we are
content marketing 3.0

The world has moved from making people want stuff to making stuff that people want. That’s what we do.

What we
Believe

In our age of 8-second attention spans and information inundation, traditional content marketing (short-tail, one-size-fits-all, single platform, volume production) has its limits. The world is evolving. Consumers are evolving along with it.

We believe that the path to brand loyalty in changing times is simple: make the stuff that people want. To us, that means insight-driven, audience-targeted content—the kind born of deep understanding, and designed from inception to educate, foster intimacy, awaken possibilities, meet unmet needs; and reach audiences when and where they are most receptive. 

CONTent MArketING The Captains’ Way:

  • Creative storytelling that reveals and celebrates the truths of our clients’ brands
  • Thoughtful publishing that builds emphasis and sustains interest
  • Flagship platforms and initiatives that ladder up to something greater than individual stories

how we 
work

When it comes to working with challengers—the ones intent on entering markets, creating new value, and leapfrogging old assumptions—process matters. Our most successful engagements begin with a formative strategy phase during which we identify the core values of a client’s brand; profile the most important audiences to reach; and glean insights from a deep dive into competitive market dynamics. This foundation of understanding becomes our creative edge—the way we seize nascent growth opportunities; craft a brand message that resonates with even hard-to-influence audiences; and guide a market entry, pivot, or reinvention with content that moves audiences to take action.

We only engage in leadership-level partnerships with our clients—so we are in the game together in building audience relationships prior to and beyond purchases. But don’t take our word for it. We’re happy to let our clients—and our work—speak for themselves.

 

our phasic
process

ecosystem understanding

Before you can change the world, the right portion of the world has to know who you are, and how you’re different. Through formative brand research, we build an understanding of your most important audiences, their mindsets and behaviors, and your competitive landscape to construct the positioning pillars that will compel the right people to find you, engage with you, and ultimately, evangelize on your behalf.

Messaging & Content roadmapping

Culled from insights gleaned in the research phase, we craft a messaging platform to communicate your unique value (the “why” behind what you do) to your key audiences. From there, we develop the content roadmap as the plan for bringing your message to market. More robust than an editorial calendar, holistic than a brief, and practical than a style guide, the roadmap distills sentiments, messages, and content to meet audiences on their paths from discovery to advocacy.

content Creation & distribution

We have a knack for finding great stories in unexpected places. But make no mistake: great creative work is born of strategy, not serendipity. When it comes to the making, we stay platform and format-agnostic so that we can mold, polish, measure and refine the creative product to entertain, inform, or dazzle, but ultimately—bring your story to the right audiences, at the right times, for marked and measurable results.

manifest(o)
destiny

Our ethos is embodied in our Manifesto, a series of fundamental truths that serve as a blueprint for our marketing philosophy and client-focused approach.

MARKETING HAS CHANGED FROM MAKING PEOPLE WANT STUFF TO MAKING STUFF PEOPLE WANT

MARKETING HAS CHANGED FROM MAKING PEOPLE WANT STUFF TO MAKING STUFF PEOPLE WANT

Consumers today are empowered by information. We think the most successful marketing today provides engaging and entertaining content that consumers can read, watch, experience, and share on their own terms, across platforms. So our approach to content marketing is simple: make stuff people want.
FUN AND BUSINESS ARE NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE

FUN AND BUSINESS ARE NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE

The most innovative, dynamic companies infuse their work environments with a sense of fun. When people enjoy what they are doing, the end product they create is typically of higher quality. The same goes for marketing. In an age where people have total control over what they see and hear, having fun with your marketing helps your messages get noticed and shared by your customers.
SERVICE MATTERS

SERVICE MATTERS

When some of us were grasshopper-sized, full-service gas stations actually provided full service. A smiling man with a bow tie washed your windshield and checked the oil—and then he gave you a free glass when he was done. We think this is a pretty good model for a marketing agency. Phone calls should be returned promptly. Promises kept. No surprises on invoices. And don’t forget the glasses!
you

you're always talking to one little buckaroo

Remember Mister Rogers? He was asked once how he was able to connect so effectively with children. He responded, “I never forget that, no matter how many millions of children are watching, I’m always talking to just one little Buckeroo.” This is a powerful idea that Captains embraces. Whether you’re making a web film or a direct mail letter, you are speaking to one person at a time. Messages must feel personal. We never address a crowd by saying, “I’m sure all of you will….” There is no such as thing as “all of you”. There is only one you.
GREAT WORK COMES FROM UNDERSTANDING

GREAT WORK COMES FROM UNDERSTANDING

Fresh, remarkable work is like the flowers on a tree. Just like the flowers cannot be vibrant unless the roots of the tree are well nourished, great work is steeped in deep understanding of a client’s products and industry. This is why Captains ask a lot of questions up front before beginning the creative development process. Our knowledge and understanding of our clients’ businesses allows us to create marketing materials that are informative and relevant, and bring messages to life in customers’ imaginations.
THE BIGGEST RISK YOU CAN TAKE AS A MARKETER IS TO BE SAFE

THE BIGGEST RISK YOU CAN TAKE AS A MARKETER IS TO BE SAFE

Safe (i.e. boring) marketing becomes invisible, which is a total waste of money. To attain success, make your marketing bold so it stands out in a crowd, and strategic so it achieves results. Don’t worry. We’re professionals.
CHAOS IS WHERE BRILLIANT DREAMS ARE BORN

CHAOS IS WHERE BRILLIANT DREAMS ARE BORN

In Western culture, chaos is something to be avoided at all costs. But in Chinese culture, the figurative translation of the symbol for chaos is “where brilliant dreams are born”. Before the beginning of great brilliance, there must be chaos. At Captains, we believe the very best companies are those that embrace radical change and the temporary chaos that comes with it. That’s when wonderful things happen.
THE AGE OF ADVERTISING BASED ON INTERRUPTION IS ON ITS WAY OUT

THE AGE OF ADVERTISING BASED ON INTERRUPTION IS ON ITS WAY OUT

People are increasingly unwilling to have their entertainment or information-gathering experiences interrupted. They have video on-demand and pop-up blockers; they tune out commercials and banners. After all, it’s human nature to take evasive action if you’re being targeted by marketing. The solution? Make your marketing entertaining, so people seek you out and pass on your message to others.
YOU DON’T NEED A BIG AGENCY, YOU NEED A BIG IDEA

YOU DON’T NEED A BIG AGENCY, YOU NEED A BIG IDEA

Very large agencies employ lots and lots of people in the hopes that one of them will come up with a big idea. Too often, however, something that starts as a big idea gets watered down by layers of bureaucratic management (or the big idea never exists to begin with). Captains of Industry is a smaller company staffed by a select group of senior level people who are very, very good at coming up with big ideas. Plus, without a burdensome hierarchy, our best ideas actually reach fruition.
Born independent. And staying that way.
In the era of mergers and acquisitions, we’re committed to staying nimble, independent, and specialized—just as we were when we were founded nearly 20 years ago in Boston. Our independent streak allows us to be highly selective of our clients, choosing only those who have the passion to upend the status quo. In fact, we only work with a maximum of 10 clients at a time, allowing us to be personally attentive to their challenges and able to do whatever it takes for them to be successful.

the
principals

President

Clift Jones

President & CEO

Clift served as the youngest partner/ direct report to the US President at Bozell Worldwide in New York City from 1995-2002. In 2003, Clift was appointed the first outside U. S. President and eventual Global Chief Operating Officer at Modernista LTD and served in that capacity from 2003 – 2010 growing the media billings from $50 million to $900 million, expanding into three offices, and representing iconic brands including Budweiser, Business Week, Cadillac, (RED), Converse, Palm, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and TIAA-CREF. During his tenure the firm was recognized as one of the fastest growing independent agencies in the country and earned Regional Ad Agency of the Year honors from Adweek. Clift is the President & CEO (and Principal) of COI, Inc leading the strategic direction of the firm having successfully transitioned the business from a project-based, production-centric company to a full service content marketing consultancy representing clients on both coasts including MIT, Recurrent Energy, American Beverage Marketers, BlueWave, Northeastern University, DNV GL, and Vionx.

Executive Creative Director

Ted Page

Executive Creative Director & Founder

Ted Page is one of the co-founders of Captains of Industry, and today serves as a kind of master chef to ensure that the agency’s creative product is up to our high standards. Ted brings over 25 years of experience to this task, guiding the creation of brands and content marketing campaigns for clients ranging from First Wind, to the MIT Sloan School of Management. Ted wrote the script for “The Institute for Backup Trauma,” starring John Cleese, featured by the Content Marketing Institute as the first successful B2B “viral” campaign. Ted wrote “Branding and Marketing for Renewable Energy Companies,” a popular eBook. Ted lectures on marketing at top business schools and at conferences globally. Ted’s non-fiction stories have appeared in Boston Magazine and the Boston Sunday Globe Magazine, and his book book of stories—“The Willoughby Chronicles”—will be published by Three Swally’s Press in March of 2017.

Executive Producer

fred surr

Executive Producer & Founder

Fred has more than 25 years of experience in marketing and motion picture production, bringing a filmmaker’s eye and sense of story to develop innovative and strategic marketing solutions that deliver bottom-line results. Fred started his career developing and producing children’s television for broadcast and cable networks. After starting his own production company, he expanded his work to include educational publishers like Simon & Schuster and Sundance Publishing; public policy organizations like The National Institute of Out-of-School Time and the Harvard Risk Management Foundation; and companies like John Hancock, BMW, and Staples. Since joining Captains of Industry in 2003, he has drawn more deeply on his marketing roots, helping create strategic direction for clients in energy, education, public policy, and technology, while simultaneously leading Captains’ in-house production division, where he oversees all aspects of motion picture development for clients. Fred has a BS in Marketing from the Pennsylvania State University and an unwavering dedication to the pursuit of a single digit handicap. He’s also an avid and uniquely untalented hockey player.