Marketing and brand management today seems fun and glitz, glamour, and glory. But, you have to be willing to put the work in.
GritDaily spoke with Chad Brittian, CEO of NVS Design, on how he stays relevant in the marketing and brand space. NVS Design is a full-service advertising agency that is spreading through Beverly Hills with three locations–Indiana, California, and Illinois.
But what we came to understand is that marketing and branding is more than the glitz and the glamour of working with high-level individuals.
Meet Chad Brittian, the CEO of NVS Design
For Brittian, becoming an entrepreneur was out of necessity.
“At the time, there were not a lot of opportunities where I lived in my industry of choice,” he told us.
“Relocating was not really a viable option because of family at the time, so I decided rather than be upset about why I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do, I would take my future into my own hands and build my own destiny.”
The Challenges of Being An Entrepreneur
GD: What were some of the challenges you faced when making the transition?
CB: I knew that it would be extremely challenging, and considering I was doing this right when the recession was in full force, many thought it to be foolish. I, however, was able to hold two other jobs while starting the agency, working 7 days a week.
To this day, our company has been able to grow into three large markets, all with revenue built from our clientele. Not an easy task by any means, and something I am very proud of.
As with any growing business, there are many challenges one faces and at times I wondered if I was making the right decisions to have staying power.
GD: Marketing isn’t tough, but surviving in the space is. Why do you think that is?
CB: Marketing and advertising are luxury services that, yes, all businesses need to survive, but are also seen as the first to be cut out of budgets when times get rough. Showing the necessity of our value is a constant challenge we face even today.
As you make mistakes, you learn and adapt to your clientele. There are days I want to pull my hair out…and literally have a few times, but I will say there are far more rewarding days than bad. Being able to focus on the true reason I started the agency in the first place is what keep the energy alive. Knowing the work we create can potentially influence a buying decision because of a message no matter the medium, still gets me up in the morning.
GD: For most companies, expansion and scaling can be a major issue. How did you scale NVS to different market sectors like you did from Indianapolis to Chicago and Beverly Hills?
CB: Growing the business correctly and efficiently was always a top priority. I never set out to be in multiple markets necessarily, I just wanted to get my vision out to the public so they could make a decision as to what they liked. I knew the talent was there; I just needed the vehicle to make it happen.
Expanding to L.A. after starting in Indianapolis was a big jump. This is a completely different market that we already had a remote presence in that was prosperous. By no means did I ever think we would end up in Beverly Hills. Most recently expanding to Chicago was again another opportunity from where we had received positive feedback, and knowing the amount of opportunity this amazing, vibrant city brings and so close to our beginnings it was an easy decision.
We are very much still in our infancy stage, but I am truly looking forward to seeing where this market takes us in the next five to seven years. Every day we are continuing to grow and are nowhere near where I know we can be. As an agency, we consider ourselves a true partner with our clients. We have a lot to live up to with our name and we want to ensure that we deliver that level of service no matter what that takes.
Coming from humble beginnings, I was always taught that your word should mean something, and that is something I try and live by and teach to my amazing team every day.
GD: Running a business is a daily grind and it definitely takes grit. How do you define “grit” and how do you continue to stay motivated?
CB: ‘Grit‘ is knowing when to take charge and stick to it, even though you just want to give-up. I have found that reflecting and stepping away from certain situations, and gaining perspective, always pays off. I am passionate about my business and the work we do no matter the scope, and I want to ensure it is done to our best ability, which often comes with its own set of challenges.
Everything can’t always be perfect, and you can’t control every situation. Learning from each mistake and truly practicing what you preach, is the key to long-term success. I have a great support system that builds me up when I am down. I also have an amazing team that cares about the well-being of our clients and the success of our agency.
As long as I don’t let myself lose sight of this, most days are pretty great. No one has it easy, and not everyone is going to like you no matter what. Someone’s perception of you or your business is not necessarily the truth in life. It’s all in how you deal with the challenges that come your way so then you can truly be happy with the end result.
GD: Many entrepreneurs struggle with time-management, specifically when it comes to the “work-life” balance. How do you ensure you’re balancing work and personal affairs?
CB: Balancing anything in life can be difficult. There are weeks I lose track of what day it is because of so much going on. I try not to let myself get too lost in the day-to-day tasks and focus on the big picture. Success has many different meanings.
You can’t get back missed events, birthdays, and time, with loved ones. If you spend your whole life working then one day wake up and say I wish I had done blank, then what kind of life did you really lead? I want to be proud of the legacy I leave behind, but I also don’t want to have any regrets. At the end of the day, I try to prioritize the things that are near and dear to me, and the rest usually seems to fall into place.
We often put work before a lot of other valuable things such as time with loved ones or time to just take a break, because we were pressured into thinking that were obligated to work. We all have a breaking point, and in the end if we don’t take care of ourselves and the people in our lives that make us happy, then ultimately our career begins to take a dive and is effected negatively, regardless.
For example, cars are a hobby of mine, and one that anyone who knows me would agree with. I am just starting on my collection, but I was finally able to find and restore a car that was dream-car of mine since the age of six. This past summer, I purchased a 1957 Chevy Belair and have it about 90% to where I want it. I was able to take it to a large car show with my family this past fall, and it was one of the best weekends I have had in a long time. Seeing the smiles on my family member’s faces when that engine roared, meant more to me than anything else in the world, and was truly as dream come true. I can’t wait to share many more memories in that car for years to come.
Looking Past the Glitz and Glamour
GD: You’ve managed marketing and advertising campaigns for major brands and talent, including Addidas, Grey Goose, Discovery Channel, Down Syndrome Indiana, and more. What tips do you have for other marketers looking to work with high-level brands?
CB: No matter who the client is, or the size of the scope of work, treat every client the same. If you go in with dignity, and deliver a product that you can truly be proud of and you know you did to the best of your ability, it generally pays off in the end.
Getting caught up in the name recognition can be a demise. Yes, it is great from a portfolio and sales perspective, but if you lose sight as to the true reason why that client gave you the opportunity in the first place, then you are further behind then when you signed them as a client.
In this business, it is very easy to get lost in all the glitz and glamour, so staying true to the basic fundamentals of what got you to even being noticed by these larger brands, is what is most important.
GD: What campaigns are you currently focused on?
CB: Right now, we are working on a large campaign for Purdue University, specifically for the International Wine Festival, which will feature wines from all over the world. We are fortunate enough to be building a new website with custom database management for their team.
We also just completed helping the marketing behind Kompass Drinkware, with brand ambassador JJ Keras from Good Morning America and The Today Show, with their very own line.
Anyone interested in seeing some of our marketing work for this client can check out the website we built by visiting www.chooseyourdirection.com.
Another exciting project that we are working on is The Great Race with Route 66 Museum and Hagerty Automotive Insurance out of Riverside California to take place this June.
“There will be days you want to give-up. You will have days where you feel as though no-one is by your side, or understands what you are going through. You will doubt if you can do it or if you have ever been good enough. The main thing is to never get out of touch with why you started; with what made you hungry in the first place. Keep this in focus no matter what good or bad comes your way, and grow from each experience to not only better yourself, but to better the ones around you.”