A day in the life of... Director of the Unexpected
Published: 18 Apr 2016 By Ben Davis
Two of the most-loved things about our industry are undoubtedly experiential marketing and people with silly job titles.
I'm sure Joss Davidge, Director of the Unexpected at BEcause, won't mind me saying that.
The agency has been responsible for such work as the Boursin Sensorium (an early use of branded VR) - so, we thought Joss might have some interesting insights.
Here's a day in his life...
Please describe your job: what does a Director of the Unexpected do?
As my title suggests, every day is different! But broadly, my role is all about helping brands think outside the box and connect with consumers in fresh and unexpected ways.
With the support of my brilliant team of experiential experts, we design and deliver disruptive brand experiences that meet real marketing challenges.
I’m responsible for a lot of different areas of the agency: business development, strategy, creative technology, right through to experiential planning and measurement.
Over the last decade, I’m lucky enough to have worked with numerous household names and brands that I really admire across many sectors.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
As you might imagine, the Director of the Unexpected reports to everybody and nobody.
My role touches on every aspect of the business, so I have the privilege of working closely with inspiring people at all levels right across the team.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
Curiosity, determination and a passion for trying new things are all essential.
As an agency, we’re always looking for new ways to push the boundaries, so I’m always thinking about how different brands could take advantage of latest trends and technologies.
We thrive on creating surprise and intrigue through inspiring campaigns, and building brand love and loyalty in the process through hugely memorable experiential campaigns.
It’s also really important to have clear objectives in this industry, and to have a laser-like focus on success and measurement right from the very beginning.
There’s simply no point coming up with a big idea if it doesn’t actually achieve your goals.
Tell us about a typical working day…
In this job, there really is no such thing. Every day brings with it different challenges and possibilities.
One day I’m pitching for new business or leading one of our experiential marketing masterclasses for brand owners. The next day might find me testing out new CGI and virtual reality technology, or travelling across the globe to find out first-hand about the latest emerging trends.
That variety is what I love about this role, and what I love about being part of a thriving and bustling agency.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
The world of experiential marketing has always been a very exciting one where almost anything was possible. Now, with the huge growth of live creative tech such as VR and AR, impossible worlds are a reality.
One of our most recent campaigns even allowed consumers to travel through the inside of a fridge.
The opportunities for creativity are truly boundless, while the direct face-to-face element at the heart of all great activations remains just as powerful as it always has been.
This ensures campaigns engage consumers at a very powerful, personal level and that messages stand the test of time.
The only downside of my role is one that so many of us in this industry face: I’m always racing against the clock, and my greatest challenge is not having enough time to implement all our ideas.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
It’s a total myth that experiential marketing is hard to evaluate. There may be a ton of creativity involved, but that doesn’t mean experiential campaigns can’t be as effectively measured as any other marketing or advertising activity.
To measure success, you just need to be clear in advance what you’re setting out to achieve, and use the best mix of tools and metrics to then gauge success.
We actually have developed our own tool called the Brand Value Generator which we use to compare predicted and actual returns.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
I have to confess to being a techno geek. That used to be a bad thing, but these days it is absolutely fundamental for marketing.
I've bought every iPhone and iPad iteration that’s come on the market, and I probably have in excess of 500 apps on my phone.
The internet is also a sometimes undervalued resource, as we’re all now so used to its presence at all times.
But, used with intention, the web provides access to an unlimited supply of visual and creative content. I’m constantly scouring the web for new ideas and best practice examples.
How did you get started in the digital industry, and where might you go from here?
Before I joined BEcause, I spent 20 years involved in client-side marketing for some very well-known FMCG brands.
Seeing the huge growth potential of experiential marketing and live brand experience, I decided to make the jump and join the agency world.
With the development in VR and AR tech, it’s a really exciting time for the experiential industry.
More and more brands are now embracing the value of experiential and so the industry will only continue to accelerate even faster.
We’re only just hitting the tip of the iceberg for the potential these live creative technologies can offer. It’s exciting to see what will happen next.
Which brands do you think are doing digital well?
I think Samsung and GoPro are both doing a great job. These are two brands that both understand the importance of good content and are not afraid to experiment to get results.
The most successful digital brands are ones who recognise that they must offer the consumer something special.
Reward their attention with great content and fresh experiences and you’ll be well on the way to gaining consumer loyalty and building brand love.
Do you have any advice for people who want to work in the digital industry?
Explore as much as you can. There are so many different jobs and companies out there and each take a very different approach.
It’s important that you find the right one for you. When you really love what you do, it shows in your work and your attitude.
And always look ahead. The digital industry changes so fast and the most successful individuals are the ones who can anticipate the changes and use them to their advantage.
If you're looking for a new challenge in digital, see the Econsultancy jobs board or benchmark your own digital knowledge using our Digital Skills Index.
Alternatively, if you already work in the digital industry and would like a Day In The Life profile, you can email us via firstname.lastname@example.org