Social Influencer Series | Dorothy Urlich, CMO Sleek Machine
One of the most pivotal challenges facing the modern brand is how do you cut through and get your message heard? In the always-on, on-demand digital age that we are trying to market in, the average attention span of the modern human being is 8 seconds. That is less than the attention span of a goldfish (according to the BBC).
So how does a brand stand out in all of the noise. How do they grab your attention in less time than it takes a bull to buck its cowboy?
One agency is creatively helping brands to do just that. Sleek Machine is a Boston based, creatively-driven agency built to help clients outsmart, out-hustle and outmaneuver their competitors. I had the chance to connect with their CMO, Dorothy Urlich recently to talk about their formula for helping brands break through.
As CMO, Dorothy is responsible for driving revenue growth and building the reputation and brand of this creative start-up agency. She has led the agency marketing and new business efforts resulting in 4 years of growth and recognition as a competitive national agency. That hard work and hustle is growing an impressive roster that has included work for clients such as: Putnam Investments, Aloft Hotels, Edward Jones, Staples, Roots Canada, Lawn Doctor, WP Engine and The Boston Celtics - to name a few. Dorothy has deep roots in the Boston advertising community and before joining Sleek Machine, she was an SVP at Hill Holiday and a VP at Mullen in leadership roles including creative management, talent recruiting, production and art buying.
Here is a snapshot of what Dorothy had to say:
I love Sleek Machine's position as a "Production Agency - built to make content that matters at Internet-speed." Let's talk about what that means?
Sleek Machine’s model was purposely built for the modern marketing landscape. We offer the strategic and creative services of an ad agency combined with the in-house production capabilities to efficiently and quickly conceive and produce creative work for distribution. It would not be unusual for us to show up to a concept presentation with produced pieces of content ready for the client to launch”. Sleek Machine’s Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Tim Cawley is a director and filmmaker as well as an advertising creative director. His production background is applied to the process at the initial concept stage and we already know how we will be executing the ideas we conceive. We work backwards from production budget realities and only present work we know we can produce to meet the high caliber and quality we are known for.
How does Social play into that?
While we produce work in all mediums, creative social video content remains a large portion of our creative workload. We produce work to fill our client’s social content pipelines in large production bursts but also strive to delegate a portion of each production budget for real-time needs. In a recent campaign for Audley Travel, we were able to leverage amazing client shot and supplied footage to bring one of our ideas to life while optimizing the production budget for future shoots. The first of multiple campaigns for Audley can be viewed here: http://sleekmachine.com/work/hashtags/
SimpleSafe - Silent Ads In Social - Clever Silent Autoplay Facebook Ads that look like 1920's silent films.
There has been a lot of talk about the changing role of the modern CMO. Your directly charged with driving revenue. What do you see the role of today's CMO being?
The specifics of the rapidly evolving role are certainly different in every industry but I definitely see the role becoming much more complex. The CMO’s I work with are now orchestrating not only the customer experience from a traditional marketing and advertising standpoint but they are essentially becoming the change agents within their companies to address the changing consumer needs while simultaneously maintaining their company’s brand. I think they have to work harder than ever with their colleagues internally to manage today’s consumers and require support from external specialists for each individual marketing challenge. I am seeing a huge overlap between previously silo’d departments; corporate communications, PR, sales and marketing… and I feel like the CMO is the glue holding it all together.
What global brands are getting it right? Leveraging content that matters at internet-speed?
I am continuously impressed by brands getting it right. Right off the top of my head, I think both GE and JetBlue have been very inspirational in this space. GE for their social media strategy and willingness to experiment with social media and specifically their use of creative video. I feel like JetBlue has been successful for years now with very creative and timely stunts (Reach Across the Aisle, Crying Babies, etc). A personal favorite (from exactly a year ago) was an idea created here at Sleek Machine for The Boston Celtics. They had a handful of players that were new to the team so the creative team here came up with the idea to release their “phone numbers” on twitter so Celtics fans could be some of the first people to welcome them to Boston. We received more than 17,000 calls while we were filming and the Celtics players were good sports, talking to the fans and dishing out advice. With a very limited time slot to shoot the players, this idea truly launched at “internet-speed” and received a great deal of earned media attention. You can check it out here: http://sleekmachine.com/work/say-hello/
What advice would you give to a new client - a legacy brand behind the curve? Where do they start?
They need to be ambitious and willing to try things, even a lot of small things at first rather than investing too heavily in any one direction. To stay competitive, I believe brands need very creative assets on an on-going basis enabling them to stand out and remain relevant. A brand is no longer competing for attention within their own industry and against their own competitors but competing with ALL the content out there for consumption.
Celebratory Cocktail? Veuve Clicquot
Proudest Accomplishment? Son, Ty & Daughter, Taylor -both in college & continue to make my husband and I proud. Being at Sleek Machine since the beginning.
Go To Social Channel? Admittedly, addicted to both Linkedin and Instagram. Please follow @sleekmachine
Book you'd gift? Shoe Dog, because I love how following a passion became a business called Nike.
Inspirational #hashtag? #audleytravel, #CUsRise, #LivePureCubes, #rootsnewbury, #styledoesntstop
About the interviewer:
Mark Keaney is a Husband, Dad, Coach, Mentor and Leader. With over 20 years of experience in the media industry and a wild ride in the world of tech start-up & social - Mark is helping brands deliver world class CX at Lithium Technologies, where he is the Regional Vice President of Sales for the East. His mantra is - Brand Globally. Market Locally.
e: firstname.lastname@example.org or m: (617) 513-2668 or t: @markkeaney2pt0