Kia’s Dave Schoonover: “Agencies struggle with the small stuff”

Dave Schoonover, senior manager of digital at Kia, doesn’t believe that traditional agencies are dead — but he does believe that brands can do some things faster than agencies can.  The way that large agencies are structured directly impacts their ability to do things “at a piecemeal scale,” he said in a recent session with managing editor Shareen Pathak, recorded live at the Digiday Brand Summit in Park City, Utah this past December. Some highlights, edited for clarity:

Don’t be distracted by the big name – look at the team
The lure of the big-name agency is real, but Schoonover recommends examining the actual team and determining whether they have the  skills to build your business. “Make sure that team is the team you want,” says Schoonover.

Advice for large agencies: Partner with small, highly innovative agencies
Schoonover recommends partnering with smaller agencies that specialize in new technologies to learn about how they approach business problems. The partnership can go both ways too: “They [smaller agencies] benefit because they don’t have the distribution channel that big agencies have.”

Teach your agency about the details of your business
Consumer brands have to wrangle supply chain logistics, a fact that doesn’t come up often enough in discussions with their agencies. To bridge the knowledge gap, Schoonover subscribes to elements of agile project management to make sure that Kia’s agencies and Kia’s brand marketers know what both sides deal with to increase collaboration and manage expectations.

Listen to Schoonover at the Digiday Brand Summit in Park City, Utah in the Digiday Live episode above. Get more insight into how brands are tackling the next wave of brand marketing by listening to more Digiday Live episodes from the brand summit below:

  • Gedioen Aloula, vp of marketing at Visa, believes that innovation shouldn’t be siloed to one team: “Every team must have innovation in it.”
  • Nag Odekar, vp of marketing at Great-West Financial, shares how brands can make an impact by partnering with other brands, and what makes a great partnership.
  • Finance brands are gradually buying in to the promise of content marketing. Bank of America’s Ann Hynek and Morgan Stanley’s John Von Brachel talk with Digiday editor in chief Brian Morrissey about how content has become a value proposition.

Keep up with the best sessions from Digiday events by subscribing to Digiday Live on iTunes or Stitcher.

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