Ron Tite has been named one of the “Top 10 Creative Canadians” by Marketing Magazine, Ron has always blurred the lines between art and commerce. He has been an award-winning advertising Creative Director for some of the world’s most respected brands including Air France, Evian, Fidelity, Hershey, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft, Intel, Microsoft, Volvo and many others.
He is the Founder and CEO of Church+State, a Toronto-based marketing agency, Editor in Chief of The Business Casual, and Publisher of This is That Travel Guide to Canada – a best-selling, award-winning satirical book from the creators of CBC Radio’s hit show, This Is That.
He has written for a number of Television shows. Penned a children’s book. Wrote, produced and performed the hit play, The Canadian Baby Bonus. And was Executive Producer & Host of the award-winning comedy show Monkey Toast. In demand as a speaker on disruption, innovation, creativity and content marketing, Ron speaks to leading organizations all over the world about “Think. Do. Say.”, his own take on modern business.
Juggling Multiple Roles
Being in the public speaking business, Ron is used to being introduced by someone else, but when asked to introduce himself, Ron admits that it took him by surprise.
“I used to proudly say I’m a comedian, or a comedian who works in advertising, or I’m a creative director… now there’s just so many… I think I referred to myself as a plate spinner. You know those people who balance up to 20 plates and they just spin the plates? That’s what I kinda do”
Improvisation as a Way of Life
That may sound like a wishy-washy way to describe himself to some, but that’s exactly the best way to describe Ron. From doing stand-up comedy to shooting commercials to writing books and building businesses, Ron has tried more things than what the average person can probably dare imagine, and he attributes a part of it to the lessons he learned from his improvisation career.
“In improv, you don’t know where the scene is going to go. When I started this business of Church + State, I didn’t know where it was gonna go… I was really, really comfortable in just the iterative process and finding out where this thing goes.”
Expectations vs Reality
When asked about what made him give up his previous career to start his own business, Ron replied with, “I wanted to change the way ad agencies approach clients’ problems,” which was a noble idea — except for the fact that he didn’t really know what to expect.
He said he just knew that he would have to quit so he would be forced to reinvent himself and the way he does things, and it did work for a while. His public speaking business initially paid for the expenses of the agency until the time to pay employees their first salary came and he discovered that their company didn’t have the funds to do that.
Ron said that this left him at a loss. He freely admits that he knew nothing about finances. In fact, he’s well too aware of that fact that he was ready to shut the business down after six months if things didn’t go well.
He then relayed the story of how one of his first employees, after overhearing him discussing the problem with a colleague, offered not take on any salary for a few weeks while they were sorting things out. [Text Wrapping Break][Text Wrapping Break]This made him realized that the business was no longer just about him. He’s always felt grateful to the people who wholeheartedly placed their trust on him, so it’s now his responsibility to not let them down.
The Rainbow After the Rain
As a comedian, Ron has mastered the art of finding the positive side of everything — including that of his initial business failures. When asked how he does this, he said that the key is honesty.
Ron explains that people often get the impression that improv guys just come up with ideas on the spot all the time, but few know how much time and effort they can spend on rehearsing dialogues and rehashing them over and over again until they become suitable for the audience’s consumption.
Parting Advice for People Struggling in Their Chosen Paths
“Never ignore the reality of the room.” It will always be there for everyone to see anyway, so the sooner you acknowledge it, the sooner you will be able to find ways to fix it.
Also, always try your best to explore additional options — even the ones that you might not necessarily like. Opportunities rarely ever come knocking on your door so you have to seek them out. He’s really grateful that he was
Ron has many favorite books but there is one that he credits with changing his life, and it’s John Irving’s The Imaginary Girlfriend.
It’s basically the story of someone who was made to believe that he cannot do something because of his background and how he persevered to carve his own path in life — a story that Ron said he connected with on a personal level as a former wrestler and a published author like John Irving himself.
If you wish to know more about Ron and his business, just head over to www.rontite.comor
084: Think. Do. Say. with Ron Tite