Donnie Potter: It’s the people at DKY who make it stand out

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DKY is not your typical brand communications agency. Our mascot is a squirrel. We live and thrive in the bold North. We are unassuming and loyal.

At the end of the workday, what makes working at DKY more than a job comes down to two things: people and purpose. In our Ring True Spotlight Series, you’ll get to know more about who we are and the purpose that drives us.

We sat down with our Vice President of Digital Donnie Potter to learn more about who he is and how he’s supported DKY and our clients for nearly 20 years.

Please describe your primary responsibilities and day-to-day work at DKY.

I am responsible for all digital-related projects and deliverables at DKY. My forte is making complex systems simple, intuitive, and enjoyable by putting the customer mindset first.

As a part of my role, I lead a team of talented and digitally minded specialists – both internally and externally through outside partnerships. Together, our collaborative and integrated approach holistically helps solve problems for clients and their customers.

I’m also in charge of all DKY technology, which includes our agency hardware, productivity and communications software, and security systems. I also proudly serve on DKY’s Executive Leadership Team. Together, we set company goals and craft a better future for our agency.

How does your role help support our clients?

To have happy clients, you first need to understand their goals to craft customized, data-supported solutions. All the touch-points and channels a customer will interact with on their customer journey need to be considered, so a strategic approach covering brand, content, and creative should be integrated into the planning and delivery.

Once this framework is established, you can leverage the skills of the specialists assigned to the project.

I’ve learned over the years that once a digital project or campaign launches, that’s only the beginning of the work; then it’s time to test, refine, and build upon the foundation that you’ve built. It’s truly a labor of love.

What has been your favorite/most memorable project at DKY?

There have been so many exciting and wonderful projects that I’ve been blessed to touch during my tenure at DKY, but one that stands out is the ADM Advantage website 1.5 project.

Tim Karlberg (Director of Digital Marketing), Holly Donato (former VP of Content and PR), and I built a war room to flesh out the vision for the overhauled website. There wasn’t a square inch of the whiteboard that wasn’t covered in an outline, a sketch, a timeline, a wireframe, or a sticky note. We played off each other’s strengths, questioned each other’s viewpoints, and pushed each other to deliver a smart, intuitive, and customer-focused experience that I’m extremely proud of still today. Even more importantly, I developed two life-long friends out of the experience, which is even more invaluable.

What is your favorite aspect of working at DKY?

There are numerous talented agencies in the Twin Cities that do fantastic work, but it’s the people at DKY who make it stand out from the crowd. There are so many varying backgrounds from other agencies, fields, and life experiences, and when we all come together under one roof –- magic happens. I think that’s why so many people who find their way to DKY, stay here. It’s all about our DKY family and the relationships that we’ve forged.

What is one fun fact about you?

While I love researching what’s next on the digital horizon, my real passion is getting outdoors and unplugging from it all. I love hiking in the mountains or using my kayak to explore a new lake. I also enjoy woodworking and home remodeling, including making furniture out of reclaimed wood. It’s therapeutic and healthy for me to have interests outside of my daily responsibilities.

What trends or changes are you seeing in the marketing industry?

I have seen a swing from marketing that’s just focused on brand products to a focus on customers and providing them with the helpful information to make informed choices. I’ve noticed a move from telling the customer what they want to hear, to listening to their desires. This is resulting in better product development and stronger relationships.

We have five core values at DKY. Which one is your favorite?

That is a difficult question to answer since all these components embody DKY. Singling one out is like saying, “I like the steering wheel in my car the best” versus I love the experience of driving on the open road. They are all essential and equally important.

How do you live out DKY’s mission: “We Help Good People Build Brands of Great Impact”?

It comes down to asking the right questions at the onset and empowering businesses with the tools they need to tell their unique stories.

We can’t tell an RV manufacturer how to build a better coach, but we can share our marketing expertise to target customers in channels they might be neglecting.

We don’t have the background to help an ag company offer better commodity prices to their producers, but we can build a strategic roadmap to provide the farmers and their sales representatives with educational tools to uncover the best approach to increase crop yield.

And while we can’t create a water-resistant bearing, we can help the manufacturer elevate the story about their engineer who designed and tested the new bearing to compete with the best in the business.

It’s telling the story of the people behind these great companies to the customers they serve.

What advice you would give to a new graduate who is looking to embark on a marketing career?

Be hungry. It’s a competitive market. Be willing to sample different areas of interest and invest the energy to push yourself to do more than check the box.

Keep your eyes open and determine where your true passion lies. Surround yourself with smart people who have a shared goal.

If you find yourself at a fork in the road, don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself or learn a new skill. Every life experience builds upon the last and makes you a more interesting and more valuable person and colleague.

What is your dream vacation OR how would you spend an unexpected day of PTO?

If you had asked two years ago, I would have said taking a trip to Europe to explore the Old World, but given the unprecedented times we’re living in, I would more than settle for hiring a babysitter and taking a long weekend getaway out west with my wife.

Interested in joining #TeamDKY? View our open positions.

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