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Grill the Arsonist: Lynn
March 27, 2017 | Alyssa Willey

Lynn Manternach, MindFire Communications, Grill the Arsonist

In this month’s edition of Grill the Arsonist we’re talking to one of the founders of MindFire – Dr. Lynn Manternach.  Lynn was a journalism hot shot who grew to love research and ended up in advertising! One of her (many!) roles at MindFire is to spearhead our clients’ research projects. And that’s pretty important. As we like to say: “Nothing helps you focus your brand like research.”

Let’s get the full scoop on Lynn!

MindFire is in its 9th year – ever thought you’d be running an agency that’s nearly 10 years old and employs 16?

In a word, no. I love what I do, but I’m still not quite sure how I ended up here. My background includes television news, teaching, consumer research, advertising and bartending (not necessarily in that order). My path to agency ownership may be atypical, but every career experience I had along the way has been beneficial.

Research and advertising – a bit of an odd combination. Please explain!

I’m a former journalist who decided to pursue a masters and Ph.D. with a plan to eventually teach in the higher education realm. I got hooked on research as a grad student.

My first job as Dr. Lynn was conducting primary research with consumers about brands and media. It was fascinating. But I wanted a chance to finish connecting the dots by translating the research into communications strategy and guiding it through the implementation process. Working for a research-based advertising and branding agency is the perfect place to make that happen.

MindFire was started in 2007 – the height of the economic crisis. Interesting timing! Want to make it extra hard on yourself?

It was actually the perfect time to launch MindFire – but it didn’t feel like it at the time. As the economy declined, businesses were forced to reassess their marketing expenditures. MindFire’s model was differentiated by a focus on measuring what matters, which is exactly what marketing managers needed to justify their existence in challenging economic times. Our approach, in combination with smart creative ideas and the fact that we were digitally-savvy and nimble, gave us a solid advantage over more-established agencies at the time.

What do you like most about MindFire?

The people. We’ve assembled a great team of smart and talented Arsonists. They are some of the best in the business, and are relentlessly focused on making a positive impact for our clients. I also love the chance to work with and learn from our amazing clients.

You spend quite a bit of time in your car driving to and from Le Claire – what’s on your radio?

I use my drive time as think time as much as possible. It’s hard to find a quiet moment in the office with constant emails and phone calls. The radio is rarely on during my 90-minute drive from Cedar Rapids to Le Claire. If I need a distraction on my return trip, it’s 80s and 90s college rock, turned up inappropriately loud with the sun roof open whenever possible.

We understand you’ve got a little thing for margaritas – how did that develop?

Mmmm. Tequila. I didn’t really like margaritas until I started to explore good quality tequila. It’s all about the right combination of ingredients.

It’s your lucky day – here’s my favorite margarita recipe:

3 ounces 100% agave blanco tequila (I prefer Patron or Don Julio)

1.5 ounces Cointreau

2 ounces orange juice

Pour over a shaker of ice

Add the juice of one lime and a splash of water and give it a good shake to chill

Strain into two glasses with ice and a salted rim

Add a lime wheel to each glass

Enjoy!

How much of MindFire’s success do you attribute to luck, and how much of it to talent and hard work?

I’d say it’s equal parts hard work, luck and talent. But it’s also about the right mix of talent. I co-founded MindFire with two incredibly talented partners – Erik Meade and Mike Smith. They are the creative geniuses that really brought the fire to the MindFire brand.

Visit our team page to meet the rest of the Arsonists!

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