Even after working with different agencies for years, Max Dougall finds SHARE Creative’s position on using social listening unique. This resonated with him, and he decided that it was something he wanted to be part of. Long story short, Max has been working with SHARE Creative as its new business director for more than one year.
In this interview, Max details SHARE Creative, its mission and vision, and his plans for the agency.
Tell us about your background and how you became the New Business Director at SHARE Creative.
Max Dougall always wanted to work in the agency world. He started his career working at a big network agent called TBWA Worldwide and then worked with Nissan. He admits having strange career moves after, like being on a startup that ran out of money during the pandemic. He moved back into advertising after that and worked with the Together Agency.
Max saw the opportunity at SHARE Creative to become the new business director and immediately got excited. One thing that piqued his interest was how the position was different from the positions he had when he was working with other agencies.
Max worked as a strategist with other agencies. The job required him to pull together the main core strategies to produce campaigns for clients. A big part of that role was understanding consumers and their behavior. Because of this, Max had to create community communications based on what will be relevant to consumers and marketing, and during that time, he was getting all of his insights from survey data, which is often outdated, inaccurate, and biased.
“So, you’re making big decisions and calls on information that wasn’t quite right,” Max adds. When he saw SHARE Creative’s position was about using social listening, it resonated with him and taught him that it’s something a bit different from other agencies and something he wants to be a part of. Max ended up working with SHARE Creative and has been with the agency for a year and a half now.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face in your role as New Business Director?
SHARE Creative is a company that provides marketing services to its clients and new business success is directly linked to how well we look after the marketing of SHARE. For Max, this is a common challenge many agencies face.
He also cited how having brand awareness and marketing collateral are crucial in supporting his new business director role. Many good things took place before he joined SHARE Creative, but these weren’t necessarily focused on generating conversations and generating leads. Because of these, he needed to spearhead inventing and creating initiatives to help its marketing team create leads and book conversations.
But Max knows that SHARE Creative isn’t the only agency struggling with these issues. He says, “I think a lot of agencies struggle with that, to be honest. But it’s incredibly important for the two to work really well.”
Can you tell us a little bit about SHARE Creative, its mission, and the kind of services it offers?
SHARE Creative was born out of founders who previously worked at a social listening technology company. They saw an amazing level of consumer insight that can be gained through social listening. But brands weren’t using the tools correctly to get those insights. And when brands do get these insights, they don’t interpret them in the right way.
The founders started SHARE Creative, an agency derived from social listening, and all of its works came from real-time consumer insight. Up until this day, the agency has maintained its main proposition, which is to precision-engineer brand relevancy.
SHARE Creative comprises teams of data scientists, researchers, strategists, creatives, and paid media. All work begins with data scientists and researchers conducting social listening projects or using social media to inform the agency about its strategic and creative actions.
SHARE Creative’s strategy is driven by the goal of ensuring that they can prove to their clients that they’ve made strategic or creative decisions based on data. This strategy expedites the agency’s creative process and helps with the internal buy-in from the stakeholders.
“We do all the work. We start with our insights team, then our production, and creative to strategic recommendations,” Max adds.
How do you measure the success of your team and the projects you work on?
SHARE Creative measures the success of its campaigns in a unique way. They’re able to listen to conversations around the specific brands they’re working with. For instance, if they launch a campaign with a specific brand, they can track the volume of mentions, language sentiments, and the impact that it had.
The agency isn’t solely focused on looking at the impressions, engagement, and reach. Instead, they’re looking for more granular details that their clients can take internally and say that the campaign has been effective and not just use set metrics.
Can you walk us through your process for identifying and pursuing new business opportunities?
SHARE Creative’s approach to business opportunities is making sure that the business they’re talking to leaves their meeting with something useful from them. They want to be seen as someone that’s helpful and not annoying.
Everything the agency does is centered around what the other party wants to learn about SHARE Creative and if SHARE Creative has something to teach them. Max explains further, “We tend to run marketing campaigns around passing on insights within sectors, and then we target those sectors by asking if they’d like to see the insights we’ve uncovered because they’re genuine insights based on our own research and aren’t available anywhere else.”
When the other party isn’t interested in working with SHARE Creative at the moment, Max hopes that they leave the conversation knowing that the agency can do something interesting.
How do you stay up to date with the latest trends and technologies in the creative industry?
SHARE Creative has several Slack channels of inspirations and techniques shared amongst the teams. They also set up numerous Google alerts on different trackers.
Can you share a particularly memorable project you worked on at SHARE Creative?
SHARE Creative worked with F1 when Drive to Survive, a Netflix series, just came out. F1 had an understanding that their audience was into motorsports and knew the nitty-gritty details of the sport, like tire pressure, motor oil, spark plugs, and the like. As a result, F1 provided this kind of content for their audience.
Drive to Survive was shortly released on Netflix after that. The series’ content was framed in a way that introduced a very real characteristic of rivalry, which every one of Netflix’s audience understands. F1’s strategy was quite technical, as the audience had to have a certain level of technical understanding to enjoy the brand’s content and sport. Because of this, the series resonated better than F1’s strategy.
F1 approached SHARE Creative and said they didn’t know who their audience was because it was very different from what it was previously. SHARE Creative ran a global listening study, analyzed every single piece of content F1 produced, and provided them with a playbook that outlined exactly who F1’s audience was, what they wanted to hear, what platforms they operated on, what interests them, what their online behaviors are, and what F1 needed to re-engage with them.
For Max, working with F1 was interesting because it showed the power of branded entertainment, and SHARE Creative was able to help the brand at such a pivotal stage.
What advice do you have for businesses looking to work with a creative agency like SHARE Creative?
“Always ask the agency for help when developing the brief,” Max says. SHARE Creative gets a number of briefs that come in four bullet points or six pages, but Max says they learn a lot more during the initial meeting as they get to understand what the business does and how they do it.
Based on his experience, Max vouches for the importance of working on a brief together, as it always leads to better results. This way, both parties know exactly what’s happening.
Can you discuss any exciting upcoming projects or initiatives at SHARE Creative?
SHARE Creative is in the early stages of developing an accelerator program for startups. This project aims to help startups and new businesses solve societal problems, namely innovative technology, a new way of communicating to consumers, training program to help child obesity, and the like.
The project essentially involves creating an accelerator or incubator to help businesses grow and use what SHARE Creative as an agency offers. It’ll provide early-stage marketing support and help businesses grow in funding and raising money through different seeds.
How does SHARE Creative prioritize and manage its workload and project pipeline?
SHARE Creative has a team of project and account managers who do a very good job running all of the agency’s workloads. They also categorize projects using different factors, such as their potential financial returns, whether the project is fun to work on that the teams would love to do, and if the project will be famous in the future.
Basically, all of the projects SHARE Creative takes on usually falls into one of those three categories. Some projects would fall into all three, which Max considers amazing.
What qualities do you think are essential for success in the creative industry?
For Max, having an open mind to the things changing around is essential, especially with the popularity of ChatGPT and other AI-powered tools. It’s also important not to dismiss any trends that would come, regardless if they’ll pass or won’t have any impact on the creative industry.
Anyone — whether businesses or individuals — should take everything on face value and assess whether certain trends are going to be interesting and useful.
Can you speak to SHARE Creative’s approach to working with influencers and creators and how you see that aspect of the industry evolving in the future?
SHARE Creative has an interesting approach to influencers. Everything embedded in the platform is within social listening, so choosing influencers based on vanity metrics, like follow accounts, doesn’t make sense to them.
In addition, the costs of these creators are too high for SHARE Creative’s clients. And although collaborating with influencers works most of the time, the return on investment isn’t quite there.
This ladders up to SHARE Creative’s proposition of wanting to be relevant. What they essentially do is if they’re working with a client who’s eyeing to run an influencer project, they’ll listen to the conversation online around that specific area, like the brand topic or product topic, and then identify the main authors driving those conversations.
SHARE Creative’s approach is to lead from the audience first and then identify the right influencers based on what that data tells us to do.
What do you see as the future of the creative industry, and how is SHARE Creative positioning itself to be a leader in that future?
Max thinks that there are going to be interesting developments from a technological point of view. There will be aspects of AI, as well as creatives. SHARE Creative is preparing for these changes by taking a huge amount of resources to roll out projects and developing an AI algorithm to support our data scientists when crunching large sets of data.
In the future, there will be a place for automation, but it wouldn’t play a huge part, according to Max. It will definitely impact SHARE Creative but won’t adapt by completely replacing human creativity.
What are some of your personal goals for the future of SHARE Creative?
Max wants SHARE Creative to continue doing industry-defining work but is keen to start coming up against the bigger names within the industry.