Well into a high stakes advertising career, I often said I’d take a hard left turn away from advertising when that part of my professional life was meant to end. As serendipity would have it, that turn took me to the “Left Coast.” (Does Scottsdale qualify?) As the new CEO of Nomadic, I find myself again at the vanguard of creativity. And, I’m so glad the road brought me to this handsome digital shop here in the Sonoran Desert.
Over a couple of decades, I had the privilege of contributing to one of the world’s most distinguished creative agencies, Fallon Worldwide, from my first assignment on Porsche all the way through BMW, Islands of the Bahamas, Timberland, EDS, Coca-Cola and Fiat Chrysler, as well as Charter, Sony, Nuveen, Amazon, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Garmin and United Airlines. This job took me through 19 countries. I opened Fallon outposts in Sao Paulo, Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong. I ran Fallon’s digital practice. As managing partner, I established Fallon’s entertainment unit that led to BMW Films, Amazon Theater and Nordstrom Silver Screen. I completed my run at Fallon as Chief Marketing Officer. What an odyssey it was!
BMW Films Case Study
Later, as CEO of Campbell Mithun, I found myself charged with the rehabilitation of an 80-year-old legacy agency serving legacy brands. Initially drawn to the challenge of invigorating a once great American agency, I eventually found no joy in cutting costs, conforming to antiquated methods, or training old dogs new tricks.
I concluded that holding company overlords are reluctant to invest in progressive talent. They pay lip service to innovation and are tone-deaf to the demands of the marketplace. The unprecedented talent defection from agency networks and their depressed share prices reflect how out-of-step they are.
As the Agency World Spins Out of Orbit
As a brand consultant over the last couple of years, I traveled through many agencies that are navigating an industry gripped in fear, tethered to business models of the past. So many full-service agencies are vying for upstream brand development, peddling mediocre creative product and reluctantly dabbling in analytics.
As an advisory board member and investor in Equals 3, a leader in machine learning applied to marketing, I have a deep appreciation for artificial intelligence and its disruptive yet positive impact on the communications field. I’ve also acquired a cursory understanding of performance marketing tools—though agencies that specialize on this side are devoid of imagination.
I saw vast opportunity for an agency built upon platform creativity—thoughtfully crafted brand programming that’s intently designed for digital channels, where the consumer lives and interacts with their media. This happens to be much closer to the transaction.
I envisioned a model devoted to the creation and choreography of digital content that’s fine-tuned with real-time analytics.
Along the way, I discovered pockets of hope; gifted individuals with a clear view of the future. One such person is Tim Washburn, a long-time colleague who spent time at Fallon in his formative years and founded this forward-leaning digital marketing agency called Nomadic. What a name for the times in which we live!
Nomadic Thrives at the Intersection of Digital Media and Commerce
I immediately saw Nomadic’s potential, drawn to its proficiency in digital content marketing. It was obvious that Tim and his team not only understood the matrix of media and technology, but also the consumer’s journey. This group of digital insurgents recognize what many marketing agencies still don’t, which is, when you create content that meets a consumer at the right buying stage, you can engage them all the way to purchase. You can more easily convert voyeurs into buyers and buyers into brand activists.
My job today, as I see it, is to build upon Nomadic’s roots—to share all I know of brand creativity. To leverage its hard-earned momentum and expertise. We are on the right side of the industry here at Nomadic. I see a super talented team that possesses a genuine understanding of buyers’ digital behavior. I see strategists and creative souls who share my passion for digital-first campaigns that engage an increasingly nomadic consumer. And I see plenty of blue sky ahead, starting with a natural foray into the travel and leisure industry.
Nomadic is poised for extraordinary growth. I fully intend to slingshot Nomadic far beyond a handsome digital marketing agency in the Southwest. My ambition is for Nomadic to become a bona fide industry leader attracting evolved marketers and talent alike.