Thrive + Inspire: Brands Can’t ‘Sit on the Sidelines,’ Says Madhouse’s Profilet

AN INTERVIEW WITH Maddie Profilet, Founder & CEO of Madhouse Media

What were your biggest challenges of 2020? Picking the most inopportune time, I sauntered away from Silicon Valley with the dream of consulting full time at Madhouse Media — my boutique marketing agency — in 2019. Then Covid happened (new least-favorite phrase?). By the grace of whomever you pray to, Madhouse Media grew. Small businesses and other clients with our help flourished, too.


How did Madhouse Media adjust and overcome obstacles? How did you reset? It's all about changing strategy on a dime, while providing brands with a competitive edge. During the chaos, our role evolved into that of a strategic advisor, shaping flexible marketing strategies or offering Covid-related guidance.

We had to create a fresh framework for client growth — new distribution channels, market segments, product offerings, communication approaches — throwing out yearly plans to get a campaign ready in two weeks, cohesively putting a million marketing pieces together, pushing boundaries.

What did you learn about your business or your community that might inspire others? Never before have we connected and collaborated so creatively. SMB's, local shops, families and friends embraced tools used already by enterprise organizations. It's amazing how resourceful we have become. Restaurants synonymous with experimentation showed a willingness to drive innovation in order to survive. You can't hug family, but a socially distanced picnic makes it a little better. Via webcam, a friend of mine hosted piano concertos. Another, tasting parties. And that has bred a new sense of coming together.

What do people not know about you? Growing up, shyness and sensitivity shaped me. Those traits are now an asset. I'm very empathetic, always tuned in to surroundings. Disruption also runs in this Aquarian's blood. A dose of empathy combined with perception and ahead-of-the-pack expertise means I'll take calculated risks.

What's the secret to staying hopeful and forward-looking in tough times? Big picture: Change brings transformative ideas. Marketing's role will continue to evolve. We must create authentic conversations, and take on civic and even philanthropic roles. In this crazy world, it's no longer okay for brands to sit on the sidelines. We must take a stance, and being able to do just that makes me happy. Volunteer work keeps me grounded, hopeful. I'm proud to be a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters, fundraise for Animal Justice League, and serve on the Board of Directors of the Doug Miller & Don Sanders Scholarship Fund.

Seeing customers succeed reigns supreme. One Madhouse client became the glam go-to during the pandemic; ultimately earning status as Best Salon by the Houston Chronicle thanks to solid customer safety and satisfaction efforts. Understanding the value of marketing: Advertisements kept running; at-home hair color could be custom-ordered for curbside pickup; a lot of how-to videos were made. Consistent updates on all imaginable channels — social, email, print, web — kept customers in the know and beauty booming.

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