A Q&A with company founder and CEO, Grant A. Johnson
In honor of the agency’s 16 Year Anniversary on March 1, we sat down with founder and CEO, Grant A. Johnson, to talk about his inspirations, rebranding, and what the future holds for Responsory.
The agency recently rebranded as Responsory. What prompted this change?
It’s an evolution, really. Marketing has changed dramatically over the past five years, and it has definitely changed since we started Johnson Direct 16 years ago. Our roots are grounded in direct mail, but the amount of digital work we do today – from web development and digital advertising to E-PR, SEO/SEM and Social Media – has exploded. I hope it’s because we get results with measurable marketing. Plus, we have always offered branding, PR, trade show support, traditional advertising like radio, out-of-home, and of course direct mail, for a truly multichannel approach.
How did you decide on the new company name and what’s the meaning behind it?
Responsory is a musical term that means call/response. From a marketing perspective, it implies reaching out and having the recipient take action – engagement that leads to results. It also includes response and sensory. The more senses you evoke in campaigns, the better your chances for success. That, along with our story-selling capabilities, creates a different approach to marketing today, one that we are very well versed in.
Responsory (formerly known as Johnson Direct) was founded in 1999 as a direct marketing agency. What inspired you to start the agency?
I took note of the bad marketing counsel people were getting, which had little or no focus on ROI, and I set out to try and create a results-based agency that put customers first.
What has helped lead to the success of the agency over the past 16 years?
Our success over the years stems from our people and their dedication to achieving measurable results for our clients. It’s our direct marketing heritage and proprietary Direct Branding℠ process – combined with the right technology and relevant content – that helps to set us apart. The proof is in the results we achieve.
Today, the agency has evolved to offer a full range of multichannel services. What are the top capabilities you feel differentiate Responsory in the marketplace and in the eyes of your prospects/clients?
- Accountability: Understanding that today, more than ever, advertising/marketing is ROI-based. When we prove it works, we will win and retain business because it helps to fatten bottom lines of the firms that put their trust in us.
- Data: Big data isn’t new to us. Turning big data into actionable insights is what we do daily. Knowledge-driven creative is also key.
- Testing: Knowing what to test, when to test and how to test across all media options; then discovering how to continually improve upon the results we achieve.
- Customization: We have never taken a cookie-cutter approach to our clients’ needs. EVERY situation is unique, and we customize our strategies and tactics around each set of complex circumstances.
- Talent: Great people make things happen. We have an outstanding team.
How would you describe Responsory’s culture? How does this play out in the office environment?
We are a group of diverse individuals who all share in common one important mantra: Use advertising/marketing to help our client partners succeed. The agency is made up of dedicated professionals who love driving growth by doing marketing differently and having a lot of fun along the way.
Fast forward five years from now. What quantifiable or qualifiable impact do you hope this rebranding initiative will have had on the company’s bottom line, reputation, culture, service offerings, or other aspects?
I truly hope that when clients are searching for an agency that drives business and gets results, we are among the first (and last) they consider. And, our current client partners are proud to say that they work with us.