Blog

Clinton Bowman

While he wanted to be an FBI agent, Clinton now spends his days investigating crimes against marketing, and solving cases of mistaken messaging. He always shines the spotlight on the story and makes sure his clients can capture their customers.

Sr Consultant | LinkedIn

07/30/2020

Repairing with gold: making work more personal from afar

By: Clinton Bowman

Repairing with gold: making work more personal from afar

I did my undergraduate degree in art. While I love making art, my favorite thing about the program was learning art history abroad. One of the sections I remember most vividly was the Japanese ceramic technique of kintsugi, which dates to at least the 16th century and binds broken ceramics back together using liquid gold. The result is a rejuvenated ceramic that celebrates flaws and imperfections.    

Things feel quite broken right now. We’re working from home. The days and months are blurring together. The social, political, and healthcare situations in this country are spinning out of control. And it’s not clear when any of that’s going to end. But just because things are totally broken doesn’t mean they can’t be mended back together, even stronger than before.

Over the past several months, my client relationships have gotten exponentially deeper. There is a certain amount of humility and grace that comes with trying to get everything done during a pandemic. For me, I’ve regaled clients and co-workers with a cacophony of noises including puppy barks, Amazon delivery door knocks, phone calls, and even dump trucks bustling outside my window. In turn, I’ve had clients equally trying to fend off the world around them in order to work with me. And while we always apologize for these moments and ask for forgiveness, I can’t help but see the bond being built as we all move through this collective mayhem together.

Years ago, when I worked in Washington D.C., everything was very buttoned-up. Work was some mix of pressed shirts and pants, fixed hair, shined shoes, strong handshakes, and social decorum. It was all very formal. But if anything is true now, it’s that formality of that caliber is gone. What is emerging now at work is the respective acknowledgment of each other’s personal circumstance.

As much as we all try, at the end of the day, we’re just people and some things are simply beyond our control. The freeing part is that by acknowledging this with clients, we can celebrate it. We can rejoice in the absurdity and inject more humanity into our working relationships. We can build something better and stronger than before.

I won’t miss the pandemic when it’s finally over—not by a longshot. I do, however, hope this trend of openness sticks around because I find this new professional reality to be pure gold.  

05/08/2019

Will travel for brands

By: Clinton Bowman

Will travel for brands

What a season. The English Premier League—the world’s most popular soccer league—is nearing the end of one of the most memorable seasons in recent memory. Fans are enraptured by a months-long battle royale between two of soccer’s strongest teams, Liverpool and Manchester City. It has come down to the final weekend of games to decide who will win the league title and lift the coveted sterling silver trophy overhead.

While many captivating stories played out in this banner year—like this game-stopping furry pitch invader that brought one stadium to a standstill—the most memorable moment for me was seeing my first game in the flesh. After five years of following the Premier League and nearly a year of planning, three friends and I made the trek to London to watch the storied game, known as the North London Derby, between London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. While the team I support, Arsenal (go, Gunners!), ultimately drew with Tottenham at the final whistle, it still felt like a win for us Seattleites. The nine-hour flight, and cost of tickets and hotels didn’t dishearten us in the least.

We were so enamored with our experience, despite neither side winning, that we committed to do it again next year. Are we soccer fanatics? Quite possibly. But it goes deeper than that. Looking back on that weekend in London, I can’t help but appreciate how the storytelling of the Premier League’s brand lured me to super fandom.

Until 2012, most Americans could not readily access the Premier League. While sports fans may have known the name Ronaldo or that some guy named Beckham could really bend it, hardly anyone paid much mind to English soccer. That all changed when the Premier League inked a deal with NBC Sports. Americans were given a front row seat to the best soccer on the planet and like other Anglo-imports such as the British Invasion, New Wave, and Downton Abbey, we ate it up.

With a platform on American tellys, the Premier League had an outlet to educate Americans on the values and heritage of the clubs and the league itself. Before kick-offs commentators would regale viewers about the club’s rich history or meaning of the rivalry match told over decades of footage, effectively making their history ours. Through storytelling, they positioned each club as full of lore, rich with tradition, and even familiar. They bet that we Americans would fall in love with Premier League not only because of the athleticism, but because they had beautiful narratives to share—narratives we could easily make our own.

While 2A hasn’t done branding work for the Premier League (at least, not yet), we approach the challenge in much the same way. From new businesses to established enterprises, we help our clients demonstrate their value and create captivating stories to support brands. Because what businesses wouldn’t want their customers to find a similar, fly-across-the-world bliss in their brand?

08/24/2018

What do a Canadian cattleman & 90’s summer jams have to do with my new job?

By: Clinton Bowman

What do a Canadian cattleman & 90’s summer jams have to do with my new job?

Twenty-two years ago this summer, I experienced my first family reunion. It was a humid summer affair near the lush Ozark National Forest, and it brought together family from across the U.S. and one Canadian cattle farmer. It was the same summer that gave way to the eternal classics—Blackstreet’s No Diggity and the Smashing Pumpkins’ Tonight, Tonight. I was 12 years old.

At that age a family reunion is essentially a license for fun. For me, it meant near-limitless cake, followed (not surprisingly) by a spirited cousin dance off. It marked the first time I drove a 4-wheeler. And, I got to meet the legendary family funny man, my great-uncle, in the flesh. Yet surpassing the fun, the greatest takeaway occurred after we said our goodbyes. I left knowing that I was a part of something bigger. I was a part of a grander story. Cue the music.

Now, you may be thinking, that’s nice, but what does any of this have to do with 2A? Well, last week I had a flashback to that summer of ’96. You see, I just started at 2A in the beginning of August. Fortunately for me, only a few weeks in, I got to party down at the Meet in the Middle party, which unites 2A teammates from east and west King County at a central location on Mercer Island. For me this meant I would finally get to see nearly all the team in one place, put faces to names, and get to learn a bit more about my new team. 

The party kicked off with tunes and treats under the clear summer sky. And before long we were served up choripans with a chimichurri that was alone worth the trip. The fun in the sun then continued with colleagues making diving football catches into Lake Washington, while others soaked up the rays. Ultimately, the day crescendoed with some new colorful team swag and glorious cookies.

All in all, it was an incredible Friday away from the office. But beyond the fun, I learned that this group of individuals is intent on cultivating authentic, deep connections with one another. The party was a step toward building the collective story of us, to fortify a team. Reflecting on this, I now know—as I did that summer nearly two decades ago—that I am part of something larger than I anticipated. And, I couldn’t be more excited. No diggity, no doubt.