I guess it is now time for me to emerge, out of the deep confines of radio silence, and address the world.
So “Hello world” – from an agency executive, that is now getting more expressive than ever, unleashing the collective customedialabs thought leadership, to the entire digital universe.
What a ride it has been thus far for me. From the end of the 20th century to today, I have been very fortunate to be involved in a myriad of digital innovation activities that have shaped who I am today.
It was not an easy ride for me, as a young college graduate, emigrating from the Old World. I had no idea what it meant to start a career, let alone to start a career in a business and cultural environment foreign to me. The US of A proved to be a very welcoming place for me, as a young Computer Systems Engineer, eager to work hard in the discipline I adored. It did not take much effort to prove that I could be a great addition to an enterprise that wanted to leverage new ideas and a fresh perspective into the era that was about to emerge.
It all started back in late 1998, not many people knew that we were in the beginning stages of the digital revolution as it relates to brands and business. There were even fewer people that had the education, the frame of mind, and the vision to be able to make the most out of the opportunity that this new era would present.
So what was so unique about the digital revolution? It was the first time that the world began to recognize the new set of channels that could move business forward better than the older traditional channels. It was also the first time that brands could be represented in a way that was allowing their target audience to directly interact with them, and generate immediate results.
This new era would heavily require and involve technology – all facets of it. For the first time ever, it would engage disciplines stemming from technology, business and branding to deliver a comprehensive audience experience. The last element, branding, was fast becoming a critical catalyst for successful brand expressions. The ever-evolving quest to differentiate brands and captivate specific audience segments pushed us to use these disciplines to better address the increasingly savvy target audience through collaboration and innovation.
In the early days we were involved with unprecedented initiatives to address business and brand needs like:
- Delivering digital rich media experiences for luxury brands like Sea Ray Yachts to captivate high net worth consumers.
- Deploying employment portals for highly educated professionals in the healthcare industry.
- Launching enterprise level eCommerce and eBusiness websites that interfaced with CRM and ERP systems, which empowered American farmers to transact directly with both DuPont and Pioneer.
This representative sample of initiatives, as well as many others of similar scale and philosophy, has provided us with the best start to develop and refine a vision of what the future holds. It also showed us how a glimpse of the future can be delivered every step of the way, enforcing the famous saying from Alan Kay that stated:
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”
As my vision started to gain more clarity, I began to realize that I needed to develop my own brand. This new brand would ensure the successful translation of my vision into custom emerging media solutions for every client that I was going to consult. The new brand would mix art and science in controlled lab-like environments.
And this is the birth of a new brand: customedialabs.
A brand that combines a unique blend of: consulting, agency, creative, technology, psychology, architecture, engineering, and many more delectable ingredients.
From a risk management perspective, I was possibly approaching an area of dangerous territory. My core consulting experience in the delivery of digital innovation was not necessarily translating directly into entrepreneurial success. However, the vision was so strong that I was determined to risk and sacrifice everything to deliver a new way of thinking to the business world.
And so it began – a perilous journey of approximately 10 years, spanning through the dire-straits of the economic downfall following 9/11, and the even more destructive business dark ages of the recent past. This adventurous journey has taught me some amazing things that have strengthened the consulting vision of my organization and help propel it into the future.
The experience gained from the last 10 years has helped my vision mature and also showed me (amongst many other things) the importance of:
Honesty / Transparency / Humility / Agility / Openness / Passion / Compassion / Innovation
Following this 10-year journey, I feel that we reached the knee of our brand’s growth curve. The customedialabs brand has vastly matured and is no longer just a personal vision. The days where I was a small cog, of a huge consulting engine, powerless to call the shots, are long gone.
The brand we have created is now the source of thought leadership that is generated by about 25 souls. These people have aligned their individual future with the customedialabs collective future. Together the brand becomes a powerful machine that turns dreams into reality and ideas into practical innovation.
We have come full circle and I am finally playing in the same league that I was a part of, back when I was starting out. We have an impressive Fortune 500 client list that is growing year after year. We also serve small to medium size clients. They represent the future leading global brands and we want to help them realize their full potential. And last but not least, we proudly devote a significant amount of our time to assist non-profit organizations. These organizations do so much good, in a world that forgets so easily, that there are many less fortunate people that need our help.
So what does the future hold for customedialabs? The possibilities are endless for customedialabs.
Our agency has one principal mission: to leverage cutting-edge, multidisciplinary practices that align brands with their true potential and move businesses forward. We deliver both the “thinking” and the “doing” that each brand critically needs, with an agile, iterative approach that minimizes risk and reduces time to market.
We deliver results, without the clients simply throwing money at their brand challenges. We take a more thoughtful approach and merge the appropriate application of insightful and resourceful thinking together with enterprise level doing.
In order for an agency to be successful in the new era it must possess multidisciplinary consultants that understand:
Branding / Marketing/ Business / Communications / Psychology / Information Technology
…at a minimum.
Our team here at customedialabs has been influenced by all these disciplines and delivers one more dimension in the mix: cultural and geographic diversity. This gives us a very powerful edge- a more comprehensive multidimensional point of view. This benefit is a result of having offices both in North America and in Europe. This final agent gives us a more global perspective in our quest to deliver a holistic point of view to our clients.
So what is missing for customedialabs to achieve global domination?
Being a perfectionist, I could cite a healthy amount of things that we will always be striving for. Clients that understand that although nobody got fired because they hired IBM, on the flip side, nobody got promoted without taking risks, albeit calculated ones, to innovate and deliver the disruptive change that propels their brand to greater levels.
Being a conservative optimist, I know that there are more companies out there that are starving for fresh thinking. Like the ones that we have had the privilege of partnering with thus far, there are companies that believe we can deliver disruptive innovation that can achieve results even in seriously contested market verticals, even though we don’t have the longest track record to date.
Our agency is finally out in the open, calling it like it is, ready to take on the next brand challenge and deliver results with integrity, commitment and innovative thinking!
I hope you all enjoy what my trusted comrades and I will be expressing through this blog. It is my hope that you will be able to see a unique point of view and a collective of multi-disciplinary brains that love what they do and want to make a difference in the digital space and elsewhere.
Hello world should now become Welcome future!
With the utmost respect,
Manos Sifakis – President & CEO – customedialabs