Razorfish founder Jeff Dachis of Dachis Group: from brand management to social media
Entrepreneur and media powerhouse Jeff Dachis has been around the block enough times to know how brands should operate. As the co-founder of Razorfish, one of the first companies to have an animated homepage and now of the of the largest interactive agencies, Jeff has helped lead brands and media into our new world of social media and constant connected-ness.
He's now the lead of the Dachis Group, which is a game changer in the world of real-time marketing, analytics, and social business intelligence. Their newest tool shows data and real-time conversations in a dashboard for clients. Anthony Ha from TechCrunch wrote, "It also examines the “velocity” of the conversation and the likely lifecycle — whether the conversation is going to keep building or die out in a few hours." A pretty invaluable brand tool.
We sat down with Jeff to hear his point of view on the media scene, from his own Twitter feed to what brands are doing wrong. You're going to want to see what he had to say about it all.
Muck Rack: Some people see big data collection as a threat, how do you deflect that?
Jeff Dachis: It’s a double-edged sword. It’s something that’s a real concern. There’s an enormous amount of power in the conversations and the voice of the individual. That voice has not been present, historically, in the world dialogue of business of religion or of communications. The democratization of the tools of self expression have empowered individuals to speak about brands, about cookies, about kitty cats, about anything! And guess what, they’re doing it, they’re talking. That’s enabling people to benefit from recommendations, ratings and reviews, thoughts and ideas. We’ve now been empowered to share it all, worldwide and free, all in HD. That benefit is enormous. But, the privacy equation is a very serious one, and people need to be cognizant of what they’re saying and sharing in public.
MR: How does the Dachis Group use and interact with social? What are some practices you live by with social interaction?
JD: Our firm has, over the years and for hundreds of clients, helped determine what their best practices are and helped them understand what they should be doing in social. But I don’t think there’s any one track to follow. We’re prolific, we’re out there. Our first website had a stream of our company emails on the front page. We wanted to show people that open, transparent, authentic communication was going to create more value for us. We’re bloggers, we tweet a lot.
MR: How do you shift away from the robotic, traditional marketing, and move brands conversations on social?
JD: Every brand is unique, and you need to find what that brand voice is and be authentic about that brand voice. If you’re a serious brand like an insurance company and you start tweeting all of this funny stuff out, people are going to think you’re bizarre and unauthentic. I think having a transparent, authentic, and brand-consistent voice is really crucial. There’s a concerted approach by design that brands and companies need to take to make sure they’re engaging with customers and the marketplace so that they’re trusted.
Social dashboard from Dachis Group
MR: You’ve been in this space for a long time. Where do you see marketing and social headed in the next five to ten years?
JD: We’re seeing a dip in the water right now. This is nothing compared to the kind of evolution you’re going to see. To pigeonhole what we see today as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest as what will be is just ludicrous. They’re the seeds that will be the plants that will grow the trees, and there will be a whole ecosystem of people connecting and sharing in new ways. I don’t know what it will look like, but all of this social engagement is where the conversations will be happening. It’s where the audience is going to be and it’s where brands need to be participating. If they’re not participating in real time, then they’re missing out of the audience and relevant topics.
MR: Who are your favorite tweeters?
JD: I limit my follow count to 250. I have a highly curated feed. I’m very specific about what feed I’m willing to consume. There are a bunch of people I’m interested in. Venture capitalists, journalists, news organizations, some friends, and some obscure artists. I get a kick out of Cat Marnell, former xoJane writer turned junkie. She tweets about her angel dust usage and she’s a fashion editor junkie who’s open about it.
MR: There’s some great brand interaction out there. What are some brands that are doing a good job on social?
JD: The goal is putting out owned content, whether it be pancake pictures or links to videos or links to sites. The brand-building aspect of social is the most powerful of the marketing funnel. Brand-building is where social is going to excel because of the engagement that you can drive on social is far greater than anything you can derive out of measured media. I can put an ad on TV or I can put out a tweet. The tweet will generate more engagement than the dollars you’re spending on TV. Brand-building through engagement marketing is an undeniable fact, and social will be the place where that happens. You can be the best brand, but if you don’t connect the voice of the brand with the actions of the brand, then it’s worse than never tweeting at all.