Every brand has a purpose.

Some agencies try to understand that brand purpose through data. They study the mission statements and target markets. They invest in understanding the target customer and the opportunities to sell. These are crucial parts of helping a brand succeed.

But they don’t go quite deep enough. Because if you stop at the brand purpose you miss the people.

We as an agency seek to understand the people behind the brands. In fact, it’s why I’m here and the common thread through our entire team. We don’t just help brands.

We help the people behind brands.

This past week was a special example of this unique approach to our work.

A new client of Thinkbox, Johnny’s Pass, works to help people with disabilities find accessible places to eat, play and shop. The passion for Johnny’s Pass is Rockford native, Johnny Agar. Johnny’s cerebral palsy made him passionate about helping other handicapped individuals enjoy their life. It also inspired Johnny to walk a full mile.

Someone that has inspired Johnny throughout his life is the Olympic legend, Michael Phelps. And this past week Johnny’s dream of talking with the swim hero, came true.

In a ten-minute phone conversation, Phelps encouraged Johnny to continue to dream, and pursue his future goal of walking the last mile of racing at the Ironman Championship in Kona, Hawaii.


This exchange between 23-time Gold Medal winner and disabilities advocate highlights my “why” and our agency “why”. Because when you build a brand, you’re building a family’s legacy. You’re dealing with more than just impressions, market share, and profit margins. When you work with a brand, you work with people.

And these people have dreams. They have fears. And they are inviting us to sit at the intersection.

It’s why we launch each project with a “discovery” session. We ask. We listen. We absorb.

And then we create. We create knowing that our work doesn’t just impact a company or 5-year business plan. We create knowing that our work, whether it’s a law firm or a non-profit, impacts people.

Our work impacts Johnny. It impacts his future and his passion. The new website we’re working on for Johnny allows us to help craft a compelling platform for his passion. We get to sit with Johnny and his family. We get to hear their dreams for the project and for the brand. We get to hear their personal dreams.

And I’m beyond grateful to be a part of the work.

 Karen Kasperlik is an Account Manager passionate about communication and creativity.