What Makes Us Tick? A New Next-Mark Blog Series. Part Five: Joseph Grano

The Grano Boys, Christmas 2013

Our leadership team of professionals includes an eclectic blend of youthful and seasoned talent, united by their commitment to our clients’ marketing, communications and business strategy needs. This blog is part of a series of posts designed to showcase what makes each member of the team tick.

Joseph Grano, Next-Mark’s leader and consummate marketing professional, founded the company in 2005. As the face of Next-Mark, he has been the engine behind our clients’ success and the company’s growth for almost a decade. But, what makes him tick?

In this, the fifth installment of our ‘What Makes Us Tick?’ series, we delve into the mind of Joe Grano. Our clients and partners know and appreciate his strategic thinking skills and ability to put them at ease, but what they read below may surprise them.


Family travels
Family travels


Daphne and Leo, Joe’s Havenese

How would you live your life if you had a week to live?

I would totally unplug – I’d toss my cell phone into the Gulf.

What was your childhood dream?

My number one dream was to be married and have a family.  I am truly blessed in that department.  Being the son of first-generation American entrepreneurs, I also always dreamed of owning a business – I guess you could say I am living that dream. Most importantly, I dreamed of doing something I truly loved to do; I never wanted to dread going to work each day.  I have definitely accomplished that.

What inspires you?

I profoundly value real creativity and innovation that transforms lives and impacts perception.  In our business we get to do this every day.  Powerful.

What are your personal philosophies?

The things I value most in business and in my personal and professional life are loyalty and honesty (that includes others telling me what I don’t necessarily want to hear).  Call me “old school,” but without these values, you are lost and living an inauthentic life.

What is the last book you read?

“Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell.  I really appreciate the way Gladwell challenges you to think.

If you pick one living person to have lunch with, who would it be?

Bill Clinton.  He truly is the most important President of my lifetime and probably one of the wisest people on the planet.  His work post-presidency is changing lives worldwide.  What intrigues me most about him is that he is imperfect (just like the rest of us) and willing to admit it.

What is your favorite song?

That’s a very hard one.  My iPod includes opera, rap,  Broadway, pop and everything in between.  I play several instruments and really appreciate a broad-range of musical genres. Billy Joel, James Taylor and Elton John probably represent the last 30+ years of my life in song and emotion.

Which areas of the world would you like to explore and why?

I have had the good fortune of traveling extensively in North America and Europe. My next big frontiers are Australia and South Africa.  Both areas intrigue me.

How would your friends describe you?

You’d have to ask them.

What do you like most about your profession?

No two days (or usually hours) are alike. We work with a diverse group of clients and colleagues.  We can go from pharmacy to boating to arbitration to children’s issues in one hour.  I am lucky!

Describe your childhood.

I grew up in a first generation Italian-American family in Buffalo, NY with five brothers and one sister (and yes I was the middle child and only left-handed family member).  My parents spent every day of their lives making sure their children had a better life than they did. Not having college degrees, they valued education. Probably, one of my parents’ proudest days was when I graduated from business school.  Although we had our share of challenges as a family, including having two handicapped brothers, we never wanted for anything, especially love.

What do you do in your spare time?

Spare time is at a premium these days.  I enjoy regular workouts, but I really try to stay focused on my family whether it’s our boys’ games, family time together or traveling. We are also are huge dog lovers and have two very spoiled Havanese; they bring simple joy into our lives every day.

When are you completely satisfied with your work?

Never.  I admit it, I am a perfectionist and I always push for more.  Each day, we deliver projects to some of the most important brands in the world.  I have very high standards, as do our team members.  We know when it’s time to complete a project, but we always learn from each experience and always strive to do better.

What’s the most important day of your life?

Actually, there were three. The day I got married, and the days that our two sons were born.  It’s hard to see any of these as more important than the other.  Our son Nicholas is now 17 and a junior in high school.  Our son Joseph will turn 20 in January and is a college sophomore. We are truly blessed.

What’s your favorite pig-out food?

Pizza. However, it has to be from a Buffalo pizzeria.

Do you believe there is intelligent life on earth?

I am truly amazed by human competence and potential.  I started my career with no cell phones, fax machines or pagers (imagine that!) and have seen a storm of innovation in my adulthood that has profoundly changed our world.  We can only imagine what’s ahead.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Not at the moment.  I will as soon as this is published.



Joseph S. Grano, Jr., has a record of success providing vision and strategic direction to organizations experiencing rapid growth and change. He is one of those rare individuals who have made a successful transition from corporate leader to entrepreneur and owner of his own growing company.