Convergence: The world of senior digital talents is rapidly converging across vertical industry segments and geographies. This is especially true in the realm of technology, marketing, and digital. Bacardi as our global client is a great example. We are experiencing real time how the next Global Brand Leader of Grey Goose (Bacardi portfolio company) can have the background in Spirits, Beverage, FMCG, Technology, or High-End Fashion Lifestyle company. This is not an accident of nature or random occurrence. Skill sets required to be an effective senior leader in the world of marketing, digital, and technology now have great commonalities. Days are numbered for brands or agencies that are recruiting senior talents from solely their immediate circles of influence. Talents now can reside in multiple ecosystems. An agency like Ogilvy has equal likelihood of recruiting their next Chief Digital Officer from a sister agency inside WPP or another agency on Madison Avenue as from Google, PepsiCo, Starwood, BMW, or any number of other global enterprises. By the same token, that particular individual could hail from the fast-paced world of New York City or Shanghai or London or Mumbai or Sao Paolo. As senior operating executives in our past careers, we take an “out of box” approach to identifying senior talents. We bring our unique experience in running large global organizations to bear upon our talent hunt. Our clients value us for our unique perspectives on their business strategy and market position. We first focus on our client’s long-term business need, then find talents that can enable them to achieve their business objectives.
Millennial Empowerment: Millennials have become a very important segment of today’s workforce. They hail from the generation of iPhones, Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest. Their notion of working is intertwined with their lifestyles. They demand flexible work hours, constant feedback from peers and bosses, and an engaging office environment where they can freely express their views on world topics. Their focus is on proper balance between work and personal lives around their families and friends. At the same time, they want to build their future financial security while demanding long-term loyalty from their employers. Brands and agencies that dismiss the needs and desires of the millennial population are doing so at their own peril. They must embrace flexibility to develop their future generation of star leaders. Competition from the new generation of digital companies (who claim to nurture a work environment where millennials feel comfortable, motivated, and inspired) for these talents is intense.
Human Centricity: The way marketers and consumers interact has been continually evolving over last century. Brands used to have total control and sway over how and what would be exposed to their customers. Content was the king in that paradigm. Then the world evolved to a socially networked mesh of engagement and interactions. In this world of “demand pull” vs. “supply push,” consumers became the center of gravity. They could now pull content and commerce from the search ecosystem of Google or socially networked recommendations and preferences of their spheres of influence from Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. We believe that the world is now evolving to a new paradigm of context and algorithm-based engagement between brands and customers. Proactive and perennial evaluation of data gathered from the behavior of consumers on their smartphones is now essential to engaging in conversation and commerce in our brave new world today. This shift in brand/consumer engagement behavior requires a new breed of transformational leaders who have disruption at the very core of their DNA. This is the primary reason I have merged my strategy consulting practice with the retained search business of Buffkin/Baker to intersect the new realities of our global marketplace today with the senior leadership challenges.
Trusted Partner Relationship: Companies are shying away from retained firms that are filled with partners with only search experience. Thought leadership, knowledge foundation, and operational background are critical ingredients in a retained search executive to command the respect and trust of their clients. Search itself is getting commoditized through the proliferation of social networks and LinkedIn. At the same time, however, the gulf between the huge demand for senior digital talents and shrinking supply of those individuals has also created a unique opportunity for folks like us to step in as trusted partners to our clients. We can bring our experience and expertise across multiple verticals and geographies to credibly grow the senior digital ranks of an organization. Clients respect us because we have been in their shoes as custodians of large global organizations. They know that we feel their pain and can consult with them on the talent front based on our knowledge and disruptive mindset. We believe that products, services, and markets are all getting commoditized; the only sacred competitive differentiation a company retains today is its rank of senior transformative and disruptive talents. Let’s discuss how we can collaborate to build your organization for the challenges and opportunities of our brave new world!
Raj Das serves as a Partner and Head of the Digital Practice at Buffkin/Baker in its New York City office. He focuses on senior level executive and board talent placements in digital, marketing, and technology roles. In his role, Raj brings over 25 years of experience and relationships advising organizations at corporate, investment banking, and entrepreneurial levels. Raj has executed over $20 billion value of transactions during his investment banking career. He is a graduate of the Stanford Executive Program and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
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