Dana Wade is currently the Chief Client Officer at Sparks and Honey, a brand synchronizationcompany that leverages proprietary tools, algorithms and human insights to identify emerging cultural trends and engage brands in authentic and meaningful conversations. Wade has held previous positions at Spencer Stuart and Omnicom Group, where she held several client-management positions. The Makegood recently spoke to Wade about her new position at Sparks and Honey, and how she will use trends to the company’s benefit.
The Makegood: Congratulations on your new position! Sparks and Honey runs through an open agency model. Could you tell us how this differs from other models, and why you feel it is the best fit for the brands you work with?
Our Open Agency model allows us to get the best of two worlds. We are able to leverage our internal intellectual power and amplify that with the thinking that comes into our office every day through the guests that come to our cultural briefings, our Influencer Advisory Board and through our network of trend scouts around the world.
Other agencies tend to lean solely on insider thinking and static models which do not provide a path to capture the dramatic shifts that we see going on every day in business and consumer dynamics.
The Makegood: Your position, Chief Client Officer, is a newly created role. Why do you think this is necessary for Sparks and Honey? What responsibilities will you have in moving the company forward?
All start-up client service businesses realize at some point that some added structure is needed to fulfill its long-term goals and mission. The best scenario is to bring someone in that has both a practical and operations framework to leverage. Practical because you have to know how to build a strong internal bench of client leaders, marketers and clients, in other words you have to know how to run the business. Secondly, you have to be astute about rapid growth and the effects that it has on employees and company culture.
We are at a size right now where everyone is focused on our clients—in particular, what and how we are delivering for our clients. It’s my job to set the framework and structure around that. My focus is also on keeping our existing clients happy, growing their business and attracting new client opportunities.
The Makegood: Sparks and Honey gives companies the opportunity to successfully take advantage of emerging trends. How is it necessary to integrate culture and trends into new marketing strategies, and how do you think your clients can be more successful using this strategy?
Culture is another way of explaining the importance of relevancy. In our fast paced world, driven by technology, where consumer and manufactures own brand conversations, relevancy is more important than ever. We’ve seen that when a company is connected to culture, measures like brand sentiment and engagement improve exponentially.
The Makegood: Trends and “crazes” come and go. What are the biggest challenges you face when working with trends, and how do you convince clients that a particular trend won’t be flighty?
We monitor trends with a keen focus on what’s moving in culture. This is at the heart of what we do and shapes what we deliver to clients. That said, a trend is worthless if you can’t quantify its value in terms of energy and longevity. As a result, we’ve built a set of propriety analytic tools that allow us to measure the power, tipping and dipping points on a micro and macro level of every trend we watch 24/7.
The Makegood: Technology and media is increasingly important in keeping up with today’s trends. What sort of technology and social media platforms do you think should be used at Sparks and Honey? Do you approach particular clients with certain technology or media?
Innovation is a crucial component of today’s media and technology space, and we have a thorough process to manage, track and analyze these spaces so that our clients are consistently in relevant places, engaged in relevant conversations, with their consumers in real-time. This best-in-class thinking process sets selection criteria and strategies to match audience/brand/environment. And because social platforms are “always on” we take an additional step to make sure that our clients have the infrastructure to manage a wide variety of issues that might pop up across the social grid at any time (e.g. crisis scenario where a brand is under attack).
The Makegood: Thank you, Dana.