As founder and principal of Catch 24, Bill Goodspeed understands how best to bring a brand’s message to its target audience and how to use media -- from billboards to tweets -- to generate buzz and awareness. Bill’s original Comp Art studio, founded in the late 80's, grew into a digital and design powerhouse, thanks to his work with a long list of top-notch clients including Pepsi, New Line Cinema, American Express, Seagrams, Oracle, and Directv. He has also overseen work for the World Champion New York Yankees since 1996, and has helped Lufthansa German Airlines increase flights from the US to India by 20% per year for three years running. When he manages to escape work, Bill enjoys golf, rock concerts, golf, watching the Yankees, golf, barbecuing, and playing a little golf.
How did you get into the industry?
It was a fairly natural progression for me. I was artistic when I was younger and ended up at Pratt Institute to study illustration. When I got out, I couldn’t land that dream job and decided to do mechanical production for a small ad agency. This was pre-computer mind you. I put in a few years and then moved over to the account side of things. They gave me $20 more a week! Back then, that was like making six figures. But seriously, I had the creativity and now the management knowhow. So I did what any 24 year old would do with that … I started my own business.
Any emerging industry trends?
Personalization is going to go deeper and deeper, to an almost comical level. With what we can do with data analytics these days, we know more about how people consume things more than ever before. You know the 5 “W”s they taught you in middle school? We can get all of that from a single mouse click now. It might seem scary, on par with something the NSA might be doing, but if you take the information and use it in a thoughtful way, you can bring back a level of customer service not seen in decades. It’s all about their experience with your brand. People like to be noticed. People like tech. If their coffee maker knows their name and knows what coffee they like and can order it for them … well isn’t that awesome?
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
We have to do things in real-time now. Everyone is mobile, everyone is digital, everyone is on the go. You can’t wait until the end of the day to meet the demands of your client or customers. You have to do it when they want it done. Now! Do they have a complaint? Fix it on the spot. Need to change something for them right this very second? Thanks to where technology is, we can do that. But you have to adopt the tech first. Don’t sleep on tech trends. If you can’t run your entire business from your phone, you’re in trouble.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the business?
Easy. My bosses were my inspiration. If they could do it, I felt like I could do it too. So after some time spent meeting with clients, handling accounts, and winning new business … I said why not just do this for myself. My vision back in 1983 is light-years away from what it is now, just like how the industry is different. But one thing hasn’t changed: I want to make great work and be recognized for it.
What’s next for the business in the near future?
Soar! I’m not happy sitting still. There is always something new and cool to look at, interact with, make better, and get the most out of. That’s the way it works here. We like to be greedy. It’s like, great, this is what we have right now … but what can we have by tomorrow? Who can we inspire next? Let’s go sweep Cannes. Like the preacher in the pulpit, what we say matters and we all want to be heard. We’re going for it and won’t stop until everyone is looking at us. Isn’t that the point?
Your key initiatives for the success of the business?
There’s no room for shyness in this industry. You might not think it, but it really is dog eat dog. So we wear jeans, big deal. There are billions of dollars out there for grabs. The timid won’t get a red cent. You have to think like an athlete, maybe a boxer. You need a strategy, a never say die attitude, and moxie. Moxie will get you places.
Your most difficult moment at the business? And what did you learn?
9/11. The world changed. The city changed. The business changed. I had to reinvent myself, and the business. I never took anything for granted from that day on.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
I think our clients appreciate how much we listen. Sure, we have our own ideas and might think a client should do this or that … but that’s the thing, all of that has to do with the creativity that’s swimming around in our heads. So when a client wants a certain thing, we use that creativity and give them what they want. That way they’re happy and we’re happy. In the end, they want what they want, and we give it to them in a way where we know that the work is great.
How do you motivate others?
I have a cattle prod my grandfather game me. Only kidding! It’s all about respect. I’ve been in their shoes and know how they feel. My team is hungry. I know they want to excel and change the world. If I piss on their parade, that’s not helping anyone. I treat them as an equal and they return the respect knowing that I’m in charge of the show. They understand I’ve been there and know what works and what doesn’t. I understand they want to make great work. It’s not about pleasing me, per se. It’s about doing what they love and furthering their career. It’s like I’m a proud parent. It’s not, look what I did for you, Bill … it’s look what I did, Bill. Yes, I have to be stern at times, push them to work harder, tell them something isn’t good enough, etc. But the mutual respect is what makes it work. We’re all on the same boat. You rock the boat, it sinks. You treat them as first mate, they kick ass.
Career advice to those in your industry?
Be great. Everyone has it in them. Don’t be afraid to find it, experiment with it, and then run with it. The only thing keeping you from being great is yourself. If you want it, go get it. It’s right there waiting for you. Don’t be timid. At the same time, you have to have fun. You’re doing what you love. Enjoy it and keep smiling. If you’re not having fun, maybe you’re in the wrong place. If that’s the case, get out now. You only live once. Make the most out of what you’re given.