b2ap3 large lookingbackToday, Integrated Media Strategies is officially four years old, although in real terms, activities began in 2011.  Birthdays provide a milestone in time to think back at where you came from and what the road ahead might bring. Used strategically, reflection has the ability to improve what's working further, cut what isn't and improve practices and habits.

I'd like to thank all my clients for choosing my company; I now count many of you as not just colleagues but also as friends. I've always tried to give the best possible service, along with options and my reasons for a course of action or solution. For my ‪#‎smallbusiness‬ clients, this approach has been empowering, because it has allowed them to factor that thinking into their other strategic decision-making.  Giving options and their implications has also been especially important when I have been called in to consult on and troubleshoot failed communications approaches.

My company has clients here in NC, in various locations in the US, in Canada, the UK, and Africa.  Among my successes I count a statewide advanced manufacturing workforce development initiative that attracted more than $1.8 billion in new capital investments and expansions in rural counties. That project also saw these areas create more than 6,600 jobs - a massive ROI for their communications budget.


It hasn't all been roses and sunshine. I started my company during the Great Recession and lost the love of my life and business partner to cancer. A big part of why I went independent was to be able to have the flexibility to better care for my wife, Cynthia, who's cancer had returned. The place I was working at the time was hostile to caregiving someone with a life-threatening disease. Today would also have been her birthday, so it's a bittersweet day. But these difficulties have taught me powerful lessons that are useful to organizations and have practical implications for their communications outcomes.  And despite these difficulties, Integrated Media Strategies is thriving.

It's been an amazing journey and I've learned a lot along the way. This is despite being a veteran of multiple startups in the media world both here in the US and back in South Africa. We are our network, and among my friends are people I worked with on other startups that include: a morning news & actuality show; the world's first fully-digital national newsroom; several digital newsroom startups here in the US; and chairing a collaborative, multi-agency economic development state marketing committee and another state renewable fuels initiative.  

I've always been the kind of person to give 100%, so it's served me well with hard deadlines and tough calls - and it's given me the ability to genuinely impact the outcomes of my clients in positive ways. I'm sure the next four years will have their challenges - we live in interesting times, after all - but I'm looking forward to it.

If you have a communications need, I have the track record, contact me.

Norman Smit, CEO.

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