Chief Creative Officer Creatably City Orem
Founder/Partner | PillowCube, StairSlide, Bolder Play, Cold Case Ice Cream
“Jokes to create stokes?” Damian Dayton is your guy. Clad in white glasses with a mind full of wildly inventive ideas, he leads as the chief creative officer of Creatably. His imaginative influence also spreads into PillowCube, StairSlide, Bolder Play and Cold Case Ice Cream, where he is a founder and partner alongside Jay Davis (featured in our fall 2023 issue where PillowCube was awarded as UV50’s No. 2 Fastest-Growing Company). Damian was ironically applying to medical schools and working at the Huntsman Cancer Institute when he realized he “was neither very good, nor very passionate” about that path. He closed the curtains on diagnoses and entered scene with a production company. Act I: Producing Emmy-nominated children’s television, feature-length documentaries and the odd corporate video.“I sold my interest to my first partner in 2015, tried it on my own, and eventually joined Jay Davis at Creatably in 2018. We had similar visions, but completely different skill sets.” Those complementary skill sets are giving bold, unforgettable voices to brands across the valley. Quiet on the set — this entrepreneur is giving video marketing a new identity.
GAINING SPEED + CATCHING AIR
There are a lot of great innovators in Utah when it comes to video marketing. Early on, Jay Davis was wise enough to push us to sacrifice profit for quality. We made a name for ourselves (among a field of talented people) for delivering high-value performance.
FIRST SNOWFALL MAGIC
Watching the first comments flood in when we launched PillowCube, it was like, “Our silly videos work!” But it’s the work that’s fulfilling. Every once in a while, filming on a boat in Puerto Rico, convincing a client that they need a trained monkey, or sitting around with friends telling jokes, and looking over at your friends/co-workers and saying, “Can you believe we get paid to do this?”
PillowCube’s videos reaching over a billion views was neat. I recently realized I am doing something I absolutely love, and I am surrounded by people doing different things that they love, and we are making magic together. I have always wanted to be on a winning team, and since I am a horrible athlete, this may be the closest I ever come.
CRASH + BURN
We like to say that our brainstorming room is “a safe place for dangerous ideas” — sometimes bad ideas need just a little love to become great ideas. But we signed this one client, and in our enthusiastic fervor, we were spitting out ideas in volume, and we had one idea that was so very, very bad that we got fired the next day. I don’t want to talk about it. But now I do some filtering, but only a little bit, before sharing an idea.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
I’m not naturally a manager. I want to make everything myself and I want to make everyone happy. Finding people better than me and letting go has been the key to creating greater work.
Naps. I am not a “conquer-the-day” sort of guy, but I find that good ideas often spring up in the fertile earth of the waking mind. Wandering is also important. Staying on task gets things done, but wandering makes good ideas great.
At the office there is a company-wide D&D campaign, and nothing is less-cool than D&D, but we have so much fun. I also love to draw; it develops a new way of imagining that I think is very important. My family and faith are also hugely important in helping me find peace regularly.
Comfort is one of my core values. My winter gear must-have is a fireplace; there is also this small Utah company — Fjellmark — that makes beautiful smokeless tablehearths. I also have a lovely scarf that a friend knitted for me when my mother passed away, and it makes me feel warm and loved.
In general, I think business books are too myopic. I’d rather read fiction. But Daniel Staker just wrote a book called “To Market: How to Give a Damn & Take Things to the Next Level,” and I love that he covers the importance of passion in marketing.
STAY WINTRY COOL
Last year I was asked to dress up as Santa and hop on a firetruck as it drove through the neighborhood. I lost my voice by the end, but I can’t wait to do it again.
It’s the people who matter most. Your company is a baby that will never love you back, but invest in the people and they will return sevenfold. And take a nap. Either you’ll wake up with a solution or the same problem, but you’ll be rested.