When I sat down to interview Coronado’s own Jacques Spitzer for an article published in March of 2016, his business, then known as Raindrop Marketing, was already thriving. Life was indeed good for Spitzer and his team, affectionately referred to as “Raindroppers” by both himself and their clients. With a staff of fifteen, the cozy-yet-hip office space in Little Italy, San Diego was, at the time, the perfect place for Spitzer, Founder and Chief Creative Officer, and the Raindroppers to work their magic.
Fast forward to May of 2018, where the company, now officially known as Raindrop Branding & Advertising, has nearly doubled its staff as it continues serving clients in the areas of video production, print collateral, website design, and branding. With close to thirty Raindroppers now employed, Spitzer and his business partner, Adam Wagner, decided to move their company to a larger space that can accommodate their growing crew. Staying in the heart of Little Italy, Raindrop Branding & Advertising now has made a new home for itself at 2311 Kettner Boulevard. On Thursday, May 24th, 2018, Raindrop hosted an “Office Warming, Book Launching, Taco Eating Extravaganza” from 5-7 pm, inviting friends, family, and their clients, who’ve become both.
Prior to the event, I had the opportunity to once again sit down with Spitzer, where we not only discussed the new office space and what’s changed/remained the same with Raindrop, but also hear all about his new book! As if practically doubling the size of his agency wasn’t already impressive enough, Spitzer, in his “spare” time, authored a new book entitled People Love Turkey Sandwiches.
Last time we spoke, you were still in the process of transitioning to Raindrop Branding & Advertising as opposed to Raindrop Marketing. Is that transition complete?
“It is complete, and I feel really good about it! The name needed to evolve with us. When I first started, it was just me, and now we’re closing in on having almost thirty people. They all have their own God-given gifts and abilities, and it’s just made us a different animal in terms of how we can serve more people. I don’t measure the success of what we do by the number of billboards we do for clients, but, that being said, I think we’ve done a total of six billboards up until now, and we’ll have about eighty in space by the end of the year. It’s about the opportunities we’re getting, and the opportunities we have to take our clients to the next level.”
“Nothing is going to warm my heart more, than when we have our office warming party, when I can look around at our clients, especially those who’ve been with us for years, and know we’ve grown with them. The same is true for our team members, who’ve grown with us, like our Creative Director Yena Lee, who has been with us for eight years. To me, the relational aspect is paramount. We’re doing life with our clients, and that’s so special.”
Besides the updated name, new office location, and expanded team, how else has Raindrop changed since the last time we spoke?
“We do everything that falls under brand development. We have seven full-time graphic designers now. They do everything from logo development to ad campaign work. We continue to do print collateral, website design, video production, logo development, and photography, basically everything you need to form relationships in the current climate. That’s the big difference – A lot of my mentors who’ve been in the space for decades reflect that it used to be easy – You did billboards, radio ads, and TV commercials, and then you sent some direct mail. That was it. Now, people are grappling with the fact that there are so many more places to be, especially with social media, Pandora, YouTube, etc. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time with the right message that will appeal and reach your target audience.”
The last time we spoke, you shared, “Branding to me simply means being able to accurately not only communicate who you are today, but who you want to become and want to be.” Has your vision evolved?
“It has. I would add just one more thing, which is the most important thing that I didn’t know two years ago:
“The most important thing about branding is not about WHO you are, but how you make other people FEEL.”
“That’s what we’re creating with our clients. Yes, you can have a mission statement, core values, and your why, but, more importantly, you need to identify how you want other people to feel. That’s not just a company thing, but a personal thing.”
“I was smiling the other day thinking about all the work we’re doing with Luna Grill because their ‘Eat Real, Fuel Good’ campaign doesn’t feature food whatsoever. It features the way the founders intended their food to make people feel from the first day they served up any of their food. It’s the way they hope their employees and customers feel. The food’s the given, and that’s what’s interesting because once you move past that we all have to eat, it’s about how you feel when you eat. What does it mean to dine? What does it mean to feel better about your day? That’s the opportunity that Luna Grill has, and that’s what we’re doing with them. That’s what makes it fun!”
Tell me about your new office space at 2311 Kettner Boulevard in Little Italy, San Diego.
“The biggest difference is that we went roughly from 2,600 square feet to 5,000 square feet. We’re right on the corner of Kettner, across from Crack Shack. We just got new murals on the outside, and it’s a ton of fun. It’s the hottest space in San Diego, which is why I love that spot. They’re putting in all these new bars and restaurants, and we’re loving being a part of this thriving area.”
“It’s nice to have a longer-term lease. We’ve moved four times in five years, and I’m excited to have a space that we can hopefully grow into. We leased the building next door as well, subleasing it so we can grow into it.”
Tell me about the office climate at the new location. Is it still a fun atmosphere?
“I was driving back last week with an employee, and something he said struck me, and I think it’s because I’ve had the good fortune to build this team one person at a time. He said, ‘You know, I’ve worked at other places before, but this is the first place where I genuinely love every single person who we work with, and that’s an incredible thing to be able to say.’ I feel the same way! When you have almost thirty people, that’s almost unheard of, and I’m just praying that we don’t mess that up. I’m not even worried about the work we do; I just don’t want, as we continue to grow, to mess up what makes our team so special.”
(When I asked if the shuffleboard table I had seen during our last interview made its way to the newest office, Spitzer laughed, and said yes. He lamented that it doesn’t get used as often as he’d like to see, but adds, “I’d like to think that people are still having a really good time!”)
Tell me about your rebrand and Raindrop’s new website.
“The main focus of the rebrand was that we just wanted something that reflected where we are, where we’re headed, and how we make people feel. It’s a very fun brand. I’ve been doing this for eight-going-on-nine years, and I think it reflects a little more on the maturity of where we are now and how we can serve people. Most importantly, the biggest difference for us is that we toned down the use of color because we didn’t want to compete with our clients’ work. At the end of the day, the work we do with them and for them is what matters. It’s not about us trying to be the brightest bulb. We’re the stage parent.”
“We’ve spent the last year and a half not only thinking about who we are, but who we want to become, asking ourselves why we want to make it bigger and what are we hoping to accomplish with that. At this point, the most important part of our business is working with people who we love working with, who value what we do. There are a lot of ways to make money out there, and there are a lot of people who will promise things they can’t deliver on, and we want to work with people who are a great match, people who we will do exceptional work for, who we know will be thrilled with what we do. That’s what we’ve been doing.”
“The number one reason people bring us on is they want to achieve a next level for themselves, and they can’t quite put their finger on what exactly that is, but they know they want it. They see us doing that with other people, and they’re saying, ‘I want to fundamentally change the future legacy of what we’re doing. Can you help us do that?’ We help them build that vision into an actionable thing that focuses on how we want to make people feel in order to mobilize them to get them there.”
Congratulations on your new book entitled People Love Turkey Sandwiches: Marketing parables to take your business to the next level. Tell me about the title. Did you ever envision yourself becoming a published author?
“The whole book came from a talk I was asked to do last minute for an ad club when their scheduled guest speaker couldn’t make it. I asked what they wanted me to talk about, and they said, ‘Whatever you want.’ Last minute, I just threw together this talk about five moments that changed the way I looked at branding. One of those was: People Love Turkey Sandwiches. They were moments and metaphors that changed the way that I looked at things, and I found myself using them all the time, especially at meetings.”
“I realized that I used them regularly, and that my clients began using them too. Those five stories I shared, including People Love Turkey Sandwiches, made it into the book. People would ask, ‘What’s our turkey sandwich?’ or ‘Are we catching the rain?’ I found them using these metaphors, and so my business partner, Adam Wagner, who came to that talk, said, ‘You need to make that into a book! You have so many of these metaphors to share.'”
“We started listing the parables I often used, and suddenly I had a list of thirty-five! We picked the best, and included twenty-eight in the book. I’ve always loved metaphors, and I think what I love about them is people apply them to their own lives in their own personal ways. I know that no two people will read this book and get the same things out of it.”
“My favorite question to ask those people who’ve read it is, ‘What five stories relate to you the most?’ Almost always, people’s answers are so different, and I think it’s fascinating. (*In case anyone is curious, Spitzer gave a copy of his book to me, and my personal favorites included 02, 08, 15, 16, and 22. The titles of the parables are all so clever and catchy!)
“The fact that this book even exists is the quintessential part of my relationship with Adam that makes it special. He has this vision for organizing and packaging things that I would have never seen. This book wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for him. I said no at first! He made sure it was done on track, and every designer on our team contributed to the book. The visuals and quality of the book are just as important to me as the words. It’s printed on 100-pound paper, which is five times the weight of a normal piece of paper. It has a soft-touch cover that feels like a newborn dolphin.” (He wasn’t kidding when he said he loves metaphors/similes.)
“There are some very specific metaphors that people who don’t care about business or marketing still really cling to, such as (02) You Can’t Hold Trucks and Climb the Monkey Bars. That’s one that literally anyone can relate to, as is (09) An Uber Driver with a Broken Foot, which is all about momentum and waiting for things to be perfect. (15) Millionaire with an Old Car is what pushed me over the edge as I waffled over whether to do a kitchen remodel for the last year, realizing I needed to do it because it mattered to my wife. When I think about (22) Oh S***, My Clothes are in the Living Room, we all know there’s a change we need to make, and we know sometimes it’s going to get messier before it gets better.”
Spitzer, humbly and with genuine appreciation not only credits Adam Wagner with prodding him to write People Love Turkey Sandwiches in the first place, he’s also quick to thank those fellow Raindroppers who helped turn this vision into a reality, including Yena Lee, Troy BeMent, Lauren Eschborn, Alan Jacobson, Lindsey Andruss, Nick Geddis, Lydia Kim, Daniel Gordon, and Lia Fairchild. Spitzer also pays tribute to his wife Tiffany, sharing, “She’s always been that constant sounding board for me to get objective wisdom from. She has such a rich background from when she lead people at NBC, and she’s experienced things that I haven’t yet. I’m constantly talking with her about the book, the business, and everything else. It’s been fun to watch her share this book with our friends and family.”
As an unexpected published author, are you now considering writing another book?
“I think what’s fascinating about it is that this book has already attracted other opportunities. I think that’s a small part of why I wanted to do it. I thought it was something people could genuinely enjoy, and that they could get something out of it.”
“It was important to me that the book was worth people’s time and money, and I feel really confident that it is. What I love about this book is that you can pick it up, read a couple of the stories, not necessarily in order, and I know that at least one or more of the stories will resonate with you. In some small way, maybe it will add to your life. All I’ve done is taken universal truths, and told them in short, fun stories.”
“I don’t want anyone to read this, and assume I’ve mastered everything; it’s just a collection of wisdom I’ve pocketed along the way.”
And speaking of pockets . . . more specifically pocket squares . . . Tell me about Rare Fold, your men’s pocket square and accessory line.
“Earlier I talked about growth, and one of the visions I had last fall, was asking ourselves, ‘Who are we becoming?’ We looked around in San Diego, and said, ‘Do we want to become some version of some other company that’s already out there? What do we want to become? Who are we? The growth for me has always been spurred on by one simple fact, which is that if we don’t provide people the opportunity to grow and own their respective futures within our company, there won’t be a future for them. Growth comes from a natural state of wanting to provide those opportunities to people to grow; otherwise it’s hard for them to grow in terms of responsibility, opportunities, and financially.”
“We aren’t growing just for the sake of growing or to pad Adam’s ego, my ego, or our bank accounts. For us, it’s all about making sure that we’re driving the most value into everyone who’s on this journey with us, making sure they know how much they’re appreciated.”
“The other a-ha we had is that we can create out of thin air, with our really talented team, anything, whether it’s a book or a new brand like Rare Fold. I just realized we needed to take advantage of the in-house resources we have to test and learn from different things. The book was something we wanted to learn from, and Rare Fold was another one. We wanted to see what it was like to pick something and go with it.”
“Rare Fold came from the fact that I was dismayed with the lack of fun options for pocket squares. To me, if you’re going to wear a pocket square, it might as well be fun. It started off unexpectedly as a side venture that we could learn from, and the fun we’ve been having with it has just been an added bonus.”
“Everyone made the same, boring pocket square, and I kept looking around to see if there were other options. That’s when I decided that we should make some, and have fun with it. Again, Adam said, ‘Instead of buying fabric, cutting pocket squares, and selling them, let’s give it a brand, and see what we learn!’ It’s been really fun to watch us build a following on Instagram, where we have almost 2,000 followers already. Just like with the business and just like with the book, Rare Fold is with Adam.”
Reflection on His Relationship with Partner/Chief Strategy Officer Adam Wagner:
“When you talk about the difference between the previous years and now, when you add someone to the mix who has completely the same values and drive, but has such complementary strengths, it’s the key to success. I honestly don’t know how people do it without a counterpart like that. So many things that he thinks to do, knows how to do, or enjoys doing, are things that I don’t and vice-versa. I seriously don’t know how people grow businesses on their own.”
- Jacques Spitzer’s website: Click here.
- Raindrop Branding & Advertising’s website: Click here.
- Raindrop Branding & Advertising’s Instagram: Click here.
- Rare Fold website: Click here.
- Rare Fold Instagram: Click here.