Jamey recently had the pleasure of being a guest on the award-winning Brand Builders podcast, presented by the folks at the Dunstan Group. Jamey was joined by cohosts Brian Young and Scott Dunstan, and covered a number of topics on the subject of brand—its impact on company and consumer culture—and shared some experiences of his 3 decades as principal at BOLTGROUP, designing products, building brands, and creating experiences that people love.
Listen along here!
Intro: You’re listening to the Brand Builders podcast with your host Scott Dunstan and Brian Young.
Brian Young: Welcome to another episode of the award-winning Brand Builders podcast, powered by the Dunstan Group. My name is Brian Young and we are here with the president of the Dunstan group, Scott Dunstan. We’re here with Jamey Boiter from the BOLTGROUP, or BOLT for short. Now, we talk to a lot of businesses here on the Brand Builders podcast and we love it. This next one is like going out to play—almost like going out on the playground as a kid.
Brian Young: Jamey from BOLT is a specialist in building brands. Who’s better not to have on the Brand Builders podcast than somebody that builds brands. What I mean by building brands, BOLT works with clients from Lowe’s, Ryobi, Chick-fil-A, Coca-Cola, Speedo. Massive, global brands. We’re so excited to talk shop, learn a little bit more about what the BOLTGROUP does specifically—how do they support those brands, how do they help those brands, and really just learn how did this organization start, what are they doing now, and what are they going to do in the future? Thank you, Jamey, so much for joining on us the Brand Builders podcast.
Jamey Boiter: Thank you, Brian. Thank you, Scott. Appreciate it.
Scott Dunstan: Thank you, Jamey. Great intro, Brian. Man, you mentioned some pretty well-known names that you’ve had the pleasure of working for. How’d you get in this line of work in the first place?
Jamey Boiter: Well, me personally it was stumbling around a little bit. When I first got to college, it was what do you want to do? I’d been creative when I was a kid and so I thought, okay, architecture’s the direction. I took an introduction to a graphic design course while I was in the school of architecture and fell in love with it. Fell in love with the idea of being able to communicate visually and verbally. Really got enthralled in that. Felt like a direction for me. My instructor was a mentor, and he told me I needed to go to design school. I was like, “No, no. I can figure it out. We can do this whole thing.” He said, “I’m going to make this easy for you. I’m retiring and you need to get to design school.” I transferred out from Clemson and ended up at East Carolina, and I got my BFA there.
Scott Dunstan: Oh, there we go.
Brian Young: So we got two pirates here.
Scott Dunstan: Yes, sir.
Brian Young: Well, I’ll just leave the room while you two talk about this.
Jamey Boiter: Yeah, I always say I bleed orange, but I’ve got a heart like a pirate.
Scott Dunstan: There we go. Purple and gold, baby. Anyway, sorry to interrupt.
Jamey Boiter: No, that’s okay. That’s okay.
Scott Dunstan: Love it when another pirate’s in the room.
Jamey Boiter: We’re actually working with ECU right now—their entrepreneur challenge that they do with their students. I’m working with the guys at the Miller School of Entrepreneurship, and we’re helping the students go through that competition.
Scott Dunstan: Very cool.
Jamey Boiter: Making sure they’re teed up. Making sure their idea, their concept is ready for presentation from a brand perspective, as well as understanding the product, and how to communicate that.
Scott Dunstan: That is awesome. Heck yeah.
Brian Young: I thought you guys were going to continue to talk about ECU, so I was just over here.
Scott Dunstan: We can, we can, but we’re here to talk about Jamey and BOLT.
Brian Young: For sure. I got the opportunity to meet Jamey, and I got to go check out the BOLTGROUP and what an amazing group of people that you guys have been able to really bring together from engineers, not only electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, industrial engineers, all the way into the graphic side of things, the sales side of things, the video. You guys literally have everybody that’s there. You even have a 3D shop where you’re printing products. When I talk about building brands, this isn’t someone who’s jumping in trying to do a little bit of marketing here or there. You literally help develop these brands. One that we talked about, which was really neat, was the entire Kobalt line at Lowe’s.
The story that you had, which I want you to share real quick, about how you got to go and talk to a late night talk show host who loved tools. That’s the thing that I think a lot of people would be interested about. How does somebody really help an entire big, huge organization develop an internal line of tools from start to finish. Tell us a little bit about that, not only the story, but also how did you get into Lowe’s, and what was that like?
Jamey Boiter: Oh, sure. It’s been a while now. The Kobalt brand is probably about 22 years old now. Multi-billion dollar brand. Originally, Dale Pond, who was the CMO at Lowe’s, we were working with Lowe’s on some other projects and some other programs, and he came to us with a hypothesis of how he felt they could see high grade mechanics’ tools at retail. So, they put us to the test—what we needed to do to find out. So, we spent about nine months doing some pretty extensive qualitative / quantitative research to really understand the market, first of all, and what the receptivity of something like this might be. We talked to professional mechanics who we knew from the start would never buy their products, because they buy them from the truck—mortgage their house to buy them from the truck.
We also talked to professional non-mechanics, HVAC guys. We talked to shade-tree mechanics, those weekend warriors, to really understand. What we were trying to get from the professional mechanics is what does a pro type tool need to be? What does it need to express emotively and otherwise. From there we came back and it’s like, yeah, we got a direction. We can do this. We feel we can do this with the right positioning, with the right name, with the right everything. From there we went into a full development program. Created the name Kobalt. Tested that in the marketplace. Created the identity for it. All of the pack-out. Created all of the packaging for which we’ve got a few patents on the original packaging that we did. Rolled it out nationwide. We actually worked to create the visual design language for the products, the original set of products. Worked with the product manufacturer to get that out to market.
Got it out in the marketplace. Had a pretty good shot right at the beginning and then started to wane a little bit. The merchants started putting it on everything. Bob Gfeller, who had just come into Lowe’s, had recently left Coca-Cola, who we had worked with for about four years there. Bob called us up and said, “I need you guys to come in and take a look. I think we’re about to mess this brand up.” We took a look at it and helped them make sure got it back in its lane, from a communications standpoint, a packaging standpoint. Really from a product line extension. What’s the logical, believable thing that you can do? What are you going to put it on next? Where does that product go?
You have to have permission. You have to have permission from the brand. You have to have permission from the consumer of where a brand can go. So, based on that, he got us back involved and we did some more work, and that’s when we started helping them expand that out. We got into motorsports, we got into writing some articles for car enthusiast magazines. We actually did a direct mail program, and that’s how we got to what we’re talking about. We sent out a direct mail program all across the country and got a huge response. Come and talk to us. We want to see these tools. That kind of thing. We ended up in LA, where EMAP / Peterson is a large publisher for a lot of the hot rod magazines, that sort of thing.
Met those guys, put tools out on the table. They all just loved it. We’re going to write about this. Can you send us a storage toolbox? That kind of thing. We were the first guys to do a blue toolbox, too. While we were there, we had a tool kit, toolbox we were just going to drop off in Burbank at The Tonight Show, because we knew Jay Leno was a real toolie, a real fanatic. He was a mechanic. That kind of thing. We called his keeper. She said, “Can I get back to you?” It was like, “Yeah.” A few minutes later we got a phone call back and she said, “Jay would like for you all to come to the show tonight if you can.” I was like, “Sure.” “Do you have plans?” “Uh, no.” So, there we went.
Showed up. Sat in a special section with his other guests kind of thing. Did the show. After the show, went up onstage. Met Jay. He looked at the tools. He said, “These are really great.” He takes and bangs a wrench on the desk and holds it up to his ear like a tuning fork. He goes, “This is a really great tool.” There was a confirmation right there. To have the opportunity to play that part. That’s normally not something that I would do. That would be something that a brand manager would be doing. In launching the brand out, at that period in time, Lowe’s asked us to stand in and do that. From that perspective, the brand took off, and it was on its way at that point.
Brian Young: Wow. What a cool story, man. Thank you for sharing that.
Jamey Boiter: Yeah, we’ve got a picture in the office of me with Jay Leno.
Brian Young: That’s the pinnacle for sure. His car collection is unreal.
Jamey Boiter: It’s unbelievable.
Brian Young: Did you get to see that?
Jamey Boiter: No, it was a one and done kind of thing. He gets all kinds of credit all the time for having cars featured in movies and stuff like that from his collections.
Brian Young: So, are you still involved with the brand?
Jamey Boiter: No, not directly. Typically, the way we do it, whether it’s on product design or service design or brand design, is we’ll go in with a client on a program; we’ll work through that program. Sometimes it’s a corporate identity program or something like that. We’ll work through, it might be 18 months, it might be two years. Eventually, we work ourselves out of a job. I mean that’s really what we’re supposed to do. We do the framework. We take them through, help build the brand, reposition it, create it for the very first time if we need to, help them develop their product line if that’s what we’re doing, or help them create a new service, or adjust a service. To make it better, make it function better. Make it more receptive from a consumer perspective or an employee perspective. Then at that point we hand it over. Back out. Very often what will happen is we’ll get asked to come back in, or there’ll be the next thing that we come back in.
Phillips-Van Heusen is a good example. PVH in New York. We’ve worked with them off and on since the mid ’90s. Speedo is one of their brands, Van Heusen, Izod. At one point we were agency of record with them. Then it was really the realization we need to not be that. We needed to work ourselves out of that. You guys need to staff up. You need to create that marketing department and we’ll be on call. We’ll stand by. If you need us we can come in. We know your brands. We know your consumer. We can work from that perspective.
Scott Dunstan: What’s your most fun and most well liked project that you’ve been involved with? Would it be Kobalt? Or is that not fair to answer because you don’t want to be biased. I understand.
Jamey Boiter: Well, they’re like your kids, you know?
Brian Young: They all have their favorite parts, right?
Jamey Boiter: They’re all like your children. Each one is a favorite one for a different particular reason. Kobalt was a lot of fun I would say. We’ve done some work with smaller clients. Start-ups that have been a whole lot of fun just in helping bring that to life. Breathe life into something that didn’t exist before. Our favorite projects are those where we’re working all the way through from a design standpoint. Where product innovation is happening. We’re helping them develop their product line. We’re helping them understand what their brand needs to be. Then we’re helping them find the attributes, the pillars, the compelling truths of that brand in order to get them to market.
Then at that point we step away. We get to marketing and PR and advertising and that area, that’s water’s edge for us. We’ve been asked to do some of that from time to time anyhow; we’ll bring in partners. We’ll bring in folks that can align with us, and then extend that out and start to work on that. We’re about the design innovation experience piece and creating the thing.
Brian Young: People out there now in this day and age, it’s all about company culture, right? Your company culture really creates or helps create a brand or elevate a brand or ruin a brand. Tell us a little bit about the culture at BOLT, but also how close do you dissect a company’s culture before you work with them? Ultimately, are there some opportunities that you have and you say, “This isn’t a good fit for both teams.”
Jamey Boiter: Yes, to all of those. First, from BOLTGROUP’s perspective we’re real family-oriented. We’ve been together…Monty Montague who is one of my partners and one of the founders of BOLTGROUP, Monty’s been there since almost the very first day. Ed Holme, who’s also one of my partners and in charge of business development, Ed’s been there the least of the three of us and he’s been there 26 years. So there’s this family component I think that’s built in. So, from a culture standpoint that’s really what we look for. Anytime we bring talent in (Monty and I are pretty good at seeing talent), you understand if somebody can do their job in five minutes. What we really look for is how do they think? Where have they been? What have they experienced in their young lives? What traveling have they done? Where have they gone? What risks have they taken in terms of what they’re doing? That kind of thing.
What we’ve really found almost to a person is that the folks that we have are the ones that have that similar DNA of where they want to go and what they want to do. They come in as professionals. Every one of them. They know how to do their job, for the most part. Some are really young and we take them through a process. It’s really how do they think? How do we take them to the next level? How are they going to engage with our clients? How are they going to create that relationship? At the end of the day, creative is one thing, but relationships are another. To be in Charlotte, next year will be 35 years, it requires relationships.
From that perspective, that’s our foundational knowledge of culture. How we use that then with our clients is really that same thing. We really go from the brand. We consider the brand intrinsic to existence. We start there. We start with purpose with a company. We define that purpose in a holistic manner. We work with them to understand the pillars of their brand, help define those pillars. What we call pillars, a lot of them call it compelling truths or values. Then the positioning. Building the story around that. We create what we call this foundation, which is a direction that is going to help motivate and understand simultaneously what that internal culture is.
When we think about a brand, we think about it holistically. We think about the product. We think about the service. We think about all the pieces of it. It has to start inside, and it’s a reflection of that culture. How we get to that is really important. We call it our brand ecosystem. We talk about it when we’re working on employee experience, we talk about with our clients that the employee experience has to be just as important as the customer experience. You hear a lot about customer experience now, customer journey. We do the same thing for an employer brand. It’s how does that portray itself internally? What’s the mutual respect? What’s the understanding that goes on? How is that then portrayed through your brand as a reflection of that behavior, which affects culture in a positive way?
When you get to outfacing communications with your multiple constituents outside your customers, your consumers, your competition, how that becomes an intelligent conversation as opposed to spinning up some marketing. From that perspective it’s an inside-out game for us, how we try to create that. Then it’s a reflection of that culture. It requires a lot of leadership at the top in order for that to happen. It requires everyone inside the organization owning the brand. It can’t just be owned by the marketing department or the sales department. It’s got to be anointed in the C-suite, but then it has to be owned by every single employee that’s there. Most employees don’t understand their direct contribution to the brand and the value of the brand. What we try to do is help them understand that. That the job they’re doing, whether it’s answering the phone, or whether it’s legal counsel and how they’re talking to someone across the table, it’s reflective on that brand.
Brian Young: So, I have a quick question. A lot of companies as they get bigger, you need to diversify the people that you have in your organization, right? Whether it’s an engineer or someone that’s in the creative space from a graphics side or somebody that’s more on the sales aspect. Whatever it is. What would be your best advice for a company that’s growing, and how do you find people that have that similar culture that all want to own that brand? I think that’s the biggest challenge, specifically in the job market that we have. It seems it would be very difficult to have an engineer on one side of the table, and this outgoing extroverted sales guy on this side of the table, but yet we’re all the same culture. We’re all pushing the same brand and we’re all owning that. What would be your advice to an organization, or what have you guys done from that perspective?
Jamey Boiter: Get them together. Get them in the same room. Don’t let them separate. The company started primarily as an industrial design firm and product development firm. Very early on, Monty was even seeing that you can create a world class product, but if it’s not surrounded by a brand that has meaning and value, it’s got a lifecycle that’s going to be shorter than it should be. Conversely, if you’ve got an energetic, disruptive brand, but the product that you’ve got is crap, that thing, it’s not going to last forever. You’re going to sell one of something to everybody. You’re not going to sell two to them because they’re going to know what they got.
From very early on, integration was paramount for us. We would go to meetings, and it’d be a product design launch or something like that. We’re talking to engineers and product developers and product managers and stuff like that. We’re around the table talking about, okay, where are we going to go, developing the design criteria to create this visual brand language. Where are your marketing guys? We need to talk. Which one of you is marketing? It’s like, “Well, they’re not here.” “Well, where are they?” “They’re in another building. We don’t talk to them.” Conversely, you’re trying to push a brand out into the ethos and into the ether and-
Scott Dunstan: They’re not even doing it internally.
Jamey Boiter: They’re not even doing it internally. So for us, it really is a partnership. It does require everybody. We believe that a product and brand are two sides of the same coin. The service, whether it’s a product, or whether it’s a service, depending on the organization—it’s so important that these are linked together. That’s the reason we’ve been practicing a design-driven thinking and implementation process since before design thinking was thought to be ..IDEO, they cornered the market on that in terms of marketing and understanding. It’s really something that we’ve all done from school of the way we think and how we think. What’s the connective tissue, and what do we have to go through? How do we gain insights? How do we develop empathy? How do we then define, and how do we go through and prototype, and tear it down and re-prototype it, and get it to a place where it’s an actual solution that meets the common denominator for the marketplace? Or, it’s specifically is targeted for one thing, and it operates that way. Without that you’re going to end up with something that’s probably short-lived and not much value.
Brian Young: There’s a marketing, what I would call a marketing genius out there, called Blair Primis who works for Ortho Carolina. He talked about this on the podcast and had multiple conversations with me. It’s fascinating that an organization that big has taken that approach. They now have HR and marketing combined. As we try to market our business externally, we’re also marketing our business internally. Their whole message is if we can create a better Charlotte, and that’s marketing and teaming up with great organizations, whether it’s a 5k, whether it’s a cancer organization, whatever it is. Then we get our internal folks to be excited and energetic about that as well. Everybody wins.
It’s interesting that you say that because I think that’s a big challenge for a lot of people. It’s interesting coming into 2020 how we’re going to get everybody around that table. This goes into the next question, but you’ve lived in the era where there was no internet, right? You’re marketing brands like you said, snail mail, to now social media and the internet, and that world is huge? How has that changed or pivoted maybe your approach to business? What role does social media play when you are starting to develop these brands or help them develop these brands, both internally and externally?
Jamey Boiter: Sure. Digital’s become ubiquitous in our life. Really, what we’re seeing now is the next step where it’s the bridging between the digital and the physical. That’s happening every day in all sorts of organizations. That’s the reason that you have CIOs in places that you didn’t use to. Or CTOs in organizations you didn’t use to. It’s the reason that you may have a CMO who may not have a formal marketing background, who may be coming from somewhere else. Take IBM, for example. Great company. A few years ago they made a big transition in their positioning. Very much like, I guess, what the guys over at Ortho are trying to do. They have a design principal in every department of their company. They have a design principal in HR. They have real life problems. They have real life issues in a company the size of IBM. 401Ks, onboarding, getting people into the organization. How do I sign up for my insurance every year? You guys know. I know. We run a small company.
That’s a bear. That’s really tough to handle. They looked at it from a design perspective and said, okay, how can we alleviate the pain and consternation on our employees to make it a more pleasant experience? What’s the outcome of that? What could you imagine the outcome might be? Oh, we got happier employees. We got more efficient employees, more productive employees. Well, think about that for a minute. From that perspective as everything’s changing from a social media perspective and how that communicates, it’s a big part of everything we do. We’ll develop a social media strategy as we’re going through in the early days of a process. It’s part of that rollout strategy. How are we going to socialize what it is that we’re doing? What’s the best way for us to do it? Understanding exactly who our constituents are, or our clients’ constituents. In today’s marketplace, it’s not one consumer. It’s not made for one consumer. One size doesn’t fit all anymore. You have to be really specific in terms of what you’re understanding and how you’re communicating. Your message is going to be different really depending on who that audience is. That’s where creating these compelling truths or these pillars is really important in the early stages. Those can be weighted differently depending on who you’re communicating with. At the end of the day it all has to ladder back up to this position and this purpose of why you exist. Being able to communicate all of that with truth and transparency and authenticity, which is paramount. Then being able to do it simply and with clarity. Those are table stakes today. You have to be able to do that in order to be successful in the marketplace.
The convergence is continuing to happen. Even in our industry. What is design going to be like in 2025? Meredith Davis at NC State has done some terrific, unbelievably good work with AIGA in unpacking that from their perspective. IDSA, which is another one of our memberships—we’re all working to really try to understand what the future of design is going to be as it relates to the digital, the physical, all of the manifestation that can happen from brand to product to service. How can we be of the greatest support to our constituents, to our client base? It’s constantly moving.
Brian Young: When you talk about the compelling truths or pillars like you call it, I almost feel like you’re a counselor to the brands. You’re coming in and you’re helping them really understand who they are. I personally believe in the world of social media now and just the race, it’s that rat race, they’re not trying to necessarily be unique or be authentic or really believe who they are from a brand. They’re just trying to be like oh, I got to get a lot of likes and Instagram’s now taking that off tomorrow, which I’m actually a huge fan of. The reality of it is, I think if people stayed in their lane, like you said with the brand, stayed true to who they are, more people will realize who that business is. How authentic they are and appreciate them and attract the type of customer.
When you walk into a conversation, we say this all the time, I’ll have a conversation, say, “Why do you want to put your logo on that product?” “Oh, I need something to give away.” I’m like, “Terrible answer.” We have to create an experience. We have to create a sense of emotion that ties that in. What’s the objective of why we’re doing this? I’m curious, how many people do you walk in and they have no idea what their compelling truths are? What their pillars are? How hard is that to establish for a business to get everybody on board and not only outline what they are, but actually implement it, and actually see the results down the road?
Jamey Boiter: More than you would think. Less than it used to be. We’re still working. We call all the work that we do, there’s a portion of what we do, is stewardship. Helping to steward the brand. Then coaching. There’s a lot of coaching that goes on. We’ll come into an organization who it’s an M & A situation. They’ve just acquired another company and it’s time for them to do an upfit. In a situation like that very often you’ve got multiple things at play there. You’ve got number one, the cultural issue of two entities coming together. What’s that going to look like, feel like at the end of the day? Then you’ve got, well, what do we need to do in the marketplace to let everybody know what we’ve just done, and how does that reflect? Does it reflect in the identity? Do we need to update? What are all those kinds of things?
Again, it’s one of those things we’ll go back to the beginning and say, “Okay, let’s see your foundational work. Do you have a vision statement?” Well, they might have a vision statement. They might have a mission statement. Then we try to get in and really try to understand what do those mean. Do you have a purpose statement? Why do you exist? Then from there that’s when we start to really understand and try to ferret it out. What’s important? What are those values? What are those core values that we then turn into these pillars? That are going to be ubiquitous in every touchpoint going forward. It’s the thing that you have to rely on when you go back to your brand. No brand can exist an entire lifetime without having a hiccup, without having a trouble.
If you’ve built your brand on this solid foundation, with these pillars, and it’s authentic and truthful and transparent, you can typically wade through a mishap. Something that happens. If you’ve built a house of glass, be careful. Any mistake that you make could be your last. It could be critical. You may not be able to recover from something like that. We really stress, no matter where you are in the lifecycle of your company, getting to that place is paramount because that’s what will help maintain the trajectory. Once the legacy of the business has started to wane, very often legacy companies, founder companies, they get into this upsurge, this trajectory. They’re going and going and going. They don’t realize what are the things that are propelling them. One of the things that’s propelling them is good will. Good will is their brand and how that’s portrayed and how that works.
They begin to get out of the business and you start to see that fall off. Then they say, “Well, how do we get to the next level? Let’s operationalize ourselves to the next level. Let’s buy more stuff. Let’s do more things.” What they’re forgetting and what’s happening is they’re losing their perspective of the brand. They’re losing the perspective of the culture. Without that, it doesn’t matter. You can operationalize yourself to death. Now you’ll just be a thing. You’ll be a commodity out there.
Brian Young: That is fascinating. What a great answer.
Scott Dunstan: Trying to absorb all of this at once. I’m going to listen to this a couple times and continue to take notes. It’s fascinating. You talk a lot about brands. I’m curious how would you describe your own personal brand? What is the brand of Jamey Boiter?
Jamey Boiter: Oh, shoot. I don’t know. I love laughter. Family. A good dog.
Scott Dunstan: Amen to that. We’re fast friends. And you’re a pirate.
Jamey Boiter: Like I said, I bleed orange, but I got a heart like a pirate. Old Land Rover kind of thing. I’m incredibly curious, and I think curiosity has been one of the driving forces behind what we’ve done and where we’ve been. It’s one of the things that we really look for when we’re looking to expand our team; we’re looking for those same people who are intellectually and otherwise curious. Culturally curious. Intellectually curious. Curious about the next thing. That’s what we need to depend on in order to move forward. In order to move what we do as a community, as a culture, and as a business. We have to be in the moment and we have to consider what’s next and not be afraid of what’s next. Embrace it and be a part of it. Even change it if it’s not right. Those are the things that I think we have fun doing.
Brian Young: So you’ve been in the business a long time. How many times has BOLTGROUP looked in the mirror and said, “Maybe we’ve gotten away from our pillars. Maybe we’ve gotten away from who we want to be.”? Honestly, you are working with organizations to get them to that point. I’d love to know, not necessarily specific stories of the challenges, obviously being in a business for 35 years, you’re only as good as your worst employee, right? Tell us about some of the challenges internally. I’d love to see what the future is for the BOLTGROUP.
Jamey Boiter: Cobblers’ children’s’ shoes. You’re constantly working on other people’s stuff, and you forget to work on your own. It happens. We’ll drift. We’ve never gotten out of sorts. That’s one of the things that we really stress when we’re helping other clients. Your business goals are constantly going to change. They’re going to move up and down. Most often it has nothing to do with you. It’s the market dynamic. It’s something that’s happening. Your business goals need to be adjusted all the time. If you don’t have a brand strategy that is agile enough to move with it, you’re going to lose that trajectory. You’re going to lose that alignment. When you start to lose that alignment, that’s when the culture starts to fall off. That’s when you start to lose some of the edge that you want to have. It happens with all of us. Just taking a look in the mirror every now and then, and making sure you’re in the right space.
We’re doing that right now; we’re literally going through that right now. We’ll be updating our website in the next few months. Again, it’s to tighten that down as we evolve, and as markets demand that you go this way or you go that way, you have to address that because of your ongoing concern. Your business. You’re in it to be profitable so you’re going to do certain things. Every now and then you have to look at one another, grab hands, and Kumbaya, and say, “You know what? This is who we really are. We got to get back to this, and let’s get back there quick and with purpose while we’re doing what we’re doing.” We’ve never gone off the rail or fallen off the edge. We’ve had pretty consistent messaging, pretty consistent appreciation for one another as we’ve gone through the years. We’ve disagreed on some things from time to time. I think that’s probably what makes for a good relationship is being able to hash it out.
Scott Dunstan: Good family. Good family right there. Hey, the ones that love you the most are the ones that tell you the truth, right? If you lie to my face you don’t love me.
Jamey Boiter: In terms of the future, where we’re going, I unpacked that a minute ago. As we look at our staff from research and strategy on the front end all the way through engineering and implementation on the backend, design, ubiquitously throughout the where it is, that’s what’s happening. We’re finding our designers are maturing into strategists and researchers, and leaning more into the engineering, whether it’s hardware or software. Engineers are the same way. Engineers have a great affinity for design and are moving back closer to the center with us. They’re also developing relationships with manufacturers and those types of things to get product to market.
One of our recent engineer hires came from GM. We’re appreciative of that continuity. He was a design engineer. He spent most of his time with a bunch of industrial designers as opposed to with mechanical engineers. You can tell by the way we’re all together. That’s the thing, we put everybody in the same mush pit. We’ve got engineers sitting next to graphic designers sitting next to writers sitting next to art directors, which we think creates that culture. Where there is this appreciation and understanding of what the other guy’s doing. Shared ownership in the purpose.
Scott Dunstan: Love that.
Brian Young: You might have answered my last question but I just want to know and you can keep this short if you want. What would be your advice for somebody that’s going to start a business now? I think there’s more opportunity than ever with social media. More opportunity for young people to maybe take a risk. Know that your life isn’t just 40 hours a week. You have to do this because you have to do this. What would be your advice for somebody that’s jumping into the market now and what would get them to be successful?
Jamey Boiter: It’s pretty much the same advice I give my kids. Do what you love. If you don’t love it, don’t do it. You’ve got to have a certain passion for what it is that you’re doing. Because that’s going to get you through the valleys. It’s going to keep you levelheaded in the crests. It’s loving what you do. Having an idea of why you’re doing it. Start with that purpose. Really try to think about, why am I going to do this and what is this going to mean? It will start to solve itself if you look at it from that perspective. That’s the advice we give the young entrepreneurs out at ECU that have these unbelievably great ideas that they’re coming up with. That they’re thinking out of the box constantly. It’s like, all right, keep that passion. Now, let’s put it into a process. Let’s put the passion into a process so that you can begin to create a plan that will take you forward. Then you can look back.
A lot of entrepreneurs have been incredibly lucky. They’ve done something one time, it’s blown up on them, and gone to the moon. They go, well, this was great. I think I’ll do it again. They had no process. The second time it didn’t work. The third time it didn’t work. They wonder why. It’s because they forgot to marry the passion with the process as they go through it. Maintain that curiosity.
Brian Young: I love it. What is the best way for people that are listening, all of our listeners to get in contact with you. To follow this story if they are interested in working with the BOLTGROUP, or maybe even getting on the waiting list. I don’t know what it’s like to get in there these days. What’s the best way to follow the BOLT story?
Jamey Boiter: Well, we are accepting clients. Qualified clients, that is. No, come see us. We’re boltgroup.com. B-O-L-T-G-R-O-U-P dot com. You can get in touch with me. I’m not afraid. It’s Jamey. J-A-M-E-Y at boltgroup.com. We’re here. We’ve been here, like I said, in August, it’ll be 35 years, which we’re hoping to do something a little special about that. Our clients have been national and international in scale, and over the 35 years, unfortunately, most of them have not been in the Charlotte area. In the last couple of years, Monty and Ed and I have made a conscientious effort that it’s time for us to rebuild this beachhead here because there’s so much positive happening here in the Charlotte region.
There’s so many good things happening. We want to help that. We want to be an asset to this region. When a Honeywell comes into the marketplace and they go, “I’m going to need a design firm.” Well, here we are. We’re the IDEO of the South. We’re right here. They’re thinking about something else. Coming into the marketplace from an innovation standpoint. We’re in the hub of innovation, in South End. We were there when it was a scary place to be. Now, it’s not scary anymore. We’ve got lots of neighbors. So, yeah, come see us.
Brian Young: I love it. Jamey, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. I’ve enjoyed all the conversations. I enjoyed the tour that you gave me. Everything that you said about the business is true. The employees that you have seem amazing. The companies that you work with are blessed to work with you. I think it’s an awesome story that a lot of people can take to heart and realize, like you said, if you have something that you’re passionate about and you have something that you have a purpose aligned with that, you can really do anything that you want. Who knows, you might get to work with a company like Coca-Cola. You know what I mean. You guys, if you are listening to the podcast please like and comment and share this. Again, thank you Jamey so much for joining us on the Brand Builders podcast. Check out boltgroup.com, and until next time we appreciate everybody that listens and again, thank you Jamey so much for joining us.
Scott Dunstan: Brian, Scott, thanks man.
Brian Young: Thank you, Jamey.
Scott Dunstan: It’s a pleasure.
Outro: You’ve been listening to the Brand Builders podcast. Brought to you by the Dunstan Group, with your hosts Scott Dunstan and Brian Young. For branded merchandise and apparel that makes first impressions and ones that last, check out the Dunstan Group at dunstangroup.com.