• 09.29.15

IQ CEO Tony Quin interviewed in Cannes

Recently IQ CEO Tony Quin made a pilgrimage to the Cannes Lions festival, representing both the agency and the Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA) as the Chairman. While at the festival he participated in the Executive Perspectives interview series and shared his thoughts on advertising trends, the benefits of having talented, driven employees and how data drives strategy and creative to produce exceptional work at IQ.

Here are a few notable excerpts from the interview:

KR: How would you define success in your role?

TQ: The most important job that I have as CEO is to have a sense of where we need to be as an agency 24 months from now so that I can be making sure that the agency is moving toward that. That’s the most important. Because if you don’t get that right, you’re not in business.

KR: What do you do to help your team be successful and help keep them in line with your goals for the company?

TQ: My job is to make sure that I have the smartest people on the bus, and not necessarily in the right seats, and listen to them and empower them. What I’ve learned is that if you just collect really smart people who have the right character for the work, then they are going to tell you the right place to go.

KR: In a world so driven by data today, why do you think creative still matters?

TQ: Creative is the business of connecting emotionally to people. Creative is not about data. Creative itself is really not measurable. Data helps to tell you where to point creative. The strategy that comes out of data – because data itself means nothing; it produces insights and strategy – tells you how to pick the places where you want to spend your money and those places are where you’re going to apply your creative. That last mile is informed by data but it’s always takes some magic which is inspiration and an understanding of the psychology of the people. It’s really hard to make that a science.

KR: Do you feel like creative always needs to be measured?

TQ: You can measure the end result of whether something happens or not. There is some testing you can do around creative. It’s the whole Steve Jobs approach to doing new things. You can’t base it on what’s happened in the past so at some point somebody is taking a leap of faith or just having a creative idea and you just have to go with it or not. You don’t really know what’s going to happen.

KR: How do you motivate your team on a day-to-day basis?

TQ: Every company, whether it’s a big company or a small company, has to have a vision of tomorrow. It’s kind of what we’re selling to our brands. Any kind of branding is a promise for tomorrow. That promise is, in some way, “tomorrow is going to be better.” It’s the same thing with a team. The reason you’re doing this work, other than getting a paycheck, is to create some better thing and you have to define that a little bit for people and make them excited.

KR: Can you describe the attributes of one of your top performers?

TQ: What I look for is people who are self-motivated, have an entrepreneurial spirit, are not about doing the mechanics of their job. They are about achieving the goals of their job. It’s not really about how they do it; it’s about how they get there, which is very entrepreneurial. I look for people who are sufficiently confident in themselves and aren’t afraid of taking risks.

KR: How would you describe the difference between an idea and a solution?

TQ: Ideas are bigger than solutions. Solutions, you have a problem and some parameters around a problem and you want to find something that solves that problem.  An idea can be much bigger than that. An idea might solve a problem but it might have many more ramifications to it. Ideas are about what capture the imagination of people. They can drive companies. They can change the marketplace. They can create movements. Whereas a solution is just, “I’m really glad we solved that problem.”

KR: What are you looking to take away from Cannes?

TQ: I wear two hats. I have my agency, IQ, and it’s always interesting to hear what’s going on and I always get ideas. With my primary job being what’s going to happen 18 to 24 months in the future and “are we on the right path for that?”, it’s great to come to these places where people are talking about those things, about what’s next. The other hat I wear is as the founder and chairman of the board of SoDA. SoDA is a wonderful organization where I get a chance to give back to my community and to have great relationships with people who are in the same boat that I’m in, running agencies around the world, so that’s very fulfilling.


Ad Blocker Panic on Madison Ave

Ad Blockers are the talk of the town these days. But it’s not like we haven’t seen them coming. Around the world Ad Blockers have been gaining momentum with consumers snapping them up in droves. From Germany to the Far East, pop-up ads, banner ads, even video ads are disappearing from digital screens faster than you can say hype. And now Apple and other platform owners are announcing integration of ad blocking software to screen out the last vestiges of invasive, evil brand messaging.

While it’s nothing new for consumers to dislike advertising, what is new is the accelerating move away from ad-based models across the media spectrum. In TV viewers can barely tolerate ads anymore compared to the nirvana of subscription-based experiences. And just as TV ad revenue is escaping to the promise of the blossoming digital world, Ad Blockers are ruining the party before it even gets started.

This story, however, is not really about Ad Blockers, or desperate publishers, but about brands; the companies that make it all possible.  Ad Blockers are just the latest nail in the coffin of the old paid media model.  Big ad buys where the agency makes easy money, and the brand is happy with lots of meaningless impressions, are going the way of the Dodo. Not because agencies or brands got smart or responsible, but because consumers are forcing an end to their obsolescent scheme.

In this transparent, no hiding-in-the-corners market, brands have no alternative but to truly serve consumers if they want their business. That means superior products, great service, social responsibility, and a commitment to education versus prestidigitation.

In marketing that means apps and websites that bring function and value, content that educates, and creativity that enhances the meaning of the brand.  It’s harder than making banner ads and spamming the world with pointless impressions, but it works because it’s what consumers want.


  • 08.17.15

Mojitos and SoDA


Tony Quin, IQ’s CEO, presenting the annual toast at SoDA’s general meeting in San Diego. The Mojito toast celebrates the first meeting of SoDA, the Digital Society, which Tony founded almost nine years ago when he got the CEOs of 13 top digital agencies together in Miami to talk shop. Today SoDA is almost 100 agencies strong, but still only accepts 14% of agencies considered. “This is the cream of the agency business worldwide, not just the biggest, but those judged by their peers to be the best and the brightest” said Tony, “it’s where we learn from our peers and help chart the course of the future of this business”.

  • 08.13.15

Equifax and Post Properties pick IQ as AOR


We are delighted to announce that IQ has been selected as Agency of Record (AOR) for Equifax and Post Properties. Both companies conducted competitive reviews before selecting us. “We are delighted to have been selected as a lead agency for these two blue-chip brands” said Tony Quin CEO of IQ Agency.  Equifax is one of the three leading credit bureaus in the U.S. with both a sizable personal solutions business as well as a leading business-to-business offering in the credit and business intelligence vertical. Post Properties is a large national owner and operator of rental communities in cities across the U.S. “While both companies were impressed with our creative work in both digital and traditional channels, they were particularly impressed with our strategic approach to integrated marketing” Quin continued. The assignment for Post Properties will include all aspects of marketing both traditional and digital. The Equifax assignment covers both the consumer and B2B lines of business and includes digital as well as traditional work.


HAL in your pocket – Artificial Intelligence is here


One of the most important things brands expect from their agencies, according to a recent survey in the SoDA Report, are insights on what’s coming next. No sooner do we get comfortable than technology has a nasty habit of changing things up.

At the SoDA annual meeting of the leaders of 100 of the world’s top digital agencies last week, I listened to the always brilliant technologist Rick Barraza from Microsoft, as he painted an exciting, if somewhat dystopian, picture of the fairly immediate future.

While we all think we know Moore’s law, Rick reminded us that while we had hit 5mm transistors on a single chip in 1995, IBM managed to get 7BN on a single chip this year. If Moore’s law continues, and it hasn’t failed yet, that’s 14BN coming next year. According to Rick this kind of computing power is making the fantasies of artificial intelligence come true already.  For example using 100 “likes” as data points, AI can predict what someone will choose better than their parents. With 200 “likes” AI makes better predictions than someone’s spouse, and no one knows you better than your spouse.

Rick described a rapidly approaching world in which our AI driven devices become primarily digital assistants. Siri is just the beginning.  Imagine computers so powerful that you don’t need to fiddle with a screen, your assistant just takes care of whatever it is. This will become even more powerful when your assistant is connected to micro devices all around you with the “Internet of Things”.  He went on to describe the next paradigm as one where “visuals under glass” is no longer the experience model and these mobile HALs take over.

While exciting (boy, do I need a good assistant), it’s also a bit scary. As a marketer I wonder what this might mean for how we serve customers and prospects. What will a brand need to do to be valuable? As an individual I wonder about the sanctity and privacy of my personality. If machines know me better than anyone, do I lose control of who I am? I am not the only one worried about this as the giants of today’s technology from Bill Gates to Elon Musk have raised their hands to voice serious concerns about unchecked AI. Despite those concerns technological change keeps pouring out of Pandora’s box and we are unlikely to be able to control it.


Three Weeks with a Computer on my Wrist

Russ's Apple Watch Review

How many times a day do our smart phones interrupt our conversations and moments with colleagues, clients, family and friends?  Each time the device vibrates on our desk, conference room table, kitchen table or in our pocket, it triggers a series of actions. We retrieve the smart phone, unlock the smart phone, open the app that caused the vibration, read the notification, act on the notification and finally put the phone back down.  Then we reengage with the people around us.

The Apple Watch eliminates many of the extraneous actions and distractions, allowing us to be more present with the people we’re with. It’s hardware that helps filter important versus unimportant.

Unlike smart phones with vibration motors so loud they serve as ringtones, no one knows when an alert is received on Apple Watch.  The Taptic Engine is quiet and alerts only the user; no one else is the wiser. When it’s convenient, you take a quick look and if the message warrants attention you can engage from the watch, or if necessary move to the iPhone to complete the activity.

If your phone constantly vibrates or if your friends, family or colleagues mention how often you’re on your device, the Apple Watch is for you. This device has changed how I interact with people. It has made me more present and less distracted and based on that alone, this device is fantastic.

And now for a more traditional review of the 42mm Sport, Space Gray with the black Sport band.

Look & Feel –

When picking up an Apple Watch the weight was noticeable. It is not heavy but it has an unexpected mass; it doesn’t feel cheap. You know you’re wearing it but the weight is unobtrusive. The Sport band is soft with a slight firmness.  After three weeks of use, 12 sweaty workouts, and 3 very sweaty lawn mowing sessions the band shows no signs of deterioration or discoloration.

One of the features Apple paraded was their reinvention of the watch crown as the Digital Crown; “A modern twist on a traditional feature.” It functions smoothly and with just a hint of resistance. But until Watch OS2 comes out, the Digital Crown just doesn’t have a whole lot of functionality that you can’t also do by swiping up and down on the screen.

After watching this it sure seems as though Apple sandbagged about the water resistance. There are brave users like Tim Cook who shower with their Watch on but so far my wariness of ruining it has limited my water exposure to washing my hands.

The battery life has also been a pleasant surprise. My day starts at 8 a.m., I try to workout three to four times a week, have a yard to maintain and am a night owl. Even with this elevated usage I have yet to see the battery dip below 30 percent.  And since my iPhone isn’t waking up and vibrating with all of the notifications it’s sending to the Watch I’ve noticed improved battery life there as well.

I tested the watch’s heart rate monitor against the built-in heart rate monitor on two different stationary bikes and an elliptical.  The rate came within one or two heartbeats per minute, finally allowing me to believe those machines have been telling the truth all these years.

Taking calls on your watch sounded completely silly at first. In our open office it would be rude to make a call but in the car and at home it’s a great and easy way to communicate without actively holding a device. For example, I can keep cooking dinner or fold laundry while talking to my mom. (Hi, Mom!)

Apple Watch notifications for messages, emails, twitter and calendar reminders make the Watch so useful. As was addressed in the opening, the simple glance and dismiss functionality allows you to be more present with people and in the moment. It would be a nice future feature to select different rhythms and intensities to differentiate between notifications or contacts.

Replying to mail won’t be here until Watch OS2 but using Siri to send to messages or start a phone call is fast and simple, and might be my favorite way to communicate right now. The default replies can be edited for your style.

Twitter notifications like mentions, favorites, and retweets are sent to Apple Watch and Twitter’s app allows tweeting from the Watch but with some limitations. Personally, I’m holding out for the best Twitter app, Tweetbot, to make a Watch app. (Tick tock, Tweetbot!)

The built-in exercises the Watch will track are limited to Outdoor Run, Outdoor Walk, Outdoor Cycle, Indoor Run, Indoor Walk, Indoor Cycle, Elliptical, Rower, Stair Stepper and Other. Most of my workouts are in the “Other” category, which is fine but as processors and accelerometers improve I’m hopeful Watch will be able to track exercises like pull ups, sit ups, weight lifting, and other fitness activities.

Overall there are many positive features, but there are a few cons as well. At times Siri isn’t the easiest digital personal to wake up via voice and occasionally the home screen is unresponsive. This is probably to prevent Watch from being accidently woken up and to preserve battery life. Perhaps the sensitivity will get dialed in over time. The Digital Crown and Force Touch functionality are largely wasted because third party apps don’t have access to them but that will change with Watch OS2.

This product is useful right out of the box but the future of the device is most exciting. Coming in Watch OS2, more customizable watch faces to enhance the home screen with information that is important to you. Time Travel on the home screen; not only to see what’s coming up next but what your predicted battery life will be at that future moment. The SDK and native apps from third party developers will eliminate the current lag time.

All in all, the Apple Watch is a delightful way to navigate your life and work while leaving your phone in your pocket.

Contact us and let IQ research new and emerging technologies for your business.

You may also like:

Coming Home: Noah Echols Rejoins IQ as Director of Strategy

Smith & Wesson Blows up the Competition

The Five Roles in a Project Team


IQ Spotlight: Shaun Hines, Art Director

IQ Spotlight - Shaun Hines

IQ is made up of a bunch of rockstars that make incredible work for our clients everyday. We want to give you a glimpse of what it’s like to work in IQ, so every other Friday we’re going to interview an IQ-er and let you get to know them better.

For the official record, what is your name and your title at IQ?

My name is Shaun Hines and I’m an Art Director at IQ.

What was your first impression of IQ?

My first impression was that it was a smaller agency that felt very comfortable with approachable, down to earth people.

Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant so far in your career?

Working on the Coca-Cola Freestyle website during my first job in the digital agency world. The project, along with the designers I worked with, really changed my design sensibilities and also allowed me to gain some amazing friends/colleagues in the process.

Tell me about the moment you knew this was the direction you wanted to pursue professionally.

This is actually a two-fold answer. I knew this was an area I loved when I was thirteen and I created my own fan page for my favorite shows long before blogging became popular. I taught myself Paint Shop Pro (before Photoshop) and HTML — and I just loved it. I wasn’t until my second year of college that I realized that this could be an actual career field for me and not just a hobby. So, I knew then that that was what I wanted to do.

What does “Creative Intelligence” mean to you?

To me, “Creative Intelligence” means having the skill and the taste for creativity, yet having the intelligence to decipher what the client wants and delivering work that everyone is satisfied with.

What is something you’ve learned in the last week?

I recently learned the truth about weather report percentages. When they say there’s a 40% chance of rain that means that 40% of the city will see the rain, not that there’s only a chance it might actually rain. MIND. BLOWN.


Ice cream or frozen yogurt?

Ice cream.

Queso or guacamole?


Instagram or Snapchat?


Manga or comic books?

Manga. No debating.

Paper & ink or tablet & computer?

Tablet & computer.

Now you know a little more about Shaun Hines!

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

You may also like:

Coming Home: Noah Echols Rejoins IQ as Director of Strategy

Smith & Wesson Blows up the Competition

The Next Big Fight Won’t Involve Boxers


Coming Home

Noah Echols Rejoins IQ as Director of Strategy

Noah Echols Return to IQ

It’s different for everybody, but I’ve learned over the past couple years what it is that makes me happy at work.

I worked for a large agency several years ago and I got to work with some really big, exciting clients on projects that make careers. Prior to that I worked for a journalism start up that focused on the niche topic of juvenile justice. I went home each day feeling as if I was doing something beneficial for society – helping to shed light on a topic that is under covered by mainstream media outlets. And just recently I led digital marketing for a large, very stable, well-respected company. I had the privilege of having the trust of leadership to do a lot of big projects in a relatively short amount of time that separated the company from its competition in terms of its digital marketing sophistication.

While all great jobs, none of them fulfilled me professionally.

For me, it’s the people and the environment we create together that matter. I don’t mean that I just need to like the people I work with – at each of the places I’ve worked, the people have been fantastic. It’s the culture that we cultivate that matters – one where you work hard together and at the end of the day feel like you accomplished something great AND grew personally in the process.

The reason I came back to IQ is because I craved the indirect opportunities to learn and grow by just being surrounded by so many brilliant people approaching a similar problem from different perspectives. IQ is especially unique because egos are non-existent, the people are fun and friendly, and the culture is one of support and collaboration unlike anywhere I’ve ever seen. It truly is a hub of innovative thinking for our clients because we all love what we do and thoroughly enjoy doing it everyday with each other.

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

You may also like:

Smith & Wesson Blows up the Competition

The Next Big Fight Won’t Involve Boxers

At IQ #weloveATL


The Five Roles in a Project Team

5 Roles in a Project Team

An agency is the perfect environment for big personalities to come together and create unique, insightful, performance-driven products. Most of the world sees the final, refined results, but behind the curtain is hours upon hours of teamwork. While this collaboration between roles can certainly be harmonious, it usually comes with a little friction too.

As the team works together, the project manager guides the workflow and conversation while encouraging collaboration, turning critiques into improvements and encouraging open-mindedness. The project manager works as a mediator, recognizing when people aren’t connecting and then building bridges between their ideas. So how do project managers create compromises and harmony? First, they get to know the various personalities of the team members.

The course Introduction to Project Management from Looking Glass Development defines the roles that people naturally fall into. It’s important that a project manager recognizes how these roles come together to make a well-rounded project team.


  • Creators are natural-born leaders. They’re the brainstormers and idea people who can’t be confined to boundaries.
  • They’re always thinking about what’s new, which means they can also lose focus as the project develops.


  • Less than 5% of people, the advancers are like coaches giving an inspiring locker room speech. They’re the motivators, charmers and sellers. The advancers can sell anyone on a new, cutting-edge idea that would seem too risky were it not for their confidence, while giving the team the drive it needs to perform well.


  • The refiners are the detail people, the logical ones, or as a creator (the antithesis of a refiner) might say, “the dream killers.” Refiners think through what actually needs to happen to implement an idea, and they tend to balance the creator by calling out what is and isn’t feasible.
  • The grounded approach the refiner takes is essential in order to successfully create a product.


  • Executors are often the most under recognized of all roles. They’re not leaders, nor are they creative or innovative. But they get things done. No matter how challenging, they’ll finish on time, and the product will be exactly what was communicated to them.
  • They execute so well that they prefer to tackle everything completely on their own, which means they can sometimes have trouble delegating work.

Project Manager

  • Project managers take on each role, knowing when one is lacking and taking it upon themselves to restore balance. They face the most harrowing challenge by encompassing the other roles while also working to empower other team members.

It is very important to have at least one person in all of these roles on a team. Here’s why:

When concepting a new project, there always seems to be at least one person (typically a creator) with a grand, large-scale idea that they claim will solve every problem in the world. While it might be an interesting concept, it’s then time for the refiner to chime in to check the concept: is this feasible? Or maybe the executor: is this something I can actually do? Even the advancer should ask: can we get people excited about this? Once all of these questions are addressed and accounted for, that’s when a project really comes together.

As the project progresses, the executor implements the team’s idea. Though once the creator’s interest wanes, they’ll need some encouragement from the advancer to power through. The refiner thinks ahead, anticipating the team’s best plan of attack for any changes, and the project manager keeps a watchful eye on the team to maintain a healthy balance.

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

You may also like:

How Facebook’s New Algorithm Impacts Brands

At IQ #weloveATL

The Next Big Fight Won’t Involve Boxers

  • 05.07.15

Smith & Wesson Blows up the Competition.

M&P_ExperienceStrategy and creative teamed up for IQ’s new campaign for the American icon, Smith & Wesson. The POV campaign lets consumers project themselves into the shooting experience and see how it looks and feels to have a Smith & Wesson M&P in their hands. And there’s nothing quite as fun as blowing up a watermelon.

Watch the TV spot:

See the rig that let’s the camera shoot right down the barrel during live fire:

This is one of many campaigns IQ has created for Smith & Wesson brands. IQ is an integrated agency with digital at the core. We work primarily with brands that need strong strategy, planning and integrated execution across media. Check out our Portfolio section to see more of our work.

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

You may also like:

The Next Big Fight Won’t Involve Boxers

The New Brass Ring: Trusted Knowledge Source

How Facebook’s New Algorithm Impacts Brands

Stay Informed