LEADING QUESTIONS: Ad exec boils down rules for success

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Leading Questions

Welcome to the latest installment of “Leading Questions: Wisdom from the Corner Office,” in which IBJ sits down with central Indiana’s top bosses to talk about the habits that lead to success.

Indianapolis native Bruce Bryant, 58, leapt into the advertising game and a role as solo entrepreneur in 1983 by founding his own firm, Promotus Advertising. Although its footprint in the local ad community has remained relatively modest, Promotus has landed major accolades and big-name clients, including the Hoosier Lottery, Indiana Pacers and NCAA. The Indiana Federation of Advertising Agencies named Bryant its “Ad Person of the Year” in 1998-1999 and 2002-2003.

Bryant has carved out an identity for Promotus as a scrappy, urban firm that specializes in sports, events, and public-health marketing. For example, in 2010 it landed a $1.6 million account with the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency.

“We’ve been effective in cause marketing—any issue that is involved with people taking action because of their beliefs and attitudes, be it stopping smoking, going to the doctor, or reducing calories in the case of obesity,” Bryant said.

“If you’re looking for an agency that can bring some guerrilla marketing; to push the envelope creatively; someone who can leverage your dollars because you might not be the biggest marketer in your category; we’re hard to beat,” he said.

One challenge of running lean and keeping staff in the single digits (Promotus currently has seven employees) is maintaining an effective internal support structure. Bryant serves as president and creative director, and struggles with shifting gears between the left- and right-brained functions.

“I’m a poor manager,” he said. “I’m pretty much in the creative frame of mind most of the time, and that frame of mind doesn’t work well with management tasks. It’s a very hard marriage.”

In the video at top, Bryant discusses the challenge of providing employees with the support they need, as well as a potential solution for better defining his roles. He also recounts his early days in the industry and the value of finding mentors to guide him. Some of the most valuable advice: Be honest, communicate with the client, work hard, and don’t worry about the things you can’t change.

Over nearly three decades at the helm of his own firm, Bryant also has regularly studied biblical scripture to find principles that can guide his business. In the video below, he isolates two tenets related to sowing seed and trusting a higher power. In addition, he runs through three rules he has established for himself to maintain a strong business.

“You have to say what you mean and mean what you say. You have to be knowledgeable and know your craft. And third, you gotta spend less than you make,” he said.

“Most people probably spend at least all that they make, if not more than they make. And when they do that, especially in business, the pressure is tremendous. You’re going to be pressured to make some deals that probably violate rule number one—integrity.”



Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
thisissue1-092914.jpg 092914

Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Here are a few candidates for this new group, "ripped from the headlines." First up, that bizzaro State Senator Brent Waltz; secondly, the unethical Todd Huston, and his contractual arrangements scheme; Finally, but not least of all, the dishonorable Eric Turner. What sayeth you Greg Zoeller?

  2. Good day. I can't hide this great testimony that take place in my life I will love everyone to know it and be partaker that is why I always place it on answer, I am Mrs,Natalie Cuttaia by name, I live in Texas, United State Of America, I want to thank (Mr.Bruce Brandon) for his kindness upon my family life. I never knew that there is still nice lender like this on internet and earth here. Just some Months Back, I was in search for a loan of $100,000,00 as I was running out of money for feeding and rent. I was scammed $6,800 Dollars and I decided not to involve my self in such business again but a Friend of my introduced me to a loan firm due to my appearance and doings. And I told him that I am not interested of any loan deal anymore but he told me that there is still a nice lender who he will recommend me to, and I made a trial and I am most grateful lucky am I today, I was given a loan amount of $100,000.00usd, by this great Company (Bruce Brandon Loan Company) managed by (Mr.Bruce Brandon) If you are in need of a genuine or legit loan or financial assistance and you can be reliable and trusted of capable of paying back at the due time of the funds I will advice you to, contact him via: ( bruce.brandon071@gmail.com ) And you will be free from scams in the internet. All thanks to Mr.Bruce Brandon You are the one who remove me and my family out of poverty. The reason why i am doing this is that, i promise Mr.Bruce Brandon that if i truly got my loan, i will advertize his company and bring customers to his company. Contact him via ( bruce.brandon071@gmail.com )for the Loan you have been looking for..

  3. Hello, We are firm Organization formed to help people in needs of helps,such as financial help. So if you are going through financial difficulty or you are in any financial mess,and you need funds to start up your own business,or you need loan to settle your debt or pay off your bills,start a nice business, or you are finding it hard to obtain capital loan from local banks,contact us today via email mrsroseberrywilkinsfunds.usa@gmail.com So do not let these opportunity pass you by because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever more. Please these is for serious minded and God fearing People. Your Name: Loan Amount: Loan Duration: Valid Cell Phone Number: Thanks for your understanding to your contact as we Await Regards Management Email:mrsroseberrywilkinsfunds.usa@gmail.com

  4. The question is, where could they build a new stadium? It seems in the past year, all the prime spots have been spoken for with potential projects. Maybe in the industrial wasteland area a block past Lucas Oil? I think it needs to be close to the core, if a new stadium is built.

  5. Aldi is generally a great shopping experience. Still, I'm sure YOU wouldn't want to shop there, which I consider a positive.