Every once in awhile, we take a little detour from our media planning & buying work to support our client’s initiatives outside of the realm of advertising. Last week we had one of those days. We donned our director caps and drove to Maynard, Massachusetts to coordinate a video shoot for StationSmarts, a long-term client of ours who has built a software platform to address the records management needs of fire departments. To be honest, StationSmarts is a bit of an anomaly, compared to our typical clients. Our relationship has not included paid media campaigns, at least not at present, instead, it requires us to tap into our content generation skills via blog writing, email marketing, as well as the occasional photo and video shoots. We like it because it brings a bit of diversity to our client portfolio.
Our video subject was Maynard Fire Department Chief Anthony “Tony” Stowers, a veteran of the fire service and one of the most interesting and thoughtful men I’ve ever met. In my role as interviewer, I sat just off camera, where I could make eye contact with Tony while making sure he was captured in full frame. We lined up his helmets behind him, and carefully set his 9/11 Memorial print in back. More comfortable fighting a blaze than sitting in front of a camera, Tony mustered up his enthusiasm and willingly succumbed to my list of questions. Most of our conversation centered around Tony’s role as “beta-tester” for StationSmarts’ growing list of software modules. But we did veer into more personal territory with a few questions related to Tony’s career path, his commitment to continuing his education, and his goals for his small but highly-evolved fire department.
As we were setting up for the shoot that morning, I had noticed that Tony had a quote taped onto his computer monitor at his desk. The quote read, “Ego is the Enemy.” I quickly made a note to ask him about the significance of that phrase during our interview. He was eager to explain.
“I read this book by Ryan Holiday not long ago and the quote just stuck with me. The book is all about how good leaders stay focused on higher goals for their organization, and leave their egos behind. You can’t be a good leader when you’re constantly seeking recognition for your own achievements.”
Couldn’t have said it better, Tony.
We followed up the office interview portion of the video with a tour of the bay where Maynard’s firetrucks and other apparatus are housed. The chief informed us that his department is hoping to secure funding for a new firehouse in the next fiscal cycle. As we were walking around, Tony gave us a hopeful glimpse into the new station’s list of amenities. It was clear that the current infrastructure was no longer adequate for keeping his crew or their equipment safe.
Once we had gathered enough video footage, we did one more lap around the station to capture a few still photos. Recognizing we’d taken up enough of Tony’s time, we took our leave.
Days like this might not happen all that often, but we are certainly grateful when they do.