We had the good fortune of connecting with Leigh Dow and we’ve shared our conversation below.

We had the good fortune of connecting with Leigh Dow and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Leigh, how do you think about risk?
Being an entrepreneur means you are willing to embrace risk taking, but I tend to think about it more as having a preference for experimentation. I’m probably best known for having a nonlinear approach, using critical thinking, intuition and risk taking to deliver an imaginative solution to a problem. But in my mind, I think less about taking risks, and more about conducting experiments. Half of small businesses fail within the first five years. Whenever I have a new business idea, I try to break it up into the different kinds of risk, or ambiguity, I will face. Entrepreneurs face financial risk, competitive risks, risk to reputation and more. What makes my career different now from when I was a corporate employee, is that now as an entrepreneur, I get to maximize experimentation and have more control over the variables. If I have an idea I think is viable, I experiment with it. I start off by socializing the idea with people I trust and respect and get their feedback. That’s me experimenting with a concept. Once I have enough feedback, I create the product or service and test it out. Experimentation is where I thrive, and it is what most people would call “risk” – it needs quick decision-making, creative thinking, and a willingness to cut people, process or tools out of the idea along the way. If I find it’s getting traction, my focus shifts from experimentation to scaling the idea. Scaling is where I usually ask for more help, because I am not an operations person by nature, and scaling requires getting good at doing the same things over and over and over. Scaling is all about discipline, process improvement and driving continuous improvement toward mass-production. I’ve always been a natural “risk taker” or experimenter. In my career people have referred to me as “fearless” but I don’t see it that way, I have plenty of fear or trepidation. I read somewhere that “mistakes are tuition, learn from them”. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes over my career, some more expensive than others, but I learn from them and move on, What I have always embraced in taking risks, or experimenting, is looking at obstacles as challenges rather than roadblocks. When you look at things with that perspective it changes your approach, and with the right set of experiments and tenacity, I’ve found some wins along the way.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?

Our business is unique in the agency world, we are focused on solving very complex marketing challenges by providing creative solutions to a problem. Unlike many agencies, we have served as fractional marketing leaders for organizations during strategic inflection points in their business, when they needed a full-scale marketing transformation. Our bench strength is deep, most of the team have been senior leaders in their industry and have a wealth of subject matter expertise. Last year, we won more American Marketing Association Spectrum Awards than any other local agency of any size. I’m personally very proud of that achievement because it demonstrates the value we deliver for our clients and that exceptional work can come from a boutique agency. I’m also very excited about our new venture, Sway Media. Where 48 West is focused on larger enterprises and integrated marketing, Sway is a new approach to Public Relations. During the COVID pandemic, we have seen a need in the market for a PR firm that is designed to service small businesses and startups who need responsive and reliable public relations without the risk of long term retainer contracts. Sway Media’s unique PR subscription service limits risk and provides clients with a dedicated PR pro who will deliver a performance driven game plan. No complicated hiring, no contracts and clients can cancel anytime. The positive response to this new school model for PR has been exciting for our team. We started 48 West about five years ago, and designed the agency around avoiding everything we didn’t like about agencies: the lack of transparency, the lack of subject matter expertise, the pitch from the “A’ team but serviced by the “C” team, and the weighty overhead expenses some agencies have. Our team is agile, lean, and experienced. While we have had wins and losses over the last five years, nothing tested us like 2020 has. March and April of 2020 were difficult months for us, but we made a choice to recognize that we were not having a unique experience and that we needed to apply our own problem-solving methodology to overcoming the challenge. We doubled down on gaining new data science skills, procuring new artificial intelligence tools, and changing our approach to business development. It’s made our team stronger, we have gained new expertise, skills, and built a new business model for our public relations services. Our values guide how we make decisions, treat each other, and serve our customers and they are the keys to our success and give us purpose. We aspire to be bold and innovative, taking informed risks and experimenting with new problem-solving approaches that help our clients deliver compelling solutions. We take a personal commitment to believing our clients’ success is our success.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

  • Ocean 44 or Steak 44 – these two restaurants are my go to for any celebration, the food is exceptional and so is the service. They always manage to strike the perfect balance of fine dining without the stuffy environment. 
  • The Royal Palms MixUp Bar and Day Spa – The Royal Palms is so beautiful in the spring when their orange trees are blossoming. The smell is divine, and the day spa is a very quiet sanctuary. The MixUp bar is a great place to grab a drink and walk through the beautiful property at night.
  • The Arizona Biltmore and Wrigley Mansion – both are iconic to Arizona, and both have tucked away spots to enjoy the views of Camelback Mountain.
  • Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour – craft cocktail bar located in the heart of downtown Phoenix, Arizona in the historical Luhrs building.
  • The Little Woody – It’s easy to miss, hard to spot from the outside, but the drinks are great and it’s a fun place to play games like darts and skeeball, and listen to local musicians.
  • Hula’s Modern Tiki – a modern, urban twist on the classic tiki bars and restaurants of the ’50s & ’60s. It’s just got a super fun vibe.
  • monOrchid – a very funky art gallery in the heart of Roosevelt Row
  • Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West – an amazing collection of art, culture and history of 19 states in the American West, including Arizona.
  • Phoenix Suns Basketball – the Suns are poised to have an incredible season in 2020-2021 and the Suns organization always delivers a great fan experience.
  • Arizona Coyotes Hockey – if you have never experienced hockey in person, it’s life changing. One of the most exciting sports to see in person.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My inner circle, the people I intentionally have unique, irreplaceable history with that have supported each other along the way. They are available when I need help, the first to celebrate when we get a win, and willing to be vulnerable and reach out to me when they need my help. Some of my inner circle I am fortunate enough to work with every day at 48 West, others have their own separate pursuits. We are invested in each other and there is rock solid trust between us.

Website: http://48westagency.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leighdow/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/leighdow/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LeighDow
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/48West
Other: https://swaymedia.agency/

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