SEATTLE, Wash., USA –The path to creating and implementing effective marketing strategies in today’s world of multiple media platforms is so much more complex than ever before. Maintaining business relevance requires in-depth knowledge about a breadth of fields far beyond traditional advertising and marketing communication skills – from behavioral economics to marketing strategy to customer psychology.
One of the most important ways that members of the ICOM network stay at the top of their game is by sharing experiences and success stories with like-minded peers at regular global and regional meetings, such as the North American event, to be held here Sept. 13-16. ICOM is a leading global network of independent marketing and advertising agencies with more than 80 members in 60-plus countries.
The upcoming meeting is hosted this year by ICOM member, DNA, a full-service agency with strengths in brand strategy, planning and integrated campaigns. “Being an agency born in Seattle, so much of the Seattle culture is built into who we are and how we do it,” said Alan Brown, DNA co-founder and CEO. “There is a synergy between the agency and our home town, a city that has inspired innovation and risk-taking. Our thinking for this meeting was to share some of what’s in the air and water in Seattle – to inspire new, innovative and creative thinking.”
For some eighteen years, DNA’s dna has been reflected in the slogan: ART. SCIENCE. TRUTH. LUCK., created to signify everything that goes into the work DNA does. And that catchphrase that ties in tightly to Seattle’s culture, a city proud to claim as its own innovators as Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Howard Shultz and Dale Chihuly, has shaped DNA’s philosophy and spirit.
While it may sound like much frivolity, Brown explains how it’s serious business. “There is both art and science to our work,” he said. “It is an art to create meaningful ideas through words, images and music as well as an art to work with people; then there is a science to understanding consumer behavior and gleaning insight, a science to knowing where and how to reach people in ways that are engaging, rather than offensive, and a science to analyzing and evaluating our efforts, optimizing and monetizing to improve results for clients.”
But that’s not all. “Truth is how we approach what we do. And there is power in truth,” Brown said. “And no matter what, you need a bit of luck,” he added.
Long before there was a “dot-com anything,” another ICOM member, Phelps/Los Angeles, found that implementing an effective marketing strategy required an innovative non-traditional organizational approach, which today is more important than ever. “Because of the expanding number of media platforms — organic SEO, paid search, paid social ads, social content, broadcast, etc. — maintaining a consistent brand across channels that also works for the platform requires specialists constantly collaborating and informing,” said agency Founder-CEO Joe Phelps. That’s why Phelps/Los Angeles has been organized in client-based teams for a number of years.
Atlanta-based Morrison Chairman-CEO Bob Morrison, who also serves as ICOM chairman, noted that for many in the marketing communications field, just keeping up with constant dramatic and rapid changes is a challenge. “Getting ahead can be a real differentiator,” he said. “And to stay ahead, agencies must continually invest in new infrastructure and services to future-proof clients’ brands. Communications options today are vast and complex. Tomorrow they’ll be even more ubiquitous. ICOM member agencies have the luxury of sharing ideas, processes and best practices with each other to enable them to better serve clients.”
The three days of the meeting are full of panel debates and guest speakers, including Scilla Andreen, an award-winning producer and Emmy-nominated costume designer and filmmaker, and Jody Hall, who oversaw Starbucks’ growth from 30 to 3,000 stores, then left to start Cupcake Royale, the first cupcake bakery outside of Manhattan that is now baking one million cupcakes a year in seven locations. There will also be industry training and discussion groups, all focused on how to maintain business relevance by innovating and creating new opportunities and exploring how the principles of behavioral economics, marketing strategy and customer psychology should be applied to agency pricing.
There is a special extended learning session, hosted by the EFFIE organization, that will review the best examples of effective marketing and simulate the EFFIE judging experience, offering valuable insight.