As you’ve probably heard by now, advertising vanguard Ogilvy & Mather has joined us again this year as an NYC Supporting Sponsor. Last year, they announced Social@Ogilvy at our event, and we hear they have a few more tricks up their sleeve this year too. Social@Ogilvy’s Global Managing Director, John Bell, sat down with us to talk about the past, present and future of social, and Ogilvy’s participation in SMW13.
1. What is Ogilvy’s greatest success with social media to date?
Social@Ogilvy has built a global team across 35+ countries, delivering award-winning integrated social media solutions for brands. Building such a strong team that “gets” how to apply social to real business solutions is our best accomplishment. Helping Ford, IBM, Nestlé and other great brands put social at the center of what they do has been terrifically rewarding.
2. What do you think is the most exciting thing happening in the emerging technology and/or new media space right now?
When you look at all the interesting phenomena, like SnapChat and the established players, like Facebook, and the merging next-gen platforms like Tumblr, but I get most excited by Kickstarter. It’s taken the crowd-funding model and made it real and reliable, and is now enabling all sorts of entrepreneurs and artists to source funding. I helped my friend at Padua Playwrights take a show to Berlin this month. Truly satisfying to be a part.
3. What are you looking forward to most at SMWNYC 2013?
We have some great sessions at Ogilvy in NYC, Paris, DC and more. I am looking forward to our NYC sessions with David Karp from Tumblr. I have a lot of interest in the platform, as they are just starting to monetize it and have incredible creative work all over it. That same day, we are doing something unusual and downright unwise. We will be creating and debuting a strategy to use Google+ for Caterpillar. Only, we will be doing it live before the SMW2013 audience. Risky but fun.
4. Tell us about your goals for SMW. As one NYC’s City Supporting Sponsors and a host of several events, as well as a Master Class, what do you hope attendees will take away from these experiences?
We want to share our own passion for applying social to business problems. SMW2013 is a weird, connected, global event, where we can create remarkable experiences — at the Chocolate Factory (Ogilvy HQ in NYC), in Paris, DC and more — and we can also participate all week long online, to drive a focused conversation. Okay, we will see how focused it is, but it will be great, that much I know.
5. What is the most creative way you’ve seen social media used?
Well, I am not sure I expected to say this, but our guys did some really neat brand advertising via Tumblr for the Lincoln Motor Company. I mean, I just think social has fundamentally changed how brands bother with pure brand work to the point where there are always dual motives for engaging users online. The Lincoln work included a great collaboration with these artists who create Cinemagraphs — really rich photography, with a story or moment captured there. We’ll see if this is the next wave of using social for brand purposes.
6. This year, our global theme is “Open & Connected: Principles for a Collaborative World.” How does Ogilvy embody or support this idea?
We have a global network of 550 people who are connecting every day via our Social@Ogilvy wiki, through G+, a new video meeting platform called Fuze, not to mention Facebook and IM. We know our best work comes from collaboration, and now that means doing so 1,000 miles away or more. We’ll see how others apply connectivity and collaboration during this week.
7. Last year, Ogilvy launched Social@Ogilvy during SMW NYC. With the first year anniversary approaching, how has this gathering of experts around the globe impacted Ogilvy’s work? What changes are you seeing in Public Relations from social media?
Social@Ogilvy officially launched at SMW 2012. But we had been in business since 2005. We have grown our network and solutions over the past 7+ years. This past year just took us to a much higher level. More client engagements across 3, 5, 20 markets. More serious business problems. More accountability with measurable programs. And more awards. Our team is cross-discipline. We work on marketing programs, customer care programs, PR programs, shopper programs and, yes, even pure-play social programs. This is our POV, that the best social is integrated with other disciplines. And I believe that each of these disciplines will see even more radical change through this next year or two of social growth.