iProspect’s CMO Misty Locke on redefining the agency’s ‘personality’ | M&M Global

iProspect’s CMO Misty Locke on redefining the agency’s ‘personality’

Misty Locke, CMO at iProspect, explains why the agency decided to place its employees at the heart of its content marketing campaign.


Content is king these days: that much we all know. Engaging, original and relevant content can help a brand to build a profitable relationship with consumers. But is the same true of agencies themselves?

Dentsu Aegis Network’s iProspect is looking to prove that content can have a regal impact upon its business performance. The agency has launched a new campaign, called ‘It’s Who We Are’, fixing the spotlight on some of its most dynamic employees. A series of six high-production videos focus on the unusual leisure pursuits of six ‘iProspectors’, including an Olympic athlete, a professional wakeboarder and a fearless rock-climber.

The campaign – developed in-house, with the help of a video production team for location filming – was launched internally last month. Local market teams, including those in the US and UK, are planning additional activity over the coming months, including the use of paid media. Media partners such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo have helped iProspect ensure the campaign reaches the right targets.

It tallies with iProspect’s ongoing attempts to display the “nicer, softer side” of digital media, as previously shown by the agency’s ongoing scheme with Dentsu Ventures to mentor, develop and fund female entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

Misty Locke, global CMO, iProspect
Misty Locke, global CMO, iProspect

Unified culture

For Misty Locke, iProspect’s global chief marketing officer, the key challenge is creating a brand strong enough to ensure the agency’s 3,200 employees in 84 offices feel part of a strong, unified culture.

“The iProspect brand is 20 years old, and, as we look as we look at how the industry has been evolving, with the digital economy, like any good brand we continue to gut-check ourselves,” she tells M&M Global.

“Are we staying ahead of the curve, and ahead of our clients’ demands and needs? A year ago we took a real deep-dive on ourselves, from the services we provide, the talent we have and the brand and values. Are all these lining up to who we are today?”

“You have to have the right people to build those campaigns and drive those solutions”

A danger facing many digital companies, she believes, is the slide towards a cold-hearted culture that places machines before those operating the technology. Rather than becoming abstract and “detached” from its values, Locke says they forged a strategy to ditch the “tech talk” and focus on the human element vital to all marcomms businesses.

“We wanted to make sure that our teams and our people were a part of that message. When you look at agencies, including ourselves, there is a relationship aspect to everything that we do. It is how we made our business grow. We will always need to feature information on products and services, but nothing resonates more with people than people,” says Locke.

“We absolutely have the tech, we have the data, we have the partners. If there is something we don’t have, we know how to make it happen. It’s evolving so quickly from one day to the next, so if you don’t have the right talent in place, then the tech and the data goes nowhere. You have to have the right people to build those campaigns and drive those solutions. The campaign is very much about that.”

Recruitment tool

According to Locke, iProspect is determined to build a “best-in-class” talent management regime, and she points to the range of career development and digital leadership programmes offered to the agency’s employees.

The campaign aims to create an upward swing in enthusiasm and brand satisfaction, and a “change of conversation” in the way staff view iProspect. Another key aim is that of attracted digital talent to the agency, by showcasing how the agency can help develop careers across the world.

One of the videos features Jonas Sommer, a scuba-diving Dane who has used iProspect’s fluid talent programme to take up a digital operations analyst role at the company’s Singapore office – and has since transferred again, this time to London. Another focuses on Kou Luogon, a senior associate at iProspect Texas and a hurdler with the US Olympic team, who is given the freedom and flexibility to pursue her athletic ambitions.

“This isn’t a one-hit campaign; this is going to be something that continues to define our personality and brand”

The message is clear: a role at iProspect opens doors and dimensions to personal and professional development.

Measuring the success and impact of the campaign will not be easy. For a start, there is very little in the way of benchmarks for such a content-driven campaign by an agency, though media partners are assisting with metric measurement. That said, since launching the campaign, Locke says iProspect has experienced a 21% uplift in visits to its career pages. “For me, that is a huge win,” she says.

And the campaign is set to run on for some time yet. The six employees fronting this phase are among “hundreds” to have applied, meaning there may be several more rounds of videos yet to come. “This isn’t a one-hit campaign; this is going to be something that continues to define our personality and brand,” she adds.

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