Current Clients: Xerox and Fortis (International Banking & Insurance Services Provider)
Worked in: London and have run international business out of Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam.
Why do people see you as an innovator? Although Dan certainly has a reputation for speaking clearly and directly, one of our 2007 Innovators, Peter Colvin — also of Mediaedge:cia, may sum up Dan’s approach to innovation best: “Dan has a strong strategic mind and has always championed innovation. With a unique knack of cutting through difficulties, he develops simply-crafted communication strategies that inspire implementation planners to deliver great activation ideas within local markets.
Dan has the right blend of skills to inspire and lead those around him, and is an enemy of mediocrity.”
How have you demonstrated innovation with client partners recently? I regularly run workshops on creativity and innovation in communications and media, and our financial client, Fortis, provides a good example. Thirty of Fortis’ global marketing directors attended a 2-day workshop which we hosted in a London cathedral. The inspiring location helped to provide some engaging communication ideas that worked to support their new brand positioning. Additionally, forty Fortis Merchant and Private Banking chiefs attended a 2-day workshop to take them out of their 'financial comfort zone' in order to help them better align the company’s offerings with its new global brand communications.
When the new Fortis positioning was introduced, we staged workshops with local markets. The goal was not simply to share the global rationale, but to tease out local nuances and relevances for individual markets and to generate creative media ideas and media firsts. Many of current creative executions emerged from those workshops.
As a result, Fortis included me on their judging panel to select a global advertising network. I am honored that my client views me as a key marketing component of the Fortis organization, and am humbled by that sign of trust, partnership and recognition of value and innovation. I was also asked to present our media strategy directly to the Fortis CEO.
How would you characterize innovation in your work? Innovation in media occurs when solutions are born out of real consumer and brand insight. Then we are able to marry content (what you say, usually done by the advertising agency)) with context (where and when you say it, done by the media agency). This should happen 100% of the time. Interestingly, when this is done well, a media idea can actually shape content or even become the content itself. When we are given total channel neutrality, and when we consider all possible consumer touchpoints and 'routes to market,' our work can truly demonstrate-- and not merely claim-- our clients’ brand values.
Other Internationalist Trivia: Dan started out as a Tennis Coach upon leaving school, and comments that it was good for his fitness but not for his wallet.
While in college, Dan, with friends, set up a music company that involved working as a DJ, running nightclubs and promoting soul, jazz, funk, house, rave, and groove music. He left for something more “substantial,” by going into the media business. His partners continued with the music company and went on to become the global DJ megastars—Judge Jules and Norman Jay. (He claims that he has no regrets.)