Today, a Q & A with the President of French/West/Vaughan, David Gwyn
What are some ways FWV has pivoted or evolved since the pandemic began?
FWV has done a tremendous job on behalf of our clients in keeping their marketing messaging and brand touch points moving forward over the past year. Just using our long-time client Wrangler as an example, FWV and the brand executed two virtual product line reviews with New York City media members; we hosted a “Can’t Stop Country” virtual concert series on Wrangler’s digital platform The Wrangler Network; and the agency worked closely with rodeo’s governing body – the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association – to safely host this year’s National Finals Rodeo in Dallas instead of Las Vegas. We are moving forward with most of our annual programming for brands, just in different and more creative ways.
I equate success in 2020 to a “first mover” mentality. Think of a restaurant that changed its business model last spring to invest in outdoor seating space, install or set up heaters and roofing, and create a customer-friendly to-go ordering system. Those quick decisions and investments set the foundation for successful operations post-pandemic. The same will be true in the agency business.
How have you seen the agency world as a whole change due to COVID-19?
The agency world as a whole is a special lifestyle that offers people a “profession with a personality.” While the work is intense and fast-paced, it is also very rewarding and can be quite fun at times. Without face-to-face collaboration, in-person presentations and the ability to travel to brand-sponsored events, the agency world feels more like a job during these COVID times. While the work is still getting done – sometimes even better than ever – I know we all long to get back together, collaborate and celebrate successful programs and campaigns.
With many opportunities and events like the Grammy’s, Olympics, ACM Awards, etc. put on hold this past year, what are some of the most successful ways you’ve seen brands shift their strategies, and how can brands tap into these major events while they are virtual or under other limitations?
I believe the 2020 NFL Draft set the tone for how virtual “celebrations” have been handled during the pandemic. By having draft picks celebrate from home with their friends and family, we saw a different side of these athletes via what they were wearing, how those around them reacted and how they handled the news of being drafted in their interviews. Things are not the same, but event producers, the media and great brands are figuring things out as they go. While millions and millions of people may not be watching events like they used to, the long-term effect of the content that comes from virtual events and the related social media postings may indeed create more exposure for events and brands than a traditional event would.
Taking what you’ve learned or experienced this past year, how do you see FWV and agencies in general moving forward still amid the pandemic and beyond?
I think there have been some incredible learnings this past year as far as how business gets done. While marketing strategies and principles are still the cornerstone for successful campaigns, creative execution will be more important than ever going forward. There are so many more ways to do things now, and those ideas can come from any level of the organization. To me, that means deeper collaboration across all associates, and team leaders need to create an environment for those best-in-class ideas and executions.
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