The pace of change in social technolgies continues to disrupt the marketing industrial complex, turning vendors into competitors, suppliers into acquisition targets and consumers into (potential) allies. So the need to aggressively and actively stay on top of innovations in this area is ever more real and present so that we in agencies can take advantage of these changes, not become the victims of it.
The challenge is not accessing these innovators. As is the case at Ogilvy, I’m sure not a week goes by without a new vendor or an established partner approaching you with a request to come and show you what their software / app / dashboard / community can do. Rather, the challenge is managing it in a way that results in tangible benefits for our agencies and our clients.
- How do we make sure everyone in the agency who needs to, sees the right vendors in a structured way?
- How do we make the process of working with these often very small partners as easy as possible for large agencies like Ogilvy and our even larger clients?
- With all of this structure in place, how do we allow for serendipitous encounters between Ogilvy and our clients with these numerous startups?
Answer: O_Combinator: a process for providing straight forward access to a wide range of innovative startups in the social space (with apologies to http://ycombinator.com/).
How do we make sure everyone who needs to, sees the right vendors in a structured way?
Quarterly O-combinator showcases
Each quarter a selection of startups will be given 20 minutes slots to present to a range of Ogilvy and client digital and social representatives. The presentations will take place off-site in a suitably innovative environment. (Our first one was held at Modern Jago, Microsoft’s creative incubation space in Shoreditch)
How do we make the process of working with these often very small partners as easy as possible for Ogilvy and our clients?
The five step O-Combinator on-boarding process
A transparent process that has 5 clear simple stages for working together
i) Mutual NDA
ii) Simple one page briefing template for Ogilvy to explain what they believe the opportunity to be with the client
iii) An agreed Ogilvy/Startup tissue session (with specific and clearly stated prep, deliverables, outcomes and time commitment)
iv) An agreed go/no go gateway
v) If ‘go’ then an agreed fee to the startup for delivering initial concepts for presentation to a client
With all of this structure in place, how do we allow for serendipitous encounters between Ogilvy and our clients with these numerous startups?
Following on for the success of the last two Spins and lessons learned: an evening of drinks and networking with Ogilvy clients, team members, platforms (Facebook, Google et al) and social tech start-ups. The evening begins with the start-ups introducing themselves in quick one minute overviews and continues in freestyle networking as clients and Ogilvy staff interrogate the start-ups they may want to partner with. Start-ups will be sourced from a small set of advisors, networks like Chinwag and Sandbox as well as OgilvyLabs and standouts from the Matchmaker days.
So that’s the plan – and as with any good agile startup – we’re live and testing already; the first Showcase was held in March the second is on Tuesday, again at Modern Jago and this time followed by burgers and beers from Salvation Jane (declration of interest; it’s my sister’s restaurant)…
The next showcase will be in September. If it sounds like something you’re intersted in, drop a note to Alex the O-Combinator program manager. alexandra.vonputtkamer [at] ogilvy.com