We Need More Art Students

In Short
Art students* are taught to explore multiple solutions, present their work, be critiqued and critique their peers. This experience more closely resembles today’s workplace than any liberal arts education.

In-depth
We need more individuals comfortable with not getting it right. Who will toil over the solution, trying multiple paths while driven by a desire to use their creation to penetrate the hearts and minds of their audience.

We need more people who are not afraid to push on the walls of the box. Who will step just over the line seeking the best possible solution, even if it does not conform.

We need those that are determined to refine and iterate. Being comfortable with that feeling that arises when it’s not quite finished, but you put it up on the wall anyhow because it’s time to share your work with the world.

We need thick skins and open, broad minds. These are the people who are able to hear feedback, sift through the awkward communication of humans to identify what’s working and what’s not.

We need teammates that are able to provide constructive feedback. Not personal preferences but thoughtful analysis of how well the solution achieved the objective. Being able to describe how it made them think or feel and what triggered those thoughts or emotions.

We need people working diligently at mastering their craft. Honing in on their unique talents, cultivating a distinct perspective on the world and the problem at hand, and then working diligently to become better.

We need individuals who understand their career is a string of projects that will wind and weave through different periods of life, with each phase clearly imprinted in their work. People who can trust there is a through-line that will reveal itself over time but only comes from putting one foot in front of the other each day.

We need a collective of artists, each proud enough of their work to sign their name at the bottom, putting a little bit of themselves into everything they do and sending it off into the world.

In my humble opinion, it is artists that create powerful brands. We need more artists.

 

*Full disclosure, I was an art student. I became a photographer. I use what I learned in school and in the field, every day, even though I haven’t made a living from clicking a shutter in over a decade.

 

Why Our Name

The Literal – Realizing Full Potential
Full Stream describes, quite literally, a waterway running at maximum capacity. Not flooding, but moving at its maximum beneficial volume and rate. This is also the most productive state for a brand, organization and individual. Our objective is to develop maximum beneficial growth, the realization of full potential.

The Metaphorical – Stepping Into The Stream
We can stand on land or we can be in water; those are our choices. The side of a river is safe and still, the ground beneath us known and stable. It’s a beautiful place that changes slowly, giving us a front-row-view of the perpetual motion of the river. When we step into the river’s full stream, we can no longer stand. Panic, and the river takes full control. Relax, and we find ourselves able to read the path ahead, maneuver through rapids, rest in eddies and flow with the river. When growth is our objective, we have no choice but to step into the stream, embrace uncertainty, harness change, read the subtle and not-so-subtle signs ahead. Having the understanding and tools to flow with the river is what allows us to leverage its energy while enjoying the ride. This is what it means to step into the stream.

Our approach.

Our approach to a project is guided by the state of the organization: the people, processes and systems that generate the brand experiences which, in turn, cultivate brand loyalty (or hinder it.)

People
Organizations are living, breathing organisms, made of living, breathing people. A simple but a powerful notion when an organization must evolve in order to grow. This is why we work with individuals throughout the company from leadership to the front lines. We work in one-on-one, group and company-wide settings to provide clarity. Clarity of purpose. Clarity of place. Clarity of path.

Processes
Organizations prove Aristotle’s assertion that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Processes create the synergy that fuels this outsized impact. We collaborate with individuals and teams to design and implement these processes, creating linear pathways for information and actions to flow smoothly through the organization and trigger the needed downstream action or effect.

Systems
Organizations have the ability to scale beyond their physical size by leveraging IT systems. When sourced, architected and implemented with the end in mind, these systems amplify the impact of a single individual and increase speed of processes. We collaborate with internal teams and vendors, working cross-functionally, from procurement to launch to align systems with people, processes and the path forward.

This approach requires us to customize projects to fit the organization and leadership’s desired rate of growth. It requires us to go deep, roll up our sleeves and work hand in hand with your team to build your future state, from the ground up and inside out. This building of foundations from deep within the organization cultivates an individual and collective sense of purpose, autonomy and, if supported, mastery. This allows us to step away while remaining intimately connected to the DNA of the organization – leaving our clients autonomous, but never alone if our advice or services are required.

There are companies building the movements that will lead us towards a healthier and more sustainable future. We help these companies grow their market share so they can grow their impact.

We fuel growth by developing an organization’s ability to generate, at scale, consumer brand loyalty based on the brands core purpose and principles. In its simplest form, these are the services we provide:

1. Research. Clarify where we are.
Define the state of the business and consumer brand loyalty through multi-level company and consumer interviews, data analysis and market analysis.

2. Strategy and planning. Define where we are going and how we will get there.
Uncover and articulate the vision: the brand strategy, growth strategy and roadmap, while building tactical tools for organization-wide implementation.

3. Organizational Development. Build the capabilities of the organization to lead the way.
Partner with individuals throughout the organization to build the teams, systems and processes needed to execute the plan and achieve desired growth and impact.

Vans, GT Bikes, Santa Cruz Skateboards, Powell Peralta, K2 Skis, Burton Snowboards, Transworld Media: these were the first brands I remember coveting. Their logos tattooed my every possession, their athletes covered my walls. These were the brands that shaped my view of the world beyond the suburban upstate New York life I knew. They inspired an unrelenting pursuit of fun, passion, creativity and self-expression, making it not only okay to be myself but a badge of honor to stand out from the crowd.

If brands have the power to influence people, as they did me, they can affect the choices individuals make, initiating a chain reaction that impacts people, places, culture and the environment the world over. If we have the power to influence people, we have the power to change the world. This is why we’ve devoted our lives to building and scaling brands.

This power brands possess – to connect with individuals on an emotional level, to paint a worldview that unites the tribe – has always existed. However, today’s brands have more power to influence than ever before. Brands are now media organizations with the ability to produce engaging content, scale reach, hyper target and optimize messaging in seconds, to ensure maximum impact. And these tools are no longer reserved for only the largest and most sophisticated organizations. This power can be tapped at will by bootstrapping startups in garages around the world.

The table is set. The tools exist. People are hungry for real solutions to the myriad  challenges we’re facing. There is a craving for authentic connection, to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Brands have the potential to be this vehicle in our lives. So together, let’s change the world.

Our purpose.

Our purpose is growth.

Yes, growth means increased sales, profit, margin, market share, etc. However, we believe those traditional growth metrics can be better realized and sustained by the personal growth of the individual, teams, and the organization as a whole. A growing business challenges the individual. It challenges our knowledge, skill set and wisdom, as well as our ego. It challenges leaders to lead better and doers to be more efficient and effective. It challenges the infrastructure the organization relies on to operate, pushing on every system, process and relationship until it builds resilient strength through evolution or breaks. A growing business challenges us to push beyond our comfort zones, giving us opportunities to choose new paths forward, choose how we will react, how we will make decisions and how we will view the game board in front of us.

This internal growth of the individual and the collective growth of the organization is contagious. It draws talent and passion, creating fertile ground for individuals to come to do their best work and achieve their own prolific growth. This creative and expansive force is felt by the customer, the users of the experiences birthed by the organization. The energy is infectious, exuding from every experience and interaction, spreading to an exponential number of individuals through each product and experience produced.

This is the potential power of a brand. This is how brands affect individuals, lead movements and change the world. This is our purpose: it is the work we are here to do inside our own organization and for yours.