Written by The Business Journal Staff
Boling Associates Advertising • NewMedia • Fine Arts
A 1968 Fresno High grad, I went to the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree with Honors in Industrial Design and Graphic Design.
Age: A hard-earned 61
Family: I have been married to my wife Jan for nearly 42 years. She is my partner in Boling Associates and heads up account services, events and media planning.
Delaney, my oldest son, is the social media director and copywriter at Boling Associates. He and his wife Amy live in Clovis and are expecting their second child — our first granddaughter.
Christopher, my youngest son, is the chief strategic officer at the agency, piloting new media programs, web and eCommerce. He and his wife MaryAnn (finances/accounting) live in Clovis and have two little boys.
What’s your background in the advertising industry, Brad?
Following college, my wife and I moved back to Fresno for an agency job that lasted exactly six weeks. After working for another agency, I decided that it was time to look for a “bigger pond.” That pond was Houston, where I worked as the senior communications coordinator for the Petroleum Services Group of Dresser Industries. During this time, I developed a taste for the demanding aspects of commercial, industrial and agribusiness marketing. But the West Coast called. Returning to Fresno, I started Boling Associates in 1980.
What is your job at Boling Associates, Brad?
I am president and senior creative director of the firm.
What do you like most about the job, Brad?
Advertising is a fluid business; every day brings a new challenge and a new opportunity. Priorities change, deadlines shift, meetings spring up. If one has the right personality, it’s invigorating; otherwise it could be exasperating.
What sets your advertising and marketing business apart from other advertisers and marketers in the area, Brad?
Our hyper-drive is service. Our fuel is creativity. As a multi-generational family business, agency principals are always available for our customers.
How has your business been able to survive when many other advertising agencies have closed, Brad?
We are constantly in a state of reassessment and change, recognizing that our clients’ needs will shift and we must respond in turn. Our client base is well established, with some accounts dating back 30 years. Being there for them in their dark hours builds a loyalty that is a two-way street.
What kind of changes have you seen in the advertising and marketing business over the past five to 10 years, Brad?
Let’s take it back farther. When I first went into advertising in 1970, it was much like “Mad Men.” Design was done on layout pads, copy was written on Selectrics, production art was glued-down-photos and type galleys. All that changed in 1984 with the advent of the Macintosh. Overnight, creatives had more power and more latitude. Sound ideas could be fleshed out quicker and weak ideas could be discarded without remorse. The second quantum shift occurred about ten years ago, with the dawn of the social media age. Communication was no longer static and not limited to print media or the time-limitations of electronic media.
What are some of the things we will see more of in advertising and marketing over the next five years, Brad?
I’m expecting a maturing of the social media phenomenon and an evolution of enhanced new media offerings. Marketing communications will appear in unexpected places as advertisers’ media costs will include hard-wiring their message to help defray the cost of digital devices. Targeted media will become even more refined, providing less media backwash and an improved ROI.
What is your key business strategy, Brad?
Pay attention to the details. Analyze each campaign. Provide guidance while always realizing that the client will ultimately live with the final decision.
What is the best way to keep your competitive edge, Brad?
Embrace change. Cast aside obsolete technologies and strategies. Learn something new each day and apply it to the issues at hand.
What is the best business advice you received, Brad?
“Uncle Nicky,” our guru, business counselor and dear friend, pointed out early in the business’s history that although we provide a tangible product to our customers, what we really sell is “trust.”
What was your first job, Brad?
Putting down floor tile for Fresno City Schools during my summer breaks.
What do you like to do in your spare time, Brad?
I am a firm believer that Fresno is home to so many creative talents and artists. The caliber of work being done here is amazing. I wanted to be a part of this revitalization in the arts community. So, a year ago, we remodeled our building and added two fully functional art galleries that we use to showcase emerging artists during ArtHop North. Meeting and working with the creative community is very rewarding.
How do you give back to the community you serve, Brad?
We believe in utilizing our skills and resources for a common good and taking the time to utilize resources in order to make life in our hometown better. Over the years, we have endorsed, supported and provided many needed services for a wide variety of community-based organizations. For the past 11 years, we have worked with the CSUF Viticulture and Enology Alumni Association to produce A Celebration of Wine — a fund raising program that benefits the Viticulture/Enology Research Library and helps fund student scholarships. Recently, we have been donating our services to The ARC Fresno — a dynamic organization that serves the developmentally disabled with compassion and encouragement.