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50 Innovative Companies to Watch 2019

An Interview with Dana Pulis, Kinetic Marketing and Creative (KMC) Owner and Principal: “We Are A Consultative Agency with Deep Creative Chops”

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“Our clients have been an interesting driving force in amazing ways.”

From developing brand personality, compelling copywriting, creative exploration to several other
mission-critical strategic and creative services, Kinetic Marketing and Creative (KMC) is an agile boutique agency who specializes in working with companies who are in the process of organizational transformation.

KMC creates living, breathing brands that take a client through one stage of growth into another. It also produces award-winning videos, blueprint marketing plans and executes photography campaigns that have won several Addys. The company is a full-service website development agency with certified User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) strategists, and almost all clients begin their work with Kinetic by going through a Harvard Business School-inspired primary research method.

KMC was incorporated in 2007 and is headquartered in Billings, Montana.

Dana Pulis, Kinetic Marketing and Creative Owner/Principal, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Why was the company set up? And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?

I began transitioning my writing career from magazine writing to writing for companies. Early on, I was sought out by the CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies to ghostwrite for them. And as I worked with the heads of these companies, often the CEO would ask me to work with the internal marketing teams as a writer for the company’s marketing needs. I quickly caught on to the different styles that marketing writing requires and the different formats within content development, and soon all of my writing was under the banner of company communications and marketing, and I left the magazine world behind to form Kinetic Marketing and Creative. The year was 2007 (as mentioned above), and Kinetic was started with an emphasis on brand messaging and content development, even before the word “brand” became a commonly-understood term.

Almost immediately, we became successful for the ability to articulate a brand’s story and quickly the team filled out with graphic designers, another writer, and strategy development people. Within the first six months of opening, Kinetic employed five people. The company created all types of traditional media marketing and creative, as digital had not yet fully taken off; however, within two years, we added a digital marketing specialist and web developers, and we became a full-service agency. Today, almost all of our work is done in-house with a few outside relationships to fulfil work needs.

How successful was your first project roll on? Share the experience.

Our first project was the one that literally launched the company. KOA (Kampgrounds of America) was a client who I ghostwrote for their CEO. I knew I wanted to start a company and hire two people but wasn’t sure when the time was right. And I definitely knew that I didn’t have the projects or money to sustain myself, let alone employees. Then one day the marketing department at KOA called and wanted to discuss a project. It ended up being a whopping $30,000 project, and with that one single project, I knew I could start my company and hire two people. Never mind that I only had one project . . . in my mind it was enough to get the company started. I convinced my potential employees that we had great things coming and that this project was the first of many to come and basically said: “Trust me.” To their credit, they did and both quit good-paying jobs to come work for me. And then I hustled to get another project, but I knew we were off and running, and to me, that’s all that mattered. We did get more projects, the company always had money and work coming in, and those two employees were with Kinetic for a very long time. From the beginning, Kinetic became a “yes” company. Have you done this? Can you do this? The answer is 98 percent of the time, “yes”, and we go figure it out.

What kind of responses have you received from your consumers over the years? How have they motivated you to shape your offerings/grow the company?

Our clients have been an interesting driving force in amazing ways. We are an all-in partnership company that participates in annual goal setting and planning, that hold ourselves accountable at the same level as the other business departments within our clients’ organizations, and we are always measuring our work and adjusting to meet our goals. In many ways, we operate more like a strategic consultancy firm than a creative agency. I’ve often said: “Any agency can put together creative work but not many can be effective or be accountable to the money that the client has spent.” We flat out don’t believe in the old axiom in the agency world that says we can never really know what is working in marketing. We have enough ability now to get a good sense, if not a direct path, to what is working and what isn’t. We just have the guts to put it out there and be accountable to it.

How do you stay relevant to the consumer interests and needs in this highly volatile market?

First of all, I don’t think the market is volatile. I think it is a market that demands companies to be more thoughtful and more purposeful about their business, to adjust regularly, and to get real with themselves. Lazy companies, boring companies, companies that aren’t honest with themselves and companies that are willing to sell and buy their own crappy stories are volatile. The market is fine—you’re the problem. In fact, I think the market is amazingly full of great opportunities and has never been better. So if you’re a company that wants to stay relevant than be relevant and be relentless on being better every day. People want living companies, not average companies. Status quo just doesn’t cut it anymore. Consumers are way too smart and they have all kinds of options for you and your business.

What are the factors that make your brand most innovative and why?

I will put our brand development team any day up against any agency because we are masters of figuring out what is truly a compelling, relevant, and transformative brand. We’ve developed a process that involves this outside-in primary research, trend research, and subject matter expert research, and combine it with the DNA of the company. We connect the dots, add some intuition and brainstorming, and then marry all of these with great creativity—heavy emphasis on the messaging and the personality of the business. What comes out of this is a brand that people notice because it is a) authentic, b) relevant to them because we first asked them what matters, and c) is positioned in the future so that the company is ahead of the competition. This process doesn’t fail and produces a brand that is remarkable. This is really Kinetic’s strong suit and what we are known for.

Where do you see your company a couple of years from now?

I see us continuing to get better clients—ones that have challenges and want serious solutions. We are a transformational agency and specialize in companies that are undergoing change. That could be companies with mergers and acquisitions or companies with new divisions or legacy companies that need a makeover and get relevant. Regardless of the situation, if you choose us to partner with you, then prepare to get a little uncomfortable in the process because we are moving forward. If you’re up to it, we will help take your company to new heights.

Dana Pulis: A Formidable Leader

Dana Pulis is the Founder of Kinetic Marketing and Creative and the sole owner and principal. She began her career as a writer for newspapers and magazines from the time she was 16 and wrote for about 20 years before beginning the company. She has been featured in several books about successful writers and cited in many magazine articles for her successes. During high school and college, she won multiple national awards in writing and was offered a full-ride scholarship and an editor position of the university paper.

“We are an all-in partnership company that participates in annual goal setting and planning, that hold ourselves accountable at the same level as the other business departments within our clients’ organizations, and we are always measuring our work and adjusting to meet our goals.”