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Peter Bolt is the CEO of Camp Jefferson, an advertising agency that helps clients grow their brands. He has over 20 years of experience in marketing in Canada and the US, and has been instrumental in the establishment and growth of numerous successful agencies. Peter has spearheaded Camp Jefferson’s growth, leading it to annual revenues of over $6 million.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [3:57] Understanding Camp Jefferson’s services
  • [6:20] The comprehensive discovery and research process at Camp Jefferson
  • [8:40] The importance of understanding a client’s DNA in brand development
  • [10:30] Matching consumer motivations with brand strategies
  • [11:40] Peter Bolt’s strategy behind employee happiness and engagement
  • [17:12] Identifying the optimal timing to promote your referral program
  • [19:06] How a product or service’s freshness factor plays a crucial role in referrals
  • [25:00] How brand differentiation drives growth
  • [29:50] Developing a successful marketing strategy based on a client’s brand authenticity
  • [40:15] The importance of understanding what motivates each employee

In this episode…

Peter Bolt takes us behind the scenes of Camp Jefferson, an advertising agency that has established itself as a force to be reckoned with in the North American market.

Peter discusses how the agency uses strategic marketing techniques to drive brand choice and growth for their clients. He delves into the company’s comprehensive discovery and research methods, including the use of choice audits, which strip down consumer preferences by eliminating factors such as price to isolate the true motivators behind decision-making. Peter also illustrates the importance of understanding the DNA of a brand by engaging with all the key stakeholders within a company — beyond just the marketing department.

In this episode of Inspired Insider Podcast, join host Dr. Jeremy Weisz and Peter Bolt of Camp Jefferson. As a seasoned marketing professional, he emphasizes the role of understanding and meeting consumer motivations to drive brand strategy and influence choice in the market.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Special Mention(s):

Related episode(s):

Quotable Moments:

  • “At our core, we help brands grow by understanding choice.”
  • “Understanding why people are choosing or not choosing you drives growth.”
  • “To impact brand choice, we dissect what motivates choice in consumers.”
  • “Understanding the DNA of a client helps to understand what’s unique about this brand.”
  • “Understanding clients’ motivations and packaging it in a way that impacts people’s choices is the approach we employ.”

Sponsor for this episode

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:01

You are listening to Inspired Insider with your host, Dr. Jeremy Weisz.

Jeremy Weisz  0:22

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here founder inspired where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders today is no different if Peter Bolt of is not the camp that you think of, but they help brands grow, we’ll go into that. But Peter, I always like to mention other episodes, people would check out the podcast and I’ll formally introduce you in a second to since Peter hails from Toronto, I John Warlow. He wrote a book Built to Sell, he’s got a great podcast, and he talks about selling businesses valuations and everything in between. So check that episode out. I also had on Jason Swenk, Jason was on two times one he built, built up his agency to over eight figures and sold it and then the second one was how he’s been buying up agencies. He also runs a great agency group. And he also talks about kind of how they have been and why they’ve been building up and buying agencies. So check those out, and more on And this episode is brought to you by Rise25 and it Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 relationships and partnerships.

And how do we do that? We actually help you run your podcast, we’re an easy button for a company to launch and run a podcast, we do full accountability, the strategy and the execution. So Peter, we call ourselves the magic elves that work in the background and make it look easy for the hosts in the company. So they could just focus on their business and building relationships and creating amazing content. So you know, for me, the number one thing in my life is relationships, I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships. And I have found no better way over the past decade than to profile the people and companies I most admire and share with the world what they’re working on. So if you’ve thought about podcasting, you should if you have questions, you can go to, or email us at [email protected]. And we have some really cool things in store from you. From Camp Jefferson, they have some they work with some amazing brands.

And they really have, they will talk about how people market brands, and some of the best practices, some of the mistakes people make. And everything in between Peter Bolt has worked 20 plus years in the world of marketing and advertising in Canada in the US, he’s been a part of starting and building multiple successful agencies. He’s helped lead the growth of Camp Jefferson into a successful and thriving agency with over $6 million in annual revenue, and more and most importantly, happy staff. We’re gonna talk about what they do with employee engagement. Peter, thanks for joining me. So Peter, just start off and tell people about camp Jefferson, and I think you were formerly known as is dare. So talk about the brand change? Why Camp Jefferson?

Peter Bolt  3:10

Yeah, you know, it’s the brand changes primarily due to ownership structure change. But we started off as dare dare was a pretty well known agency, in the throat, Europe, out mainly out of the UK. They wanted to expand into the North American market, and we created dare Toronto. After a few years together, carrying on we went through an ownership change, the North, a new owner came in and bought the North American assets. And as we separate it from there, we had to find a new name because they ended up maintaining that name over in Europe, and hence, Camp Jefferson came to be so

Jeremy Weisz  3:57

how’d you come up with him camp Jefferson, how’d that come about?

Peter Bolt  4:02

That’s a good story. So at that time, we had an office in Vancouver. And we were handling some of some accounts in Toronto and Vancouver that were kind of deemed to be in the same category a little bit and even conflicting a little. So we needed to have names that connected to two offices, but we’re kind of seen as somewhat unique, at least in the clients mind who we consulted during the process. And when we named herself Camp Jefferson, for the street we lived on here in Toronto. The Vancouver office was named Cap Pacific for obvious reasons. And that level of kind of connection but distinctiveness was a kind of split the middle between that makes clients happy and us happy and that’s that’s where we ended up.

Jeremy Weisz  4:51

So, Peter, talk more about what you do. What does the company do?

Peter Bolt  4:58

You know what I think at our core, we help We help our clients grow their businesses and their brands, you know, now how we do that is, is through a bunch of different ways what we execute. But that’s at our core, you know what else is on our core. And what we do believe drives that growth or helps us drive that growth is understanding choice. We talked a lot about design choices. And really what’s at the core of that is understanding why people are choosing you, or, or not choosing you and choosing one of your competitors. And as we can understand that, and dissect what motivates that, and what’s affecting that choice, we then can kind of take that to express and build things that are going to help impact that choice. Sometimes, and oftentimes that results in communication campaigns and ad campaigns.

Other times, it means we learned that, you know, people aren’t choosing you because your packaging is not coming off the shelf. So welcome redesign your packaging, or that their website is not easy to work with. So we’ll rebuild their website. So the outputs vary Jeremy, but the goal and the motivation, or the kind of path to get there is pretty common and understanding people’s motivations, behaviors, and how that result impacts their choice. And then putting things in the world that hopefully, hopefully can have an impact on.

Jeremy Weisz  6:20

I imagine there’s a pretty comprehensive discovery and research. I love to know a little bit about your process. For I love that concept. You’re talking about designing choices. What is what are some of the process that where do you start companies, when you’re working through this,

Peter Bolt  6:40

it’s kind of a come at it from both ends perspective, when we talk about that the most obvious end is getting out in talking to consumers about why they do it. But you know, we can only get so far when we’re just talking to consumers, because you know, they don’t necessarily are primed to tell us exactly why they make their choices. So we have to dig a little deeper. We do a lot of what we call choice audits, where we take certain elements like price out of the equation, and get people to understand what would cause them to choose certain brands over others. When we eliminate certain things from the equation, it helps to isolate what are the true drivers and motivators there. So when we do a lot of, you know, what I would call kind of typical consumer research, and a lot more organic consumer research, where we’re really trying to listen and understand because oftentimes, those motivations, which are at the core of people’s choices are a little more hidden than obvious.

That’s kind of one side of the equation, the other side of the equation is, we find it usually really helpful to dig into the DNA of our clients. And that means getting pretty intimate with the key stakeholders around the table. Not only those in the marketing department, in fact, those are the ones that generally we have a pretty good idea of already. But getting into product development, getting into founders, getting into board members, you know, that can really be an effective way to understand what’s unique about this brand, this company. And so when we’re trying to match up consumer motivations, with how we’re going to meet those as a brand in the marketplace, understanding the DNA of a client, what motivates them, what makes them unique, what makes them different, and how we might be able to package that in a way that’s going to impact people’s choices is kind of the kind of double angled approach that we we kind of usually employ almost across the board.

Jeremy Weisz  8:40

I kind of see you, I guess his choice scientists are doing all these experiments to see what is working and what’s not. So I’m curious. Some of the surprising findings, findings. When you look back at some of the experiments you’ve done over the years, when you’ve eliminated certain things or added certain things, what sticks out as a finding that may surprise you. It reminded me of the book, influenced by Robert Cialdini, where they did a bunch of experiments, social experiments. I know. Dan Ariely, his book is predictably irrational. He also talks about different experiments that people are doing in a social situation. What are some that have stuck out that surprised you?

Peter Bolt  9:24

Yeah, you know, I think what constantly surprises me, is how much we believe rational decision making designed to you know, defines our choices, and how little it actually does or how prominent emotion and gut are to making those actual choices in whether that’s a choice to choose to buy a mobile phone, buy a car, or donate to a particular charity. You know, I think at the core, we you know, it’s always an It shouldn’t surprise me anymore, Jeremy, but it does, that those emotional drivers are really the ones that affect choice. And the more rational functional things often are, are rationalizations to justify the choice we made. You know, and that’s why some of the research I love, I love your term of choice, scientists might steal that from me, but it’s all yours. I do think, you know, you ask people why they buy something.

And they’re like, Well, why didn’t you buy that beer? I like the taste of it better. You know, if you do blind taste tests on beers, it’s almost impossible for people to tell the beer they’re drinking, like even hardcore beer drinkers get this wrong? Because we’ve worked in the Bev alcohol business for a while. You know, we actually were working in a beer category for a while where people said they actually bought this beer because it’s colder. And you’re like, it’s colder. And like, it was a brand perception that it was a refreshing cold.

Jeremy Weisz  11:08

Put the other one in the refrigerator a little longer.

Peter Bolt  11:12

And then maybe it’s in the eyes or the, you know, so things like that, you know, again, people’s default answer, you know, oh, I buy that one, because it’s the best price. Well, okay, well, if price isn’t out of the equation, or we found a lower competitor, well, why wouldn’t you buy that one? Well, it’s not saying, you know, so there’s, there’s usually, I think that’s surprising. And again, maybe it shouldn’t be that there’s almost always reasons beyond the first two or three reasons people give you on what really motivates their choice.

Jeremy Weisz  11:42

What’s an example? What’s an example of where you’ve uncovered the actual emotional driver behind something? You know, because people don’t consciously know this stuff, like, you probably have to peel the layers off. And they think, oh, it’s unpriced. Like, no, it’s this. No, it’s this and probably that, like you said, the third or fourth or fifth thing down? What are examples of those emotional drivers?

Peter Bolt  12:08

You know, we started working with a mobile phone company. A while back, it’s called Kudo mobile. And they are generally at a lower tier price, they’re called a flanker brand. You know, not necessarily at the lowest price possible, but definitely in the kind of value part of the equation. You know, and as we talk, again, as we talked to many people, right, well, I make my decision based on the network, the quality of the network, and I, you know, base my decision based on price, you know, as we dug into why people chose this brand, it was all about the experience, it was you know, and what we learned is, customers of this brand, loved him, and not because of the low price they’re paying, because the community experience round, it was really good to be able to find help, the ability to, you know, adjust your plan really easy.

You know, these kinds of elements came to life, that made the experience in a category where the experience is not really expected to be great. In fact, most people, you know, at best, their telco provider is good if it doesn’t mess up. And if the only time I have feelings towards it is negative if it screws up, you know, so the people who use the Kudo brand customers at Sprint, were static, they rated the number one brand in the entire mobile category. People who hadn’t heard of this brand or didn’t work with customers, but had heard of it, ranked it literally the lowest brand.

And so we realized, and yet the price was the same for everybody, you know, although the network was the same for everybody. But what was missing was the experience. And what we ended up doing with that was we created this kind of platform, you know, expressed as a tagline called “choose happy.” And the idea of “choose happy” was like, Hey, you don’t have to have a miserable telco experience, there is a happier option out there, you’re seeing on the screen, you know, we then put that filter, literally through everything that this organization does. And I’ll give you one example, which is kind of interesting on how you play up, you know, this, this idea of choosing happiness. They had this feature, like virtually every telco company does, that pauses the data, when you start getting near to you know, it’s a complete commodity across everything.

And actually our client was saying, Hey, we could do something with this, but I’m not sure it’s all that unique. And we thought, well, we know we listened to people’s data overages, you know, and this was a couple years ago, so data origins are a little bit more serious. Now that unlimited plans are everywhere, but data overages were a real pain in the ass. And this, this shock of this bill that that people would get. So we thought, hey, if we could take this feature, and spin it into a consumer benefit, ie, you know, you’re gonna have a shock free bill.

And that’s how we launched this thing. It’s called shock free data, a surprise free bill. And also, we took that and made that kind of commoditize feature with a filter of the emotional “hey, choose happy” and made it from a feature into a benefit that created a better experience. And it was the number one reason that people chose the Kudo brand, which led to great growth for the next two and a half years, leading to tremendous growth in their brand and their subscription base. And it was again, not an original feature that any other telco had, it was just packaged up to kind of promote the uniqueness of the experience that the Kudo brand delivers.

Jeremy Weisz  16:00

Yeah, I love that you took one of the features and you put it like there, from your deep research their emotional filter over it.

Peter Bolt  16:10

You know, you could assume that we did the same thing. They had a refer a friend program, refer a friend programs exist all over the place. But also, you know, we asked our client to go through it, we’re like, so happy experience easy. Did you feel good about making the right decision? The UX on this thing was terrible. And it made it difficult for people. We switched it up and it wasn’t all that difficult to do. We switched up and made it a lot easier for people to do timed it to when people really feel like they want to make references. And we had a 10x return on the amount of people referring to people in the first year. It was this great thing like, you know, again, instead of focusing necessarily on products and features, it’s the benefits those can provide. And in this case, why it creates a happier experience and a category that generally is not known for delivering happy experiences.

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