David & Goliath’s Seema Miller on the Importance of Strategic Planning


Seema Miller is the newly appointed Executive Director, Head of Planning at David&Goliath, a full-service, independent creative agency based in Los Angeles. Miller most recently served as Head of Strategic Insights for JCPenney in Dallas. During that time, she restructured the research team into insights and strategy centered on seeking truths and telling compelling brand stories. At David&Goliath she plans to continue the agency’s vision to always be the leading-edge creative agency that solves Goliath marketing challenges, and most importantly, gets results. Makegood recently spoke with Seema about her new position, and the roles of strategic planning.

Congratulations on your new position as executive director, head of planning. Can you elaborate on your new priorities and where you will lead planning at David & Goliath?

Thank you. I’m very excited about this role. As leader of the strategy team, I will focus on bringing two key aspects to everything we do: depth of insight and precision of thought. Strategy is often pretty smart, but it rarely says something that the creatives don’t already know. I want every brief we write to say something that our creatives haven’t already thought of. That’s hard – especially when you’re working with the caliber of creatives at our agency.

Seema, you’ve led strategy at different agencies. Where do you see the biggest strategic challenges for brands in digital communications and what are your solutions?

It’s in the way we think of digital communications. We too often think of it as a channel we need to extend into. What we should be striving for is digital’s role in driving people’s behavior and how can we use it differently. If we start there, then I think it will help us get to more effective and engaging digital communications.

You will oversee the strategic planning for KIA. What role does social media play for automotive brands, which channels are most successful, and why are automotive clients still concerned about trying new things in digital media? 

I don’t believe that one channel is more successful than another. I think it comes down the right combination of channels that will best address the brand’s challenges with the right idea. I also don’t think clients are just looking to try new things–they are looking to differentiate themselves with purpose. The way we do that at David & Goliath is by being brave and always thinking like a challenger. Brave differentiates the brand in everything it does, including digital.

How do you find insights for your strategies and how do you know that your strategy is the best way to go?

I believe that the most powerful strategies are rooted in truths: human truths, brand truths. All truths are not made equal. The really good ones need digging. Depth. When we build strategies based on those deeper truths, they feel right,  both rationally and intuitively.

How do you keep your clients up to date on the latest digital platforms and what advice do you have for agencies to convince marketers to try new things?

We have digital leaders at David & Goliath who keep us and clients up to date on the latest and greatest. I don’t believe in new as much as I believe in brave. New is momentary, brave is purposeful.

What will we see coming from strategic planning and what is on your road map at David & Goliath?

The best strategies are the ones that aren’t visible in the work but key in getting to breakthrough work. What I hope you see is simply more exceptional, breakthrough, brave work from David&Goliath.

The Makegood: Thanks, Seema.