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June 2nd, 2017

This will be uncomfortable.

My name is Mike Bratton. I’m the Chief Financial Officer at Brokaw. And I’m uncomfortable.

See, I’m a numbers guy—projections, financial statements, collections, payments, proposals, and other administrative tasks are all in my comfort zone (which also includes my La-Z-Boy, a Great Lakes beer, and Bosch on Amazon—hey, I’m not a numbers machine, people).

In short: writing something like this isn’t exactly in my wheelhouse. But I’ve been inspired by the creative thinkers I work with every day to embrace the unknown and try something new. I’ll let Sujan Patel of Forbes Magazine explain why: “a little bit of discomfort goes a long way in terms of personal development…If you don’t get out of your comfort zone, you might find yourself tuning out much of your life on a daily basis. But when you go out of your way to experience new things, or when you let new things happen to you, your body creates brand new neural pathways that fuel your creative spark and enhance your memory.”

comfort zone

Fortunately, I’m not alone in this “comfort zone ditching” exercise. Across the country, millions of students are transitioning from big man on campus to low-man-on-the-totem-pole. We recently helped five high school seniors leave their comfort zones for their Senior Capstone/Experience amongst “professional-type” Brokaw people, where they worked on real-world advertising problems and made presentations. They did a remarkable job in this new and uncomfortable situation.

Or take the “Doughnut Dollies” (BTW, history is also in my comfort zone), a group of World War I Salvation Army volunteers who used doughnuts to boost troop morale and ended up inspiring National Doughnut Day (which, surprise, surprise, is today!).

So, what does all this say about your brand? Well, if your brand feels tired or stuck (like it’s been generating financial statements since what seems like the beginning of time), maybe you should consider what would happen if your brand left its comfort zone.

Take it from the CFO of your favorite Cleveland ad agency: you just might find out you’re the best at writing a weekly e-newsletter, and everyone will be super jealous.

Have a comfortably uncomfortable weekend, everyone!
– Your always-pleasant friends at Brokaw.