He’s one of the most entertaining speakers in marketing. His creativity, passion, and enthusiasm are contagious. As the best-selling author of Brandscaping: Unleashing The Power of Partnerships, Andrew Davis travels the globe sharing how to tell a better story that emotionally connects with people to drive them to take action. For this episode of The Pivot, Todd Wheatland sat down with Andrew during Content Marketing World to find out more about Andrew, what’s important to him in this next journey of his professional life, and how he makes sure he’s always memorable.
What may surprise you
If you’ve heard Andrew speak, it probably won’t surprise you that he started his career as an entertainer at a young age. He has had some interesting and fun life moments along the way. Here are a few things you may not know about him:
- He is allergic to peanuts and carries three EpiPens® with him at all times.
- He lived in Johannesburg, South Africa, as a young child. His mom enrolled him in acting classes as an outlet for his hyperactivity. This led to acting in television commercials. When the family moved to Houston he continued to do commercials for brands such as McDonald’s, Chevrolet, and Six Flags.
- His entrepreneurial spirit first manifested itself in middle school when he started a magic-and-marionette-show business.
- He realized the value of being unique as a personal brand early on. Starting his freshman year, he wore a tie every day of high school. When he recently attended his reunion, everybody remembered the “tie guy.”
- After graduating from Boston University in television and film production, Andrew worked in local public-affairs programming. This led to producing segments for NBC’s “Today” show.
- He wrote a letter once a month to The Jim Henson Company until he was hired three years later.
- He had the opportunity to write for Charles Kuralt’s “An American Moment.”
While at The Jim Henson Company, Andrew maintained the budget for the show Bear in the Big Blue House. The show was significantly over budget, but the company didn’t seem to care. Executives knew that the merchandising and licensing people would make up the financial shortfall by getting folks to purchase Bear in the Big Blue House-branded bed sheets, clothing, plush toys, and so much more. Andrew realized creating great content that emotionally connects with people inspires them to take action. Creating this type of content became the premise behind Tippingpoint Labs, which he co-founded in 2001. Its first client was Putnam Investments, which remains a client with the agency today. Andrew sold Tippingpoint Labs in 2012 and now travels the world speaking and inspiring others to tell compelling stories that drive action.
A lesson in consistency
Andrew is a big believer in the idea that consistency is key to gaining an audience. When you have something of value to say, you share it consistently – on the same day, at the same time, and in the same content format. Your audience then expects the content, which can provide a big payoff. For Andrew, sending handwritten letters with valuable information for the recipient has provided him with some great opportunities. As noted, his monthly letter to The Jim Henson Company landed him his dream job three years later. Now, he writes weekly to Warren Buffett to share ways to save the newspaper industry. Though he has yet to meet one-on-one with Warren (he did meet him on the set of “Today” in 2013), he has made other beneficial connections and landed some speaking opportunities because he shares the letters on a Tumblr account.
… when I closed the chapter on Tippingpoint Labs, I was trying to figure out what to do next. I was really excited about publishing. I decided that I’d write a letter every week to Warren Buffet, who’s buying up lots of newspapers. I would give him an idea every week on how he could revitalize the newspaper industry since he owns, I think, 63 or 64 newspapers. So, I started that in October. It’s now, September? So, it’s been almost a year that I’ve been writing letters. I haven’t got a meeting with him yet. I know he reads the letters, but we’ll see. Eventually, I’d like to sit down with Warren Buffet or Terry Kroeger, who’s in charge of the media business, to see if we can work together to save the newspaper business.
Listen to Todd’s full interview with Andrew Davis here: