Exclusive Interview With SelectNY’s Sara Fahim

The-Makegood.com_Sarah_Select_NYSara Fahim is Director of Strategy of SelectNY’s Los Angeles agency. The Makegood exclusively spoke with Sara about her new position, strategic planning, and the future of SelectNY.

The Makegood: Congratulations on your new position! What is your strategic vision and where will you lead the agency?

Thank you! It’s so great to be a part of this team. I am in love not only with the intimacy and energy of our LA office, but also with the collective and global wisdom of our network. In some ways, it reflects my approach to strategy and what I hope to bring to our work – an intimate knowledge of the brands and businesses we represent coupled with a wider perspective on human behavior and global trends in media, technology, communication and beyond. At the very least, I’d like to share and spread my insatiable curiosity – it makes it really hard to accept ‘No’ or ‘It can’t be done’.

The Makegood: You will lead strategic planning on all P&G Salon Professional brands. Can you elaborate on your new position?

I love the challenge of working on brands that have a very specific set of users and comparatively smaller budgets (I used to work on Visa!). The Salon Professional business is at the top tier of a very competitive hair care industry, and we develop communication approaches for two (sometimes more) distinct target groups within the same brands. The challenges make this truly an exciting role. TS Eliot most eloquently says, “When forced to work within a strict framework, the imagination is taxed to its utmost and will produce its richest ideas.”

The Makegood: You have more than 10 years of agency experience. What are the biggest challenges for agencies and fast growing companies today and how would you address them?

I wish I could take credit for this, but one of my very favorite quotes about what we do comes from Mark Goldstein: “People hate advertising in general, but love advertising in particular.” This was not a problem 20 years ago when ‘people’ didn’t have a choice. They watched/listened/saw the ads because there was no other way to consume content. Needless to say, this is not the case anymore, and the more we force people to watch our ads, the less they’ll like and/or tolerate us.

We have to create stories that people want, and often need, to hear. More importantly today, we have to carefully consider how and when we are delivering those stories. No one wants the article they’re about to read be interrupted with a heavy, slow, intrusive page takeover. Literally, no one.

The Makegood: How do you manage your creatives and how do you keep your staff up to date with the latest digital trends?

Well, I don’t see myself as managing creatives. I help them see connections where maybe they are only seeing dots.

It’s never about setting a strategy and sitting back and waiting for what they come back with.

As for digital trends, I’m almost embarrassed to say that I wake up and go to sleep with my phone about 5 inches from my face (never mind how much time I spend on a computer in between). I’m often sucked into deep, black internet holes, and the best part of making it out is by telling people what I found and saw.

The Makegood: Can you give us examples of digital strategies you like, what makes them stand out, and where the trend is going?

One of my favorite trends is really shaking up the music and movie industries right now and, as advertisers, we should be taking notice. Amanda Palmer (she really set a lot in motion with her Kickstarter campaign) talks about the shift from ‘making’ people pay for content to ‘letting’ people pay for content. We’ll see it bleed into what we do, as people will be more passionate and involved in funding, launching and growing the brands and products they love rather than being forced to buy into brands just because there’s no other choice.

The Makegood: Thanks, Sara.