On one of Ric Dragon’s recent speaking tours found him in Oslo at ReThink Conf sharing the stage with Gemma Craven, Head of [email protected] New York. One of the magical things that happens at these events is that the marketing industry’s illustrious thought leaders get to connect and share – and then report back to the rest of us with unique insights and new ideas.
Several weeks after the conference, Gemma graciously accepted Ric’s offer to come and speak with us in person. While we have had a steady stream of guest speakers at DragonSearch this year, it was certainly a special treat for #usDragons to meet and learn from the woman who every day brings the legacy set by “The Father of Advertising”, David Ogilvy, into the 21st Century. When Gemma arrived at our production office in Kingston, New York, the office was abuzz. We had heard Ric’s stories about how great Rethink Conf had been and the excitement that surrounded Gemma’s presentation.
Much has changed since David Ogilvy adopted the mantra of “We sell, or else.” Although the mantra is as true as ever, the landscape has changed and the role of marketing has grown. For agency folks like us here at DragonSearch, as well as the team at Ogilvy, the goal is still to bring value and growth to our clients’ companies. It’s what we bring to the consumers to achieve this that has changed.
As agencies, Gemma explained, we must adopt a new mantra: “Disrupt or Die.” That means taking big ideas and changing the way we approach the world itself. Consumers are finding new ways to get information and the bar has been raised for the value they expect from brands.
Hearing Gemma frame the role of a social media agency in today’s world was reaffirming of so much we believe in at DragonSearch. Her first lesson was that an agency must be agile. Drawing on the company’s previous roots in developing web technologies, DragonSearch applies the agile approach to the development of our integrated digital marketing strategies every day. It has become an essential part of our culture.
Agencies now must focus on finding new ways to bring value to consumers. Social media exemplifies the need to leave the consumer better off than they were before – no matter what. This resonates more than ever because, as Gemma continued to explain, the world is now flat! A conversation that starts on a smart-phone in Sri Lanka can be amplified around the world in a heartbeat. Consumers are no longer merely an end-user; they have now become producers. Their input is vital and their role in contributing to campaigns that are capable of spreading like wildfire cannot be understated.
Finally, an agency needs to always be learning and innovating. DragonSearch strives to be a learning organization and Gemma inspired us to go even a step further… look for ways to do things differently. We have already put that advice into action, taking a page out of the [email protected] book with regular hackathons to spur innovation.
It was a blast to have Gemma join us and share her ideas about the changing social agency. Gemma’s visit both validated our approach and gave us many new ideas as we continue to move forward. Always a welcome guest in our office, Gemma Craven is a great leader and anyone in our industry should make a point of hearing her speak.