Purpose-Driven Branding Agency, Johnson & Sekin, Expands their Footprint to Denver with the Launch of Camp Purpose

Johnson & Sekin Camp Purpose

DALLAS and DENVERNov. 30, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Johnson & Sekin, a purpose-driven branding and advertising agency creating impact for brands and causes, announced today their expansion to the Denver region with the launch of Camp Purpose, an immersive workshop experience tailored around the discovery of purpose for brands, teams, and organizations. Located on the mountainside in Pine, Colorado, the 34-acre property, known as Meadow Creek, will serve as Johnson & Sekin’s first-ever satellite office outside of Dallas and as the off-site location for teams from around the country to travel to and experience Camp Purpose.

“We are incredibly proud to be making this investment in the Denver region,” said Chris Sekin, co-founder of Johnson & Sekin. “For more than twelve years, we’ve brought purpose-driven campaigns to life for our national and local partners, their employees, and customers. Camp Purpose allows us to scale that impact to more companies, enabling teams and individuals to do their best and most fulfilling work in their career and in life.”

Part experiential retreat and part strategic brainstorm, Camp Purpose is a defining experience where leaders and team members connect for multiple consecutive days at Meadow Creek. Camp Purpose is led by an experienced branding and positioning team that coordinates a custom multi-day experience for teams to get a fresh perspective, create new connections, and walk away inspired to build a better future.

“The world looks different today because the pandemic changed all of us,” said Kat Kornegay, chief purpose officer at Johnson & Sekin. “Camp Purpose offers a new approach to company impact, employee culture, and social issues through guided conversations and creates a space where people can speak their minds freely. We’ve spent our careers helping organizations find their purpose and we have seen firsthand the impact that defining purpose can have on a growing business. We are excited to launch this new offering and expand our purpose-driven impact and reach around the world.”

Founded in 2008, Johnson & Sekin has built a trusted name in the advertising industry through their award-winning work with big-name brands such as Caliber Collision, JCPenney, Fossil, and Chili’s. The agency has also led initiatives to raise awareness for the American Heart Association, The John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health, Genesis Women’s Shelter, and the National Down Syndrome Society. Their expansion to Denver follows the agency’s growing presence in the Colorado region, working with brands like Local Hive Honey, Butterfly Pavilion, and Boyer’s Coffee to create a more sustainable future.

About Johnson & Sekin
Johnson & Sekin is a purpose-driven advertising agency focused on helping brands articulate and amplify their purpose, both internally and externally. Led by distinguished creatives, Kent Johnson and Chris Sekin, the agency channels a passion for people, purpose, and unexpected ideas to fulfill its mission of growing good. Founded in 2008, Johnson & Sekin has become a trusted name in the advertising industry, earning countless awards for their work driving impact across a variety of industries including consumer packaged goods, restaurants, automotive, arts & entertainment, higher education, and nonprofits. For more information, visit johnsonandsekin.com.

SOURCE Johnson & Sekin

Observations from the dining room table

By Emily Florio

Like all of us, I was not prepared to spend the spring in quarantine. I was not prepared to have two adults working in my home. And I was definitely not prepared to homeschool my kindergartener. I have been worried about my aging parents, terrified for my family in New York and missing my weekly coffee dates with friends. But between cooking nineteen meals a day, managing a triangulation of Zoom calls and trying to maintain minimum standards of organization, I can’t help being held captive by the stories filling my social media feeds. I can’t turn off my news alerts from dozens of media outlets. I battle rising anxiety with each click, every scroll and every breaking news alert. And I know I am not alone, but when I saw this alert hit my email, I was still shocked by the toll this year has taken on society’s mental health.

Pandemic Causes Spike in Anxiety & Depression

And this data was gathered just a week after the beginning of national coverage of Ahmaud Arbery’s murder. Before George Floyd was murdered. Before the tsunami of necessary coverage of police brutality, systematic racism and protests that is awakening public consciousness to the realities of our country.

To battle this anxiety so that I can face and stay actively engaged in this new and overwhelming reality, I force myself to focus on the good that is coming. To think about the ways we will be shaped, the ways we will grow and the learnings we will take forward as we come into this next season.

Google says it takes 66 days to form a new habit. We are now approximately 68 days into our quarantine routine. Here are the habits I hope we keep.

There’s no place like Home.  Searches for single family homes and townhomes have increased 40 percent since March. The number of searches for homes with pools has tripled and searches for outdoor space has doubled1. In the first weeks of the second quarter, Wayfair sales have increased 90 percent versus last year2. Yelp searches for Mortgage Lenders are up 82 pecent3.

Being locked in a house for months will certainly make you appreciate a spare room or a bigger backyard. And it’s certainly harder to ignore the Honey-do List when you can’t leave the house. But we’ve also enjoyed more meals together, played board games, built blanket forts in our living room and snuggled up in bed for mid-morning reading time. Having no commute, happy hours, soccer games or trips to the playground has given us time to reshape our priorities and forced us to rebalance our lives. And while I long for the days when I can send my daughter on carefree playdates, there is a part of me that has fallen deeply in love with the home we’ve created. And my flower beds look amazing.

Just be outside. Google searches for inflatable pools has increased over 400 percent since March. Burpee & Co sold more seed than any time in its 144-year history in March4. And over 82% of surveyed individuals indicate they will stay engaged in outdoor activities as restrictions lift5.

My mother now walks almost three miles every morning. After living in my neighborhood for over a year, I finally know each of my neighbors on the entire block. We’ve gotten our bikes out of the garage for hours-long rides. My daughter’s favorite “science class” is observing and classifying leaves and rocks during our evening walks. There is overwhelming research supporting the benefits of outdoor activities for childhood brain development as well as research supporting outdoor activities to reduce stress and anxiety and elevate mood. There are even numerous studies that have reported restorative benefits for patients suffering from PTSD and major depression6. As the summer promises to be filled with more anxiety-inducing headlines, I hope we all we’re all lucky enough to continue falling in love with Mother Nature.

The new office. In 2019, a Gallup poll noted that 39% of workers were working off-site at least some of the time. As of April, that figure had jumped to 62% of people working full-time off-site, making this time, “the world’s largest work from home experiment7.” The Cloud, Zoom, Slack, Teams—the process of the digital revolution was fast-tracked by COVID. During a recent meeting with analysts, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that COVID-19 accelerated two years of digital transformation in only two months. MSTeams hosted a record 200 million participants in a single day during the last quarter and active daily users surged to 75 million. Zoom recently claimed 300 million active daily users8.

I’ve been speaking with team leaders across multiple industries. Even the most skeptical leaders are surprised by the ease with which their teams transitioned to work from home. More than half even noted an actual increase in productivity and responsiveness. With modern office space not designed for social distancing and a vaccine still 12-18 months away, many leaders are taking a “wait and see” approach to coming back to the office.

Here at J&S, Chris and Kent have advised teams not to worry about coming back to the office in the immediate future; only when and if they feel completely comfortable doing so. I am looking forward to returning to the camaraderie of the office…and escaping the chaos of working with a kindergartner interrupting every 3.8 minutes. But I am grateful for the flexibility of remote working and for the empowering of the workforce to responsibly manage workloads.

Savings are a necessity. As of December 2019, 70 percent of Americans had less than $1,000 in savings, almost half of that number had none9. And then came COVID. As of May 21st, 43 million American workers had filed for federal assistance—that is one in four US workers in 10 weeks10. One in four Americans have tapped their retirement accounts11. Dramatic images of lines at food banks illustrate the desperation of the aforementioned financial figures. Anna Kurian, senior communications director at the North Texas Food Bank, says they’ve distributed 6 million pounds of food in about a month, compared to 1.5 million pounds in the prior two months11.

We have created an entire generation that knows what it means, what it really feels like, to have no money. My grandmother—born 10 years before the Great Depression—keeps one credit card she pays off monthly, paid for her house and cars with cash and still steals all the sugar packets at restaurants. Financial planners have long advised to have three months of expenses in savings. Instead of viewing savings like a luxury, saving accounts now feel like emergency essential to be listed alongside batteries and flashlights. Consumer spending dropped over 13 percent in April. Conversely, the rate of Americans increasing their personal savings hit a record 33 percent12. Luckily, my grandmother taught me how to wash, fold and store aluminum foil. Greater awareness and appreciation of resources feels like a positive habit to hold onto.

Technology shapes us. We hosted my grandmother’s 101st birthday via Zoom. Online grocery sales have grown over 40 percent in five weeks13 and Americans have increased their mobile and streaming video use by more than 40 minutes14. But technology also drives inequalities. 40 percent of kids from low income families and 35 percent of kids in special education are doing little to no remote learning. 83% of kids from America’s wealthiest families are doing it daily15. School systems rushed to buy laptops for students and even converted school buses into mobile wifi hotspots. But Paul Reville from the Harvard Graduate School of Education recently stated, “students without access to education of quality will be at an enormous disadvantage for years to come.16

Connecting to family, remote work, distance learning, online religious services, exercise classes, grocery shopping, entertainment and even medical services have all been transformed by the pandemic. Almost every aspect of modern American life has shifted online. Adoption of technology and online services has accelerated by almost two years in 6 weeks17. And given this is an acceleration of adoption trends and not a change to the technology landscape, we can expect these behaviors to hold steady and continue to increase even after restrictions are eased. The question of the role of technology in our daily lives—how much is too much?—has been tabled for the foreseeable future. The necessity to capture, maximize and solidify relationships with customers in the digital space has never been more vital. The opportunity to differentiate a brand via experience and purpose has never been greater.

We are living through a global pandemic, historic unemployment and economic insecurity, racial equality and social justice protests …. and it’s only June. We still face what will most certainly be a divisive election season, racial social reckoning and justice, the fall flu and virus season, re-opening of schools and continuing economic hardship. There will be many more lessons learned in 2020. Many more challenges to overcome. Brands that use challenges to innovate, that embrace changing consumer behaviors and brands that follow their purpose to engage and strengthen relationships with stakeholders will survive and flourish in 2020.

In the meantime, take a walk outside, check on your friends, wash your hands and stay healthy!

  1. compass.com
  2. Q1 2020 Wayfair, Inc. earnings report
  3. Yelp: Coronavirus Economic Impact Report
  4. Reuters “Home gardening blooms around the world during coronavirus lockdowns”
  5. May 2020 CGPR Study
  6. Psychology Today “Nature’s Role in Mental Illness” September 2019
  7. Gallup Remote Working Trends, April 24, 2020
  8. Forbes, “How Zoom Doomed the Airlines” May 26, 2020
  9. GOBankingRates’ 2019 savings survey
  10. S. Department of Labor
  11. Vox “The Current Hunger Crisis in the US” May 9, 2020
  12. BankRate April 2020 savings survey
  13. S. Department of Commerce
  14. Coresight Research U.S. Online Grocery Survey 2020
  15. eMarketer US 2020 Media report April 2020
  16. ParentsTogether via SurveryMonkey as reported by NPR
  17. The Harvard Gazette, “Time to fix American Education” April 2020

Purpose-Driven Marketing, Guac on the Side

Coronavirus is re-shaping our world. While people are modifying the way they shop, work and date, companies are pivoting with purpose. Breweries are creating hand sanitizer. Restaurants are delivering free food to front-line workers. Gyms are taking their fitness offerings online and countless retailers are offering DIY face masks as we struggle to measure the gravity of the situation we face.

Some purposeful contributions come in the form of levity and escapism, which is just as important for our health. Our client, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, known for great food, fun, and making every day badass, had an opportunity to combine their mission and irreverent personality with a new way of communicating in the days of Coronavirus. Enter “Two Screens. One Date.”

In this digital age, it is easier than ever to date. Dates via Match, eHarmony, Farmers Only [judge if you will], and Tinder are all a click or a swipe away. But with a worldwide pandemic impacting every facet of life, dating has dramatically changed. Coffee dates and movie meet-ups have given way to FaceTime hang-outs, Zoom calls and even vintage phone call dates. It’s a different world we’re living in.

Through Instagram and Facebook, we drove our fans to the “Two Screens. One Date.” landing page where they can get fun, randomized quarantine dating ideas, and of course, order delicious Fuzzy’s tacos. It’s nothing complicated, but neither is Fuzzy’s approach to food and the laid-back way of life.

We talk a lot about purpose at J&S. It is the foundation on which we build strategies and develop our work. What we’ve learned is purpose can manifest itself in many ways. Sometimes it’s charity or consciousness, but sometimes, like with Fuzzy’s, it’s simply making someone’s day a little bit better. Besides, tacos and dating are a pretty amazing combo. Check it out.

Ring the Bell

I have always believed in doing the right thing for the client. That if I am developing work for the client that solves a problem, I am being the best creative partner. I have also believed that the good guy does always win. Maybe not in the sprint, but always over the long distance. That is why the principles of purpose-driven marketing resonate with me on such a deep professional and personal level.

Our agency has had the privilege to partner with Caliber Collision for almost a decade. Over the years, our marketing efforts have had an unwavering focus on the vital role their teammates play in fulfilling Caliber’s purpose, Restoring the Rhythm of Your Life®. It is no coincidence that Caliber is now the nation’s largest collision repair company. We’ve seen the power of purpose in shaping a brand across every touchpoint and with every stakeholder. It’s this first-hand experience that has crystalized Chris’ and my commitment to purpose-driven branding and marketing. We advocate for this approach with every client and every brand.

Our commitment to purpose-driven marketing has only been strengthened in the past few months. Crisis has a way of sharpening your focus, rewarding ingenuity and repaying persistence. Companies that embrace their core purpose to lead decisions and guide relationships with stakeholders will see greater rewards, lower employee attrition, more long-term investors and tighter connections with their communities.

At the beginning of this year, our friends at Pecan Lodge were preparing for a celebration. Ten years ago, Justin and Diane Fourton left their high-pressure careers in business consulting to spend more time focused on the things they love the most—their family, food and community. And for the past decade, Pecan Lodge has grown, won faithful customers and received endless accolades. They decided the best way to celebrate this achievement was to launch a non-profit foundation to share their success with their neighbors.

And then COVID came to Dallas and thousands of local restauranteurs faced business closures, terrified employees and questions about keeping their businesses alive. Justin and Diane faced this pivotal moment in their family business by looking inward, focusing on why this business was so important to them, and doing some soul-searching on why Pecan Lodge should survive this crisis. And it took them no time to realize, Pecan Lodge’s purpose is to serve.

Justin and Diane reached out to Chris and our team with their idea. Of course, we were eagerly on board because our purpose at Johnson & Sekin is to grow good. This was an opportunity to live out our purpose by serving that of our client’s. Chris made introductions to his niece’s charity organization who works to assist first responders. Within days Justin and Diane launched their non-profit, The Dinner Bell Foundation, to fulfill Pecan Lodge’s purpose during the COVID crisis. Their mission is twofold: to feed first responders on the front lines in Dallas and to provide supplemental bridge funding to independently owned local restaurants. The Dinner Bell Foundation is serving meals to healthcare workers, fire fighters and police officers. They are keeping their employees working and their vendor partners, competition and friends viable. In short, Dinner Bell is ensuring a vibrant, local restaurant community will be a part of Dallas’ recovery.

Our team created the logo, messaging, website and social media footprint to support the foundation. We leveraged our relationships in Dallas, as well as with our clients to secure the first significant corporate donors for the foundation. This included the online dating service, Match, who gave—and matched, of course—a generous donation. Our friends at Local Hive Honey surprised us with a monetary and honey donation as well. And while both donations were given selflessly, these organizations received an abundance of PR and goodwill. This is proof that serving your purpose and supporting other organizations in theirs results in the growth of good for all.

Learn how you or your company can help serve our community at dinnerbellfoundation.org

I believe purpose defines who we are as individuals. And I believe in the power of purpose to accelerate businesses. A clearly articulated purpose empowers your business to quickly and seamlessly adapt to disruptions and challenges. While no business is immune from struggle, purpose provides the framework to make decisions and recover quickly from mistakes, while maintaining a consistent brand voice with employees, customers, investors, vendor partners and the community. It is this purpose that enables results in greater value for all stakeholders.

Johnson & Sekin is committed to helping brands discover, articulate and amplify their purpose. Our team has worked with clients big and small across a wide spectrum of industries, and our greatest success stories emerge when we partner to elevate the brand’s purpose. Clients like Justin and Diane are the reason we face tomorrow with optimism and energy for the work we will do together as a team and as friends.

A Message from Chris & Kent

Hello Friends and Neighbors—

Here at J&S, we’re doing our part to flatten the curve. We’re working from home until the CDC gives the all clear. In the meantime, we’ll be communicating with each other and with each of you on email, text, Skype, Slack, FaceTime, MS Teams and good old-fashioned phone calls. We’re checking in on each other, clients, partners and friends. Sharing ideas, offering support, reassuring anxieties and sharing hand sanitizer.

We’re ready for this challenge. Kim Flores, our Director of Happiness, is on a mission to make sure we – and our clients – all have the support and the services we need for our professional and personal needs and for our emotional wellbeing.

So how are you? How are your teams? How can we help? During these extraordinary times we know you might have a question or a special challenge that needs immediate attention. We’re here to offer advice, provide quick turn creative ideas and connect you with resources. We’re not worried about billable hours right now. We just want to make sure our community and friends have every resource they need to be safe and ready to flourish when this challenge has passed.

Shakespeare wrote King Lear while quarantined. We can’t wait to see what creative genius comes next!


Hire Education: Judging the National Student Show

Spending two days locked in a warehouse with strangers sounds like the beginning of a horror movie, but it was actually the makings of a fantastic weekend.

The Dallas Society of Visual Communications invited Creative Director Krista McCrimmon, along with photographer Christina Childress, illustrator Laura Freeman, and designers Trevor Bassett and Devin O’Bryan, to judge the best-of-the-best student design work for the National Student Show & Conference. The judging team ultimately awarded the students more than $20,000 in scholarships and cash prizes.

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone at OK Paper (and their not-actually-terrifying warehouse), the DSVC and the NSSC for the opportunity to participate, as well as the chance to scope some stellar talent. Check this space for new hires in 3…2…


Emily Florio Joins J+S as Director of Data & Insights

Emily Florio, our new Director of Data & Insights, comes to us after 15+ years as VP, Strategy & Marketing Communications at JCPenney. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in brand strategy and research consultancy, and a wealth of unapologetically bold opinions that keep us on our toes. A longtime friend of the agency, we’re thrilled for Emily to finally be an official member of J+S. Welcome to the team!.




Serving is the Greatest Good

The greatest gift is being able to give back. We ended the year clocking some hours prepping and serving lunch for patrons of Dallas’ homeless outreach center (and our downtown neighbors) The Stewpot. The Stewpot is the sole meal provider of The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center, which serves 1,000 meals a day, seven days a week, to homeless and underprivileged Dallas residents.

If you’re interested in volunteering, sign up at this link: https://thestewpot.org/meal-services-volunteering

More than $225,000 Raised to Fight MS

For the sixth consecutive year, Johnson & Sekin produced a suite of creative for Meat Fight, a non-profit organization whose various BBQ competitions raise money to fight Multiple Sclerosis. Each year’s events get bigger, better and more elaborate, and 2019 was no exception, with the meaty main event raising more than $225,000 for people living with MS.

The infamous entity began in 2010 after founder Alice Laussade’s brother was diagnosed with MS. Since 2010, Meat Fight has donated over $1.7 million to the National MS Society.