2015 40Under40 Winner: Adam Padilla

Adam Padilla, President and Chief Creative Officer, Brandfire

Meet the candid artist and cofounder behind Brandfire, a branding agency that turned a profit within its first year of opening. Whether designing T-shirts in Long Island or working as creative director for the Nets, Padilla consistently prioritizes quality over cost. Starting as a freelancer in the early 2000s, Padilla helped to craft the branding for Pretzel Crisps, whose owners sold it for $300 million. Years later his three-year-old agency is crafting brands for names like Run-D.M.C. and Tom Brady. Turning his branding expertise toward charity, Padilla ran a direct marketing campaign for Universal Aid for Children Ukraine that led to the most successful donation in the charity’s 20-year history.

Defining moment: Moving and building the office of my dreams this year was a physical manifestation of everyone seeing what I had seen initially. The risk to move paid off, because we signed up some fantastic clients to pay the difference in rent.

Words to live by:  Be authentic to yourself and play to your strengths.

Strategy shift:  Companies with strong social followings engage 24% more consumer base. We pivoted from branding on websites to helping brands have a better voice on social.

Up next: I love the Amazon Buy Button: the dovetailing of consumer technology with tactile hardware presents all different possibilities.

Advice to young marketers:  Never forget that who you’re marketing to aren’t numbers, metrics, or groups on a pie chart; they’re human beings, just like you.

Kristin LaFratta

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