Our leadership team at Stealth often shares thoughts, ideas, encouragement and more with our entire team as a way to keep us focused on ways we can always do our best for our clients. This is one such missive from our Executive Creative Director Dan O’Saben. We thought it worthwhile to share with you, as marketers and business leaders, as not only a reminder that we’re always striving to do better for you – and be the difference – but also as something to keep this in mind as you develop your marketing campaigns and encourage your staff. (Client details genericized to protect the innocent. )

"Am I making a difference?"

I was talking to Pat Nagel (one of our video editors) today about one of his client projects, and we were discussing how much of an impact we can have if we keep moving them toward better work and smarter thinking.

And I think the gist of our conversation should be shared with everyone: Are we making a difference on behalf of our clients? That’s really an important question we should be asking when we think about the work we are creating for them every day.

Another way to express this question is: Am I making the work better? Is it becoming more than it was a month ago, six months ago or a year ago?

Small Changes Matter

And don’t always discount small changes. They can add up to big, cumulative things.

Here’s an example of a client we work with, where lots of little changes have added up to a big difference within a single year:

Digital Marketing

  • One year ago: No focus
  • Today: Significant focus, which has led to more site traffic, more social traffic and more sales – both online and in-store

Creative/Campaign Approach

  • One year ago:
    • Baby Boomer spokesperson appealed to an increasingly aging demographic
    • Product-only images/video didn’t provide a lot of context
    • No consistent digital presence
  • Today:
    • Younger, more relevant brand advocates who resonate with the younger Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z target audiences
    • Modern product images in relatable situations and settings designed to appeal to the target audience
    • A combination of consistent social media and digital advertising engaging with consumers in the environments they frequent


  • One year ago:
    • Decreasing sales
    • Non-engaged audience on social
    • Low website visits
  • Today:
    • Stabilizing and growing store sales
    • More engaged and loyal social media audiences
    • Increased website visits and online sales

No matter which way the winds blow, no one can take away the fact that we have grown that client. And that growth was built on all of the decisions made along the way. 

We have made a difference.

The work is better.

Is there room for improvement?

Well, of course there is! But that brings me back to my point: Are we continuing to look for ways to make the work better? Even if the client says “no” nine out of 10 times, are we continuing to look for ways to push them to be better? Are we continuing to look for ways to push ourselves both individually and as a group to be better?

Here’s another related question: Am I getting better? Am I growing?

I would contend that if you are making a difference and making the work better, then you as an individual – we as a company – are growing.

We as a company are getting better.

What is the opposite of making a difference, of making the work and ourselves better?

Stagnation. Followed by decay.

The Bottom Line

You all make a difference in our client businesses, every single one of you.

BUT – we have to continue to push to be better at what we do, and to be that difference for our clients.

This is not always easy, but keep pushing.

Sometimes the victories will be small, almost imperceptible. Sometimes they will feel like giant seismic shifts.

But we have to continue to grow.

Challenge yourself to get better.

Challenge the people around you to be better.

Be the difference.

Want to talk about how we can be the difference for your marketing efforts? Drop us a line, and let’s start the conversation.

And as always, stay tuned for more tips from Stealth Creative next time we go Off the Radar.

Garett-PatStealth has always encouraged ongoing learning – in any form – for our staff members. And two members of our Joplin, MO, office take this to heart with their participation in Leadership Joplin, a program to identify, cultivate and motivate future community leaders.

Pat Nagel, Videographer, was part of the 2015 class, has served on the Steering Committee since 2016, and co-chair of this year’s program, while Garett Jeffries, Managing Director, is a member of the 2019 class.

“It’s a great way to get to know Joplin and how the city works,” said Garett. “The program helps you get in touch with other business leaders to understand what’s going on in the community and how we can help give back.”

“It goes beyond networking to really give you great awareness of the community and the resources available,” said Pat. “You gain a better understanding of what’s here – and the ways you can better help and get involved.”

The Program’s Purpose

Leadership Joplin is in its 36th year with more than 925 graduates. This informative and thought-provoking program of 12 sessions introduces an average of 30 participants per program year to the community and exposes them to its challenges. The program provides a strategic curriculum to enhance participants’ leadership skills, and creates a dialogue for discussion on relevant topics and assessment of case studies, ultimately supporting the Chamber’s strategic initiatives and goals.

“During my time as a participant, Leadership Joplin helped me better understand my community and the ways I can fit in and give back to the business community at large,” said Pat. “The most insightful aspect of the program was taking the Color Code personality test. It not only helped me better understand myself, but also taught me how to assess my coworkers’, peers’ and clients’ color codes to better understand how to work and interact with them.”

In fact, Pat was getting so much out of the program that halfway through it, he expressed interest to the coordinator about serving on the steering committee. When an opening became available shortly thereafter, they offered the spot to Pat.

“Having lived in this area my whole life and working in TV news, I’d had exposure to this, but the program offers an even better understanding of how things work,” said Pat. “It exposes you to all of these other professionals in the Joplin area, and I thoroughly enjoy helping to see them grow in the program just like I did.”

Garett recounted similar insights regarding his time so far in the 2019 program. “It’s helped me understand the professional makeup of the Joplin area, including people and businesses in healthcare, media, HR fulfillment, architecture, engineering and more. I now understand which businesses are growing and what the industry will look like moving forward,” he said. “I’ve also taken time for a lot of self-reflection with the Color Code personality exercise. It’s really helped me understand my motives and drives in a way I didn’t realize before. I’m a Blue, focused on intimacy, service and connections, which is why I often react with such emotion when speaking with people. Now I know why and can view things more objectively.”

The Leadership Experience

governor_postThe program meets every two weeks for a day-long session, and members are also asked to attend other community-related functions, such as First Friday Coffees, business networking events the Chamber hosts at a different local business each month, Business After Hours, a more causal networking event, Good Morning Joplin a quarterly, more formal meeting with a speaker, or any board meeting for a city program.

In addition to the standard class experience, the group also takes longer excursions. For example, Garett and Pat recently had the chance to take a trip to Jefferson City, MO, to visit the Jefferson City Correctional Center, a maximum-security prison, where they toured the license-plate facility, which is where all of the license plates in Missouri are made. They also toured the furniture, sewing and uniform divisions. They spoke to people imprisoned for murder, rape and other such crimes, who now help mentor other prisoners to help them channel their anger into positive activities and to become better people.

Following the prison visit, the crew shared dinner with their state legislators. The following day they toured the capitol building and Supreme Court, and sat in on house and senate sessions, and even met with the governor himself, who posted about the encounter on Facebook.

Another event included Law-Enforcement Day, where the class met with the Sheriff’s Department, Joplin Fire Department, SWAT, FBI and the K9 unit.

“We were able to see one of their dogs in action, seeking out drugs, as well as climb inside the fire truck, witness the throwing of a flash bang, and gain a better understanding of the most common drug problems in the area, how to recognize people using drugs and how law enforcement plans their raids,” said Garett. “While children often have the benefit of a fire-truck tour and discussion with law enforcement during grade school, it’s definitely a truly unique experience as an adult.”

The Program

Both Pat and Garett see immense value in the program, and how it demonstrates and showcases the true sense of community in Joplin.

“When you’ve never lived in a town that is so community-centric, it’s hard to understand that until you see it in action,” said Garett. “Leadership Joplin provides access to understanding the overall purpose or end goal for our community, which is truly empowering.”

Learn more about Leadership Joplin or Leadership St. Louis | FOCUS, or check with your local Chamber of Commerce to see if they have a similar program for your emerging leaders.

As always stay tuned until the next time we go Off the Radar.

As the sun set on 2018, 2019 quickly brought us an exciting opportunity! Stealth acquired a new client in Joplin, MO – Freeman Health System. We are so excited to welcome Freeman Health as a Stealth client; they are a wonderful hospital that has been operating since 1925, with a health network that extends into outlying areas.


The last of the figgy pudding is long gone, and the smoke from the last fireworks has cleared. You know what that means.

It’s time to start the new year! (Yay!)

And that means a whole set of brand-new challenges for your marketing team to tackle! (Smaller yay.)

The beginning of a new year can seem like a daunting time for your business – whether B2B or B2C. What worked last year may not work this year, and for many B2C companies, your performance during the holiday season can drastically alter the way you plan for the coming months.

But what you do in the short term has a crucial impact on that end-of-year internal audit. That’s why we, here at Stealth, are offering you five tips to start off this year’s marketing on the right foot.

1. Touch Base with Your Clients

You think things were crazy during the end-of-year push? Wait ’til you see how your clients fared.

No seriously. Go check on them. Right now.

Just as your marketing needs may have shifted from 2018 to 2019, your clients may also have different needs. It’s a good idea to strike up a conversation to understand what may have shifted – and how your business can best help.

The last thing you want to do is to offer your clients solutions to problems they no longer have. How embarrassing! That’s soooooooo last year.

Your clients will also appreciate the fact you were thinking of them during this hectic time.

Success is literally an email or phone call away. But don’t wait too long!

2. Touch Base With Your Competition 

No, we don’t mean invite them over for tea to discuss trade secrets.

It’s always a good idea to keep your eye on the horizon in case something shifts in your industry that impacts your business. This is especially true as the new year rolls out.

Make sure you give your rivals a good once-over before finalizing your plans for the year. Seeing how they “right the ship” – or hit choppy waters – can contain important lessons for your business as well.

This is doubly so if they do a complete about-face. If your competitors are completely changing up the way they’ve done things for a while, it may be time to assess what’s going on that caused the turnabout, and react accordingly.

For example, if you’re active on social media, you may want to pay attention to the way Facebook disregarded the notion of privacy. Facebook’s recent news debacle involving the way it handed out private information like candy to big-name companies is a perfect example of how not to woo your customer base.

Failing to read the current surrounding rival businesses is a sure way to be left adrift in a changing market.

Don’t get stranded in last year!

3. Touch Base With You

So you’ve figured out what your clients’ needs are, and you’ve figured out what your competitors’ needs are. There’s just one thing missing – your needs!

Now is a great time to pour through all that analytical data you’ve been saving from this year. Put on a pot of coffee, dust off your digital marketing binders (virtual or otherwise) and get settled in for a final marketing review.

Make note of everything you struggled with this year. Did you have trouble getting clicks on certain types of content? Was your traffic count low? Was engagement low on social media? Take a moment to reflect on why that might have been the case. Then determine what you can do differently in 2019 to shore up those weaknesses.

Equally important is looking at what went right. If you created a piece of content that did really well, or you had a dynamite strategy for SEO, how’d you do it? Will it still work for 2019? If so, incorporate it in your strategy for the new year; if not, tweak it a bit to build on the success you saw in 2018.

If something works, don’t be afraid to stick with it.

This next part is important. So if nothing else, pay attention to these next few sentences.

Make goals for the coming year using the strengths and weaknesses you found. What would you like to do better? What do you want to keep doing? Where do you want your business to go?

These goals will help guide the next step of the new-year marketing process…

4. Make a Plan

Yes. It’s finally time to embark on that most crucial of marketing endeavors: Reviewing or formulating your marketing plan for 2019.

Using everything you’ve learned from the previous steps, create a plan of attack – or adjust the one you had. Make sure to include baseline goals, stretch goals and how you plan to achieve them.

Figure out what you’re doing, when you’re going to do it – and who’s going to be in charge of making it happen.

Most importantly: Stick to your plan. If your calendar says ‘go rock climbing to get a grip on the market,’ you better grab your ropes and pitons, and rock out. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Your marketing plan is your company’s most important document for 2019. Plan everything to support your business needs, and do everything according to your plan.

5. Improve Your Connections

Communication is the true currency of business. It’s not what you know. It’s not even who you know. It’s all about who knows you – and respects and values you. And being accessible to your clients and business associates is crucial.

You might think you’re doing it just fine — but when it comes to communication — whether you’re a mom-and-pop shop or Amazon, there’s always room for improvement.

The new year is a perfect time to assess how you’re keeping in touch with everyone you depend on to keep your business moving forward.

Have you been sending out enough emails – and to the right audience? Are you following up on leads as fast as you can? Are you reaching out to your connections on a consistent basis?

The answer is probably ‘not really.’

We know, we know. The year gets into full swing, and sending follow-up emails to potential clients gets pushed to the back of your mind as you find yourself buried under a pile of new projects.

But communication should always be a priority. As we’ve described in a previous post, acquisitions require you to keep your consumer touch points in mind, and strong communication is the best way to do it.

Internal communication isn’t exempt from scrutiny either.

As your employees prepare to embark on another year-long journey with your company, now is the time to open lines of communication to brainstorm new ideas and receive feedback.

Consider offering ways employees can give you feedback. Surveys might seem passé, but they are an efficient way of gathering data about employee attitudes within a business – providing they’re truly confidential and anonymous. Success starts from within with a strong team who works well together.

Make sure your team is starting strong.

Whether you need help combing through your analytics, formulating your marketing plan, or improving your communication channels, Stealth has your back.

Start preparing for the new year now; drop us a line today!

And as always, stay tuned for more great marketing tips and tricks from Stealth next time we go Off the Radar.

Dear Santa,

I’ve decided to ask for something a little different this year. In some ways it may be easier to carry. But it many other ways, it will be harder, and may require a lot of your Christmas magic.

As usual, I ask for a lot, but whatever you can spare will be more than we could ever imagine!

Santa, I wish you could put magic in everyone’s heart.

I want them all to believe for as long as it lasts…believe in you and the hope you offer. Put it in their hearts to spread the magic to one other.

The Seven Cs of Christmas

What I want this Christmas is not a train set or the finest new doll. I want the seven Cs of Christmas for one and for all! 

  1. Contentedness. Be happy. We all are so caught up in what we want; let us be content with what we have, and be grateful for all that is around us.
  2. Connectedness. Help us remember we are all connected – no matter how different we may be! Help us to look at others with love and kindness in all that we do!
  3. Cheer. Look for the good things that happen during the next few weeks, and help us all remember the magic of Christmas might be behind the good cheer!
  4. Courage. Help us to help others! Help us have the courage to find at least one person (or maybe 10) on whom to focus our own Christmas magic; so they, too, can believe!
  5. Charitable. Help us to be generous in some way beyond what we normally do! Generous of our time, our resources or our money!
  6. Cheerfulness. Help us smile a little more! Help us find little ways to cheer up someone’s day – perhaps a child who would otherwise never see magic or an elderly person who’s lost a little of theirs.
  7. Compassion. Give us the compassion to reach out and hug someone who needs a hug or needs a shoulder!

Santa, my sincere wish is that you would share a little Christmas charm in every conversation we have between now and January 1 – that we may show respect for others, and focus on our common ground. I wish this Christmas season we could order up some peace on earth and good will to all – regardless of our differences.

My promise to you is that from now until January 1, I will shut off the news! I will go on a vacation from politics, while still wishing for positivity in our government and offer a sincere wish for better solutions to our problems for all of the good of all mankind.

Santa, I wish everyone would watch those old Christmas favorites: It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol or even A Christmas Story. And Santa, I wish everyone would sing at least once this Christmas season! Put on their hearts those songs that make them feel like they are eight years old again!

Now Santa, all this will take a dose of creativity.

Of all the Christmas Cs above, ‘courage’ is the biggest. Because it will take that courage to spread happiness and kindness and love and generosity! We need to know that with a sprinkling of North Pole Magic…miracles happen. Help us spot them! 

Thank you, Santa! And, Merry Christmas to one and all.

“You can choose courage, or you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose both.”


I spent 26 years in an extremely linear world. What is a linear world, you ask? Oh my, the places I will take you! Financial places, engineering places, hospital places, insurance places.

Linear places.

In these linear places, I was coached – yes, coached – on how to think and communicate linearly. Thinking back on that now, it seems so crazy to me. It’s like shutting down one of my basic senses.

People who think linearly may say things like:

• That’s the way we’ve always done it.
• Don’t ask me why; just do it!

Nowadays, more people are being coached about how to think in a non-linear fashion. Want to go non-linear for awhile? Follow around a two-year old for a day!

Defining linear thinking

Linear thinking put things in order as experienced and then expresses thoughts the same way. This type of thinking proceeds in a sequential manner, like a straight line. After all, a straight line between two points is the most efficient way to get from one place to another, right?

The challenge with that is that life – and work – doesn’t follow a straight line.

Working in linear places made me realize how different creative people and marketing people can be, and both sides know it right away. Getting quickly to the issue: It’s why manufacturers find it hard to market their products. The two types of thinkers find it hard to communicate because they view things completely differently and think very differently. They speak different ‘thinking’ languages.

Non-linear thinking is much more fun

Ok, my bias, granted, but here’s how non-linear thinking is defined:

Human thought characterized by expansion in multiple directions, rather than in one direction. Non-linear thinking is based on the concept that there are multiple starting points from which one can apply logic to a problem.

For example, here’s how to approach a problem thinking non-linearly:

1. Define the problem as many ways as you can! How can you think about the problem differently? How would an engineer look at the problem? How would a mother look at the problem?

2. Think of all the ways you could tackle the problem. Think of it from as many perspectives as possible.

3. Read articles you find about your problem.

4. Talk about it with others over coffee. This allows you to network and hear others’ viewpoints, which may spark something you hadn’t thought about yet, while building relationships.

5. Ask questions. Research who else is talking about this problem? What are they thinking?

6. Start to link and make connections between all the diverse information you are accumulating.

Non-linear thinking extends to many different areas as well. How many books do you read at once? How many ideas can you come up with before settling on one concrete concept?

Creativity lives in a non-linear world

I don’t like the sameness, the predictability. I LOVE to mix it up! How can we break out of the linear? How can we throw people out of their comfort zones?

I believe this makes people explore new thoughts, new ideas, maybe invent something that has never been done before! Most linears I’ve met begin to see how this can be beneficial – and maybe even fun – even if it is outside of their comfort zones.

It’s important to embrace the differences between the two types of thinkers. Linear people like order and process, and for roles that need that (think accounting and project managers), this is a critical skill set.

Conversely, if you want to invent something new, try something new or sell something new, we non-linears are the ones to bring to the party. Sometimes we might be difficult to follow, but we will take your business to new heights.

The key is being open to the other’s way of thinking, appreciate the differences and find the common ground so we can speak the same language. Let’s explore this together to see what we can accomplish.

Now, go forth, and be creative.

Skateboarding, believe it or not, is one of my favorite pastimes. I’m known as the Tony Hawk of the office. In fact, when I’m not working, you can find me outside Stealth Creative gliding through the city streets on my board, the wind flowing through my hair, the adrenaline rushing through my bloodstream. Yes, I am that cool.