Interview series V10 – Nick Law EVP, Chief Creative Officer at R/GA
Today we are in NY and speak to Nick Law, R/GA’s EVP and Chief Creative Officer, North America. Nick has played a significant role in shaping R/GA’s creative vision and culture. In his time at R/GA his work has won numerous international awards and he has been widely published in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Asia-Pacific.
Q1. What is the number one thing about your job that gets you out of bed in the morning?
One of my four kids gets me out of bed before my job has a fighting chance. After I walk out the door of my apartment I think about the progress we’re making in building a balanced creative offering. This involves teams with people who can tell simple powerful stories sitting next to people who can design systems. Half of it is getting the right talent, the other half is creating a culture that respects and utilizes these different ways of thinking.
Q2. What are your favorite sites/digi campaigns right now?
As a civilian, I generally don’t trawl the web for marketing. But as a professional, you can’t go wrong with anything created by a Swedish student.
The sites I spend the most time on are pretty mundane and reflect the web’s consolidation around a handful of destination. Facebook. Google. Amazon. The New York Times. The other trend that we’re seeing is the use of media as an enabling technology. Like most people, I seem to be living more and more of my life through mobile apps. I run, so I use Nike plus almost every day. I do my banking, book my travel, rent cars, browse real estate and consume all manner of media through mobile devices.
Q3. Who is the new kid on the block – the agency/business to watch for the future?
Most of the interesting things happening in networked media are coming directly from Silicon Valley. Whether it’s new ways of interfacing with media like Xbox Kinect or the ingenious World Lens app, or huge social businesses appearing overnight like Groupon, most of the invention is not happening in Madison Avenue. In the next few years I think we’ll see the emergence of three agency models. The model born from the traditional agencies will excel in creating stunts that start in mass media or online and then (if they hit a cultural nerve) are fuelled by social media. A pure digital agency model will survive by continuing to create a systematic service layer for clients. This will include e-commerce, e-CRM and all the utility/informational stuff companies will need to stay relevant in the networked world. The third model is a hybrid of brand story telling and systematic design. This is the hardest and involves innovating and communicating. It’s the model I’m most interested in.
Q4. What sector would you say is furthest ahead in digital marketing at the moment?
I think most sectors are finding it hard to commit budgets to digital marketing because their marketing departments were weaned on traditional media. The smart digital marketers tend to come from sectors where software is becoming a part of their product’s experience. One of the ways companies can get ahead of competitors is by adding a digital service layer; whether it’s to improve a shopping, driving or running experience. And since these experiences exist in networked media, if they’re good, they’re shared, and so they advertise themselves.
Q5. What technology or initiative is most likely to revolutionize Web/mobile marketing?
Technologies that help us cope with media fatigue will become more important. Applications that filter, sort, aggregate and automate all the people, content and utilities I’m interested in. The challenge for marketers is how to insinuate yourselves into these media habits.
Q6. If you could wave your magic wand and change one thing about digital marketing what would it be?
Make agencies answer the most basic question for digital marketers; “why would anyone care about this?”
Q7. What’s the biggest mistake people are making in mobile/Web marketing?
Making stuff that’s confusing, pointless or boring.
Q8. What is the most useful resource site/blog you use?
Advertising, tech, business and design blogs are too numerous to mention. Just yesterday I visited Techmeme, gigaom, readwriteweb, wired, designobserver, coolhunting, trendhunter, logic+emotion, visualcomplexity and amassblog before I went outside and stared at nothing for 20 minutes.