Ironstone works with a select group of strategic partners, whose expertise in specialized areas can help accelerate business growth. Recently, we sat down with Laura Garfield, Co-Founder of Idea Decanter, a leading video marketing company that connects financial services professionals with their target audiences:
Lights, Cameras, Laura
I landed my first job in TV news right out of college in the booming metropolis of Hastings, Nebraska. I would show up at the station in the morning, grab a video camera, shoot news all day, then return to work to write the newscast, including the weather forecast. Nebraska is farm country, and farmers need accurate data. But I had no meteorological background; I relied on National Weather Service reports. On Saturday nights, I would anchor the news, then wake up on Sunday to peek out the window, keeping my fingers crossed that there hadn’t been a freak storm overnight that I missed!
Paying Her News Dues
From Hastings, I worked at stations in Omaha and New Orleans, then CBS News in New York, and CNN in Atlanta before launching Idea Decanter in 2014 with Sharon Gottula. Starting in local news was actually great preparation for my current role, since you have to wear so many hats. I got into television because I enjoy telling stories visually. I love the company we’ve built and the videos we produce for our clients.
From Wine to Wealth Management
People often ask why Sharon and I called our company Idea Decanter. It began when I moved with my husband Chuck and our two children from Atlanta to Portland, Oregon. In Portland, there’s just no equivalent of network news jobs, so I had to figure out how to use my journalism experience to take my career in a new direction.
Sharon was in a similar situation: She and her family relocated to Seattle from Kansas City, where Sharon had run a successful commercial photography business. We decided to join forces to create videos for wineries to promote their brands, tasting rooms and tours. After posting our work online, my friend and financial advisor Melissa Joy hired us to do some videos, and she became a great advocate for getting the word out to the Raymond James community.
Trust Us, Video Works
We were fortunate to catch the first wave of video marketing by financial planners. Advisors from around the country started reaching out: “Hey, I need a video for our website. Can you help?” The projects were mainly adding a “Wow Factor” to a team’s website because video is a powerful way to build trust. By 2015, we made the pivot full-time to financial services, and we’ve been there ever since, creating videos for advisors within wire houses and broker dealers like Raymond James, Wells Fargo, UBS, Ameriprise, as well as many RIAs.
At Idea Decanter, we understand what financial advisors need, and we help them accomplish their goals. Unlike other video companies who use a “cookie cutter” approach, we create customized, original content for each client. We generate fresh ideas, but also share ideas that are working for an advisor in San Diego that might apply to an advisor in Miami. Plus, we bring an understanding of the compliance process that I think is really important. We “speak compliance,” which can streamline the entire process.
The Ironstone Connection
In 2015, we began partnering with Ironstone after I attended one of Andrea’s sessions at a Raymond James national conference. I remember hearing some buzz from people I knew, who told me, “You should really go check out Andrea’s event. Ironstone is a great resource.” When I sat in on Andrea’s seminar, light bulbs started going off! Yes, she coaches financial planning teams, but her insights can apply to any industry.
After Andrea spoke, I introduced myself to her, and we just sparked from there. Andrea became one of our favorite video marketing clients – and our business coach.
I remember producing an Ironstone video about getting the right people not just on the bus, but in the right seats on the bus. Later, I pulled Andrea aside to consult with her on our hiring process. Andrea has been super helpful as we’ve expanded our staff.
Another time, we shot an Ironstone video about the importance of taking time in hiring. Until then, we had always moved rapidly from screening resumes to interviewing candidates to “You’re hired!” But thanks to Andrea, we now use a seven-stage process. Since then, our hires have been spot-on.
Partners in Success
Andrea has been invaluable at connecting us with teams who are interested in growing their businesses. If she’s working with a practice, and knows they can boost their marketing efforts with video, she’ll introduce them to us. We’re proud to be her “Go-To” video referral.
Best of all, Andrea has helped us grow our own business. One thing I love most is Andrea’s Task List, where our team writes down everything they do. Instead of continually wondering, “What do I do, or do I need to have somebody else do that now?,” the Task List gives Sharon and I a structured way to determine and pace our staffing needs.
Before Ironstone, Sharon and I would conceptualize Idea Decanter’s goals without a detailed plan in place. Thanks to Andrea’s wise counsel, our company has grown from two to eight people, and we feel equipped to handle whatever challenges the future brings.