Last September, we welcomed a new Creative Director to the team, Derek Scott. A Dallas native and Baylor University grad, Derek specializes in direct response creative direction and brand strategy. A dedicated husband and father to three awesome kids, Derek applies his strategic creativity to home renovation projects. He is currently in the middle of what has now become a two-year kitchen remodel. We wanted to share a bit more about his background and why we’re so pleased to have him with us. We thought ‘Who better to tell his story than the man himself?’ So we went ahead and interrogated him…
Can you share where you were before Stripes?
For the last 16 years, I worked for an agency here in town called Dunham+Company. They help nonprofits with their branding, fundraising, and marketing.
When I first came on at Dunham, I was only the fourth employee. And over the course of my time there, we opened an office in Sydney, Australia, and grew the team to almost 100. I started off on the account side and started pitching in on writing copy because they needed the help. It gradually evolved from there until I was the chief creative officer leading our worldwide creative and branding teams by the time I left.
Sixteen years at Dunham+Company — what was that like? Because it started out as such a small shop, that must’ve been a fun evolution.
It was a lot of fun! And I learned a ton. At any company or agency, you go through highs and lows. You kind of have plateau phases. So you have to invest in people, and you have to invest in systems as things grow. In order to scale, you have to do those things. I was able to get a firsthand look at the life cycle of a business and see the way things flow. Clients come and go. There are good times, there are hard times.
In many ways I kind of grew up there — my wife and I had never known anything different, nor my kids. But it was time for a change, and it’s been great for us.
So why did you choose Stripes?
Before finding Stripes, I talked to agencies that were looking for creatives but didn’t really value the direct response side. It would be all about branding. Too often at agencies, the measurable side isn’t part of the conversation. But when I saw Stripes’ creative director job description, “direct response” was in the headline.
I wanted to leverage my experience on both the creative and strategic sides of the business. Working for a fundraising agency, you see everything basically being about direct response. And I saw firsthand how even the most beautiful creative will tank if it’s disconnected from the strategy.
What comes first: the creative or the strategy?
It’s a balance.
The creative is foundational. The brand must know its DNA, what its core product is. The consequence of not having a clear creative vision that resonates through all touchpoints of the brand is that you risk looking schizophrenic.
The strategy is also fundamental. If you don’t know which harbor you’re shooting for, you aren’t going to know how to set your sails. That’s why even the most amazing creative can fail if it’s disconnected from the strategy.
To what degree do you think there needs to be strong collaboration between the media side and the creative side?
You’ve got to have that right mix of art and science.
The principles of marketing, advertising, and direct response are all based on human behavior. So those things don’t change from target audience to target audience. But the creative has to be in lockstep with the media strategy.
What excites you the most about being here at Stripes?
I’m most excited about the Topo Chico. In all seriousness, it’s the potential. I’m excited about the companies we work with. And I really like the people I get to work with every day.
It’s fun to be a part of something that’s growing and is relatively new. And it’s fun that we have a product offering that people want and need to grow their business.