we can be new friends Crystal, Crystal McFerran. Crystal how are you doing today?

Crystal McFerran, Creative Strategy Partners: I’m doing great. Thank you.

BP: Good. Good. I think we connected through social media. You’re down in Dallas, correct?

CM: That is correct.

BP: And we’re very much in the similar industries and we connected earlier this week. And I boldly asked you to be on my podcast, and you boldly said, “Yes.” That was last week. Wasn’t it?

CM: That was last week.

  1. Background

BP: You have a very interesting story that I wanted to get – as far as marketing. The things that you’re doing, the things that you have done. Just very impressed. And if you want to just start out by telling your story. Or, how did you get into marketing?

CM: Okay. I knew from a pretty young age that I wanted to pursue a career in marketing or advertising. I think it was initially driven by a creative urge. But, more and more over the years, I became passionate about marketing because it’s all about relationships.

I’ve always been interested and intrigued by, psychology and relationships. And what it boils down to in marketing is knowing who you need to connect with and then building a relationship by providing value. And I think that it’s really evolved over the years. Particularly through social media. Marketing’s still creating and engaging, of course. But it’s deeper than that.

And it’s become a way for companies to communicate with vast amounts of people in a personal way.

BP: Perfect. Perfect. So, tell us about your career within marketing.

CM: Okay. I started out in a traditional corporate marketing area working for Hewlett Packard and Accor. And I did that for about thirteen years. And then a few years ago I really felt the urge to start my own company. And it was something that I’d always wanted to do, and I didn’t ever feel like there was a right time. I was doing some consulting on the side. And I just decided, “Okay. I’m going to do this full time. I’m going to dive in, and see what happens.”

BP: And you said you started about three years ago?

CM: I did. It was about three years ago. And then then my second year into the business I was approached by another, a little bit larger, digital marketing company here in Dallas. And they were interested in acquiring the company. And so, it wasn’t something that I was really actively seeking. Or, that I even expected. And I felt like it was a great opportunity, and so I did it. And I stayed on for about a year with them. And I recently started another company on my own.

BP: Was that emotional? I know you said you spent two years growing the business, putting your heart and soul into it. Was it hard emotionally?

CM: To start over?

BP: No. Just to sell it. Or, to be able

CM: You know, it wasn’t. It was a really positive experience. I was excited about having more resources and working with a larger company that I felt shared a vision. And so I was really excited about the opportunity.

BP: That’s awesome. And so you stayed on for a year. And during that time did you take any time off between starting the new company? Travelled I think?

CM: Travel is my passion and so I did do some travelling to other countries. I’ve currently been five continents, 27 countries, and so, obviously, it’s something that I get really excited about. I try not take extended time periods off. The great thing about technology today is that you can work from anywhere in the world. And so, even when I was in Thailand, for example, it’s a thirteen-hour time difference, I was still able to keep things going.

BP: That’s awesome. I totally agree with technology. So, out of the 27 countries, do you have a favorite place besides Dallas, Texas?

CM: That is such a hard question. And probably what I get asked most when I talk about travel. I would have to say that Thailand was one of my favorite. I also recently went to Peru and Machu Picchu and that was amazing.

BP: I saw you hiked up to the top of it?

CM: I did. I feel like the more of the world you see the more you learn about the world. The more you learn about yourself. And often, the more you want to see.

BP: So do you speak other languages?

CM: A little bit of Spanish. Enough to get by.

BP: I speak Google Translate.

CM: [Laughter] I love Google Translate. That is so helpful when travelling. I have no idea what I did before.

BP: Do you have some goals, as far as your travel?

CM: I would like to visit every continent, to start with. I think Australia is up next. Beside from that, the list of countries I would like to visit is endless.

  1. Video Marketing and Entrepreneurship

BP: That’s awesome. Let’s talk about your new business. What’s one thing that’s really exciting to you right now?

CM: I’m really excited about a few things. But if I had to pinpoint one I would have to say video marketing. Video has really exploded in both popularity and effectiveness in the past few years. I feel like it’s no longer an “up and coming” marketing tactic. It’s here and it’s such a powerful way to share your grand story. To explain your value proposition. And to build relationships with your customers and prospects.

By 2017, I expect the exponential growth of video to continue. So, I’m really excited to work with companies to break through all of the clutter. And to stay ahead of the competition using video.

BP: That’s awesome. Do you work mainly with companies in Dallas? Or, are you national, or international?

CM: International. I get asked that question a lot, too. Primarily here her in Dallas. Although, I have a few clients that are across the country.

BP: Were you born and raised in Dallas?

CM: I was born in Florida. I grew up in West Texas, a small town, Midland. I’ve been in Dallas for about 16 years now.

BP: Where in Florida?

CM: Winter Park.

BP: Great. What would say is the best business advice that you’ve ever received?

CM: I would say don’t make decisions based on fear. You really have to push through the discomfort and deal with that. It’s impermanent. And I think through that process you learn and you grow. And that’s not to say that you won’t fall. I’ve learned that falling is part of the process. But every time you fall you get back up stronger than before. Contrary to the delusion that so many people buy into, success just doesn’t just happen. People who are successful go through a process. They put in massive amounts of work and creative energy, and they fall over and over before they make it.

BP: So, when you when you were at Hewlett Packard for 13 years

CM: Not the entire time. I worked at a few different companies.

BP: Okay, sorry. In the corporate world prior to starting your new business. Was there anything holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?

CM: There was. I would say readiness. And I finally realized that you’ll never be a 100% ready. And it’s never going to be just the right time. If you want to do it, you just have to do it. I tell people all the time don’t wait until you think you’re ready. Don’t wait until everything’s in place. Because there’s always going to be loose ends and you’ll never be ready, ever. Not in a million years. And you’ll never feel that everything is lined up perfectly. Or, be a 100% certain that when we leap we’ll land on our feet.

If I’d waited for everything to fall into place, I’d still be waiting.

BP: Yeah. I think that’s what a lot of entrepreneurs would say for sure. Don’t wait for the perfect time because it’ll never be perfect.

  1. Recommended Books

Are there any books that you recommend?

CM: There are a few. One of my favorites is ‘Mastery’ by George Leonard. And it’s one that I strongly recommend for both personal and professional development. It’s all about learning to be okay with, and to really embrace the plateaus. Realizing that the ultimate goal is not the peak, but the path itself. And I think having a conscious awareness of the process of mastery has really helped me in every area of life. Did you know society tends to seek quick fixes and instant gratification? And it communicates that learning is linear and instantaneous. And that’s just not reality.

I’m currently reading ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle. And that’s made me more conscious of how thoughts and emotions get in the way of your ability to live in genuine peace and happiness. So, that’s a good one.

And then for companies who are just developing a value proposition, I cannot recommend ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’ highly enough.

BP: ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’? That’s on my list of books to read.

CM: I had a boss, years ago, that gave that to me and it really stuck with me. And I reread it a couple of times.

If I had to add one more I would probably say ‘Blink’ by Malcolm Gladwell. That’s one of those books that really changes how you think about the way you think. And how you make decisions.

BP: So, ‘Mastery’ by George Leonard, ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle, ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’, and then ‘Blink’ by Malcolm Gladwell. Good.

How can our listeners connect with you, Crystal?

CM: I would invite anyone to connect with me on LinkedIn. You can find me by searching for Crystal McFerran. And also on my company website

BP: Awesome. I’ll put the link in the show notes as well. The company’s got all their social media handles on the website as well?

CM: Yes.

BP: Is there anything else that I’m missing?

CM: I don’t think so.

BP: I’m sure there’s a lot more we could talk about. But that concludes our podcast. Thank you, Crystal, so much for being on.

CM: Thank you so much, Brad.

BP: Join us for our next podcast.

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