EPISODE #33 || Heidi Singleton, Chief Creative Officer at New Honor Society


Heidi Singleton, Chief Creative Officer at female-led New Honor Society, brings the agency's ethos of "Less Sell, More Soul" to life in this week's episode. Hear about how to differentiate your portfolio, things that tell her a candidate is a good hire, tips on making your voice heard in rooms full of strong ones, and the importance of defining what success looks like in your career.

Heads up: New Honor Society recently launched the #NotSorry campaign in support of International Women's Day. Anyone who wants to participate can download posters, "Sorry Jar" placards, and other materials here.

Topics Discussed

  • Differentiating your portfolio by including things outside of traditional advertising, and showing that you’re able to think outside of categories and brand that you personally love. 
  • The reasons behind the shift from brands focusing on short-term sales to longer-term, values-driven relationships.
  • “Less Sell, More Soul”—the ethos behind New Honor Society, and the power of brands to influence culture in a positive way.
  • What Heidi looks for in jr. portfolios that tells her a candidate is a good hire (hint: it’s not in the portfolio).
  • Tips on how to make your voice heard in rooms where everyone has a strong voice, and how to formulate smart questions.
  • The prioritization of community and agency culture in the St. Louis ad scene, and the importance of defining what success looks like in your career.

Mic Drops

“The reality is, you’re going to be working on products and categories that you know nothing about, that maybe don’t seem very exciting. But you can still do amazing things with those brands, and genuinely help consumers with those brands. And if you can, even if it’s proactively, show that you’re able to think inside of categories that aren’t close to your heart and to your own experiences, that really goes a long way.”

“...we look for critical thinkers. We look for young people who question everything, and don’t just answer the assignment the way it’s always been answered. They really think about how can we do something different? Is there something deeper here? Is there something more meaningful that I can be doing through this assignment?”

"When somebody tells you no, or you can't do that or says that's not going to work—that's just the first answer. And you find another way, and you stay determined. And don't let anybody tell you that something can't be done."

Resources Mentioned

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About Heidi

While most creative leaders are dutifully focused on elevating the creative work, Heidi Singleton is working to elevate the entire marketing industry to be a more welcome and meaningful part of people’s lives, benefiting both brands and the people they serve.

“Less Sell, More Soul” is the mantra behind her branding and marketing start up, New Honor Society, and it’s helped clients like Microsoft, Logitech and Nestlé Dreyer’s create greater engagement and advocacy by behaving more like “people.” 

She starts by uncovering a brand’s soul, and helping the brand live into it authentically – starting with its company leadership and culture. In the past year, Heidi has partnered with Logitech’s CEO and CDO to help infuse more humanity into their brand and products, worked with PayPal cofounder Max Levchin to establish a brand DNA for his new financial startup, Affirm, developed an agency-owned urban farming app, Egglist, and changed the global conversation around safe sex with the launch of the FC2, the first FDA approved female condom.

Heidi began her almost 20-year career as a copywriter for branding boutique, Skuzzio, where she developed new brands for Purina and Miller Brewing Company and launched new products and digital platforms for Motorola, Energizer and Quiznos. She then spent several years at Zipatoni integrating digital and retail marketing efforts for Bacardi and Hallmark, before joining IPG’s Rivet as Creative Director, where she led integrated programs for Splenda, Tylenol and J&J, and launched Dreyer’s social presence on Facebook and Pinterest. 

As she noticed a growing desire for audiences to know a brand to a person, caring more about what they stand for than what they sell, she transformed Rivet from a sales-driven promotion agency to a soul-driven society, New Honor Society.