avatar

IQ Spotlight: T.R. Wilhoit, Brand Strategist

IQ Spotlight TR Wilhoit, Brand Strategist

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 once a month 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 T.R. Wilhoit and I’m a Brand Strategist at IQ.

What are a few sites you visit at least once a week?

I check Pulse, which is a news aggregator, CNN, and Twitter pretty regularly. They’re useful and pragmatic.

What does “Creative Intelligence” mean to you?

I think it’s the center point where creative executions meet with strategy. I think it’s more conceptual than strategy that informs creative, but the magic meeting between the two.

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

I didn’t really have that moment. It’s been more like a journey of the next logical step. I didn’t study advertising in school, but I interned at IQ and I liked it. I was kind of the black sheep of my major, Sport Marketing. Most people wanted to work in professional sports, I was more “ I like marketing and social media.” And they were like “what’s social media?” So I did more digital work in internships, which lead me here.

What gets you “in the zone” for work?

It depends on what kind of work I’m doing. If it’s more collaborative conceptual thinking or strategy messaging, then laughing helps. If you’re having a good time with the people you’re brainstorming with then that helps get ideas going. If I’m doing something more on my own I like to put on my headphones and put on whatever playlist I have handy.

Quickfire:

Beach or Pool?

Beach.

Stripes or Polka Dots?

Stripes.

Checkers or Chess?

Checkers.

Cats or Dogs?

Cats.

Tea or Coffee?

Coffee.

Now you know a little more about T.R. Wilhoit!

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

You may also like:

IQ Spotlight: Shaun Hines, Art Director

5 Things We Learned as an Agency at Camp Mac

Robots Just Stole Half Your Media Buy

avatar

Twitter: Now With Ocean-Breeze Long Form!

Twitter's Long Form Announcement

According to Recode Twitter is releasing a new product that will allow users and brands to publish content that exceed the current 140 character limit of the native Twitter timeline.

Most of the Internet including yours truly originally took this news to mean the Twitter timeline we love would become a bloated mess. And from a user perspective we expected this feature would drive us away. The current Twitter timeline isn’t built or designed for long form. It would take forever to scroll through someone’s late-night alcohol-fueled post-breakup novella. Let alone a verbose poorly written brand statement about their most recent social media gaff.

But this is not the case according to that article. This will be a new product possibly akin to the recently released Moments. We are betting this new feature, like Moments, will be accessible via Twitter’s mobile apps and desktop.

But long form on Twitter is exciting to think about from a marketing point of view. When your strategic research is founded in proven best practices, long form Twitter could be a marketer’s and brand’s dream come true. We will have a new and exciting way to reach users, fans, and followers that is less limiting; allowing us to craft more engaging stories and inspire deeper consumer actions.

You might be asking, “But why is Twitter doing this?”

The 1985 Global System for Mobile Communication set the character limits on text messages at 160 characters. When Twitter launched in 2006, they set the limit at 140 leaving 20 characters for the username. This allowed the tweet to be delivered in one complete text message rather than multiple messages.

But the mobile technology we use every day has evolved far past those early days and Twitter needs to grow to help people (and advertisers) tell their story and share more information. For example, Twitter made a play on native texting earlier this year when they removed the character limitations in Direct Messages.

At the end of the day Twitter is a publically traded company with shareholders to please. Twitter has a highly vested interest in making its platforms and products are more engaging to stimulate its lagging growth and increase use to turn a profit for their investors.

So here is the 140 million dollar question. Will long form Twitter increase engagement and the user base? Probably. At least when the feature is first launched. But we have to also remember that other social platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn have had the long form corner of the social web locked up for a long time.

Need help with your social strategy? Let us know how IQ can help you!

You may also like:

5 Things We Learned As An Agency at Camp Mac

Robots Just Stole Half Your Media Buy

IQ CEO Tony Quin interviewed in Cannes

avatar

Robots just Stole Half your Media Buy

ThinkstockPhotos-477349822

In the past 5 years, if you’ve been part of a media planning discussion, you’ve probably heard the term “programmatic buying.” Prior to programmatic media buying, an advertiser would need to research and identify specific sites that were a fit for a brand and then negotiate the rate, placement, etc. This not only took time, but it limited the reach of your audience taking some of the potential power away from digital. Programmatic buying on the other hand, offers a wide reach across thousands of sites enabled by technology that allows you to target a specific user profile in real-time.

For example, a typical programmatic transaction would involve a user clicking on a website where their IP location and browsing history would then be packaged up and provided to an auction site, at that point the technology mentioned earlier would comb through their profile and determine whether to place an ad next to the article they’re about to read based on the stats (traffic, demographics, content) of that particular site. Using this approach, a brand could theoretically ensure that its ads were being placed in the right place, at the right time, and in front of the right person.

ThinkstockPhotos-460247147

However, with so many sites now available in real-time, it’s impossible to actually know where your ads are running – especially before you’ve already run them. There’s obvious danger around putting blind faith in an automated system, and that danger was recently realized in the form of a research report by the Association of National Advertisers titled, “The Bot Baseline: Fraud in Digital Advertising.”

In the study, the ANA claims that they had expected to find bot-focused websiteswith nothing but a bot audience, but out of nearly three million websites covered in the study, only a few thousand were completely built for bots. Most of the bots visited real websites run by real companies with real human visitors. Those bots inflated the monetized audiences at those sites by 5 to 50 percent.

ThinkstockPhotos-465463337

Anyone who has placed a buy using programmatic advertising knows that following along with the placements and results is complex and specifics are hard to nail down. In fact, some brands that participated in the report said that when they had asked for itemized bills from the various agencies and data companies hired, they all refused. In fact, it may be that this frustration has helped fuel the unprecedented number of media agency reviews in the past year.

Shockingly, what the ANA research proved is that digital ad viewers are increasingly not human. When reviewing data for a video that Chrysler ran last year they found that only 2% of the views were from actual people. A more egregious example is one that was detailed in a Business Week article that highlighted how two placeholder videos shown within a Myspace custom ad unit have become some of the most watched videos in internet history. One of which, you have absolutely never seen, yet it has 1.5 billion views making it bigger than any video currently on YouTube.

ThinkstockPhotos-450365341

The problem is that traffic numbers and impressions sell ad space and ad dollars are the goal, so with many competing sites to run your ads in and the prominence of programmatic, low-involvement auctions, fake traffic has become a commodity. It’s so blatant that there are actually active posts on LinkedIn where you can buy traffic. And publishers are not likely to inform their advertisers when they’re buying traffic for obvious reasons.

Hopefully, this information will shine enough light on these practices that they change. However, to be sure that you’re actually getting what you pay for in your media plan, the ANA offers some advice (an extended list is available within the report):

  • Work closely with your agency to mitigate, and hopefully, eliminate ad fraud. Chances are your media agency is not scamming you. If you’re getting fooled, so is your media buying agency – work together to create a plan.
  • Insist on learning more about the third-party companies running your programmatic buy. Find out how they reduce fraud on their end, how is traffic verified, search for any associated reviews and fraud reports online.
  • Authorize and approve third-party traffic validation technology.To effectively combat bots in their media buys, advertisers must be able to deploy monitoring tools – if your agency or media partners don’t allow that, consider looking elsewhere.
  • Apply day-parting when you can. Bot fraud represents a higher proportion of traffic between midnight and 7 am – reduce bots by concentrating your spend during ‘waking hours’.
  • Consider reducing buys for older browsers. A large number of bots exist that were created claiming to use IE6 or IE7, excluding these browsers from your targeting will help reduce a large portion of bot traffic.

avatar
  • 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.

avatar

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.

 

avatar
  • 08.17.15

Mojitos and SoDA

ALON DAVID PHOTOHGRAPHY

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”.

avatar
  • 08.13.15

Equifax and Post Properties pick IQ as AOR

EquifaxPostAORblog

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.

avatar

HAL in your pocket – Artificial Intelligence is here

ThinkstockPhotos-173541019

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.

avatar

Three Weeks with a Computer on my Wrist

Russ's Apple Watch Review

UPDATED: 11/3/15  Tweetbot has released a native Apple Watch App. More information can be found here.

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

avatar

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.

Quickfire:

Ice cream or frozen yogurt?

Ice cream.

Queso or guacamole?

Queso.

Instagram or Snapchat?

Instagram.

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

Stay Informed