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Balancing innovation and scale

Q: How do you find the right balance between experience and experimentation?


I don't think there's an exact science to it, but for us, a lot of it is about testing and benchmarks --we'll often try something new on a smaller scale, and then blow it up if we see potential. Part of it also definitely depends on how open your client is to experimenting.


Sometimes it's actually best to start with the proven tactic or idea and just ask yourself, "How do we shake this up, and make it even bigger? How do we come at this from a new angle?" When we worked with Lenovo and The Onion on "Tough Season," we knew it would be a funny, episodic web series. Brands have gotten involved in web series before, but what really set it apart -- what was new -- was the deeper real-life player participation across social channels and video. The consistent engagement with players and teams throughout the course of the season -- interacting with the brand, The Onion, our main character in the series (Brad), and the fans.


Q: The RFP Challenge: How are expectations from your clients changing?


Over the last few years, we've seen more and more of our clients look for deeper, more integrated programs that focus more on content and engagement versus just reach. We believe that media needs reinvention. While scale will always be an important part of a media plan, our teams are working with brands less on standard display and targeting buys, and more on programs built around driving audience engagement and interaction. Whether it's emotive and tied to brand health metrics, or transactional and driving purchases, clients are really seeking more custom designed media.


Q: In your opinion, what is your biggest challenge in keeping current in the digital space?


Time. It's no secret that the digital landscape is always rapidly evolving. If you take a wait-and-see approach with new platforms and technologies, you may find yourself left behind just a few months later. It's not enough to just focus on what's big now. Marketers should always have one eye on emerging talent, companies, tools -- what could be the next game changer for your clients? And, you need to make the time to meet with these new partners in person. That way, not only do you get a fuller understanding of what their offering is, but you build a relationship that will lead to first looks/advance previews further down the line.


Q: What campaigns do you find inspiring?


For me, the most inspiring campaigns are those that empower women. Under Armour's "I WILL WHAT I WANT" campaign from the summer, featuring Misty Copeland, is exceptional. It celebrates strength and dedication. It highlights an athlete, who happens to be a ballerina. At the top of her craft, Misty ignored the nay-sayers, inspiring young girls to chase their dreams.


Franchesca Nguyen is content/marketing specialist at iMedia Communications.


On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

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