What led to the creation of Oakey Agency?
In 2010, I founded a film production company. One of my biggest goals for the company was to create content that would move and inspire the audience. We had the opportunity to do this through short films, music videos, industrials, and commercials.
As the company grew, I began to focus on the commercial side of film, and produced more than 25 commercials from several industries. This experience allowed me to gather a “dream team” of creative influencers. Since 2012, we’ve worked with twelve Fortune 500 companies and our projects have been featured at events from Cannes to SXSW.
The success of working with such a talented and innovated team led to the creation of Oakey Agency, a specialized digital agency, in 2014.
What sets you apart from other agencies?
One thing that sets us apart is that we’re an agency made up of Millennials. Our generation makes up a very large, and valuable, part of the market that companies are trying to reach.
To reach your audience, you have to know your audience. To achieve this, our team at Oakey Agency is comprised of some of the best and brightest Millennial minds in the advertising industry that specializes in creating content that resonates with our generation.
You’ve been working on directing and producing films and commercials – how will that experience influence the work of your agency?
Throughout my career my mission has always been to capture the beauty behind our seemingly trivial, yet vital everyday experiences. I try to capture the true authenticity of what makes us human. Having developed this sense over time and experience will influence the work of Oakey Agency and enhance our ability to connect with Millennials, which demand a genuine connection.
What is your main focus right now?
I’ve always been a firm believer in focusing on one thing, and doing it exceptionally well. There are several agencies that spread themselves too thin, and end up doing a mediocre job across the board. Our focus is to make the connection between brands and Millennials, and create digital advertising campaigns that carry a long lasting and positive impact for both parties.
What’s your branding philosophy?
We believe the key to branding is to create loyalty. That’s much more difficult to do today than it was twenty years ago. My branding philosophy is to study and identify the key similarities between generations and create ways to incorporate those findings into innovative campaigns. For example, Millennials tend to be very brand loyal and conscientious, while Generation Z (the cohort born after Millennials) is less brand focused and more product loyal. Although this is a key difference and can really disrupt campaigns, there are ways to connect them and create an impactful message. After gathering and analyzing the data we found that associating the product and brand with authenticity and social consciousness, is the most successful for reaching Millennials and Generation Z. These are two characteristics are the foundation of our branding philosophy.
How do you build relationships between brands and audiences?
Being authentic and relatable. Today, if you’re not transparent with your audience, you’re ignored. As an advertiser, you’re constantly fighting for screen time and attention, while trying to come across as authentic and relatable. It’s the toughest part of the business, but if you understand your target audience well, you’ll be able to cut through the other noise and begin to build a solid connection.
How do you measure success, for your clients and for yourself?
Driving sales is the most obvious way to measure success, but I think it goes beyond that. I believe in measuring my client’s success by other factors like social engagement. It’s pretty easy to launch a campaign that drives sales and numbers but the ones that really succeed also drive social engagement, and public dialogue which can be the foundation for growing a brand and much more important in the long-term than a sudden jump in sales.
How do you think the industry has changed and what do you see for the future?
Technology is constantly shaping the advertising industry. We have so much data now that we’re able to tap in and create much more personalized advertisements than ever before. That said, with this capability we can’t lose sight of authenticity. Millennials and Generation Z are much more tech savvy than ever before. They can see right through a fabricated message, because they’re bombarded with ads everyday.
You’re focused on brands that want to reach Millennials, what do you see as the challenge and opportunity with that generation?
Millennials want to be targeted in a culturally and socially relevant way, which can be a challenge. That said, they’re extremely valuable and will drive more sales than any other generation. Millennials set the standards and can ultimately make or break a brand.
Where do you think brands go wrong in marketing to Millennials?
The reason that most campaigns fail is that they aren’t genuine to themselves or the way they target younger generations. The ideas of “sex sells” or “aspire to perfection” in advertising are now things of the past. These new generations view the idea of perfection as inauthentic and resonate more with campaigns where they can see themselves reaching more attainable goals. Millennials want genuine advertising.
In addition, many campaigns forget that Millennials are still growing up, and their tastes, interests, and insights change all the time. So, something that may have worked in previous years may not work anymore. To reach Millennials and Generation Z, you have to adapt. What works for one generation, probably won’t work for the other.