Before Who…Why!

by Arnie Malham | November 1, 2011

In theme with our last client conference, I have come to truly believe in the theory of “First Who, Then What.” However, in this letter, I will take that concept a step further by coining the phrase, “Before Who…Why!”

Why! does your firm exist?

Why! does cj Advertising exist?

Why! does anyone build or care about the business they do?


If your initial answer is “to make money,” I would challenge you to go deeper. Making money may be the result of hard work and drive toward your goals, but it is seldom the true answer to “Why!” Rarely can any amount of money be worth the challenges we face or the long hours we take from our lives and families to invest in our businesses.

Why! have so many of you been so successful over the years?

Why! are your still excited about your business and profession?

Why! do you get up every day?

And Why! do some of your daily responsibilities leave you invigorated while others exhaust?

I woke up the other day and realized that I have personally been engaged in the law firm branding and response generation business for over 20 years. I’m only 44, so that is obviously a considerable part of my life. It begs a closer look at Why!

I have a passion for the underdog. I hate bullies. I typically have a viral reaction when I deem a situation to be “unfair.” I love different and believe different is better than good. I revel in the opportunity to solve unique problems that change the game. cj Advertising expresses my “Why!” through our stated purpose of “Empowerment” and defines it as helping others achieve more together than anyone dreamed individually. Our purpose drives our people, our processes, and our decisions. Our purpose powers our success and our spirit, and keeps our hearts engaged.

Jimmy and I began working with law firms on their marketing in 1991, while I was still at WTVF. cj Advertising become official in 1995 and has been working with firms to build brands and create response ever since.  The fruit of this labor has resulted in over 1.5 million “Empowerment” opportunities and an agency that affects thousands of lives every day. What’s your passion? And what is the result?

In short, what’s your Why!?


“Suddenly I realized that Arnie had been working with our firm longer than anyone else at the table, including me.”

–Chris Roberts at the Crumley Roberts 2011 annual strategic retreat