Q&A With Deb Boyda and Neal Sharma

In light of the recent news that we welcomed DEG  into the Isobar family, we sat down with our CEO, Deb Boyda, and DEG, Linked by Isobar’s CEO, Neal Sharma, to get their take on the acquisition and what we can expect in 2019.

What should the industry expect from Isobar and DEG Linked by Isobar in 2019?

NEAL: The industry should expect an even greater version of what our two agencies have been contributing and using to lead for years – setting a new bar and standard in the space. That is to say, the synergy resulting from the two firms combining their strengths will near immediately create the world’s leading creatively-driven, experience-led transformation agency, the most dominant commerce agency in the country, and one of the largest (if not the largest) agency partner in both the Salesforce and Adobe ecosystems.

DEB: 2019 will be a dynamic year for Isobar and DEG linked by Isobar. The industry should see us emerging as a Salesforce and Adobe agency powerhouse…driving more and more sophisticated commerce solutions for our clients.

What most excites you about this collaboration?

NEAL: In one word: opportunity. The fit of our two firms could not be better. Where DEG has areas to improve, Isobar is historically strong. Where Isobar has some gaps to fill, DEG has demonstrated success. At the same time, much of the culture, values, and vision of the marketplace are remarkably the same. That combination means that we can take advantage of the opportunities in front of us and new ones that we create together, for the benefit of our clients, our associates, and our network.

DEB: Our skill sets are complementary. Our cultures fit hand in glove with one another.

What do you see as Isobar’s “big bet” heading into the New Year?

NEAL: I would be remiss not to recognize that Isobar and DAN have already made a big bet on DEG to kick off the year. Coming out of the gate this year being named one of Ad Age’s “Best Places to Work” hopefully helps confirm that the bet made was a good one. But, in general, I would say that our focus is to ensure that the thesis we have on where the industry is heading and what our clients will need to succeed with their customers in the era in which we live, is one that is well-understood by our clients and compelling enough for them to take action.

DEB: We have several big bets for our organization in 2019. Commerce remains front and center as an area of focus for our company. We will be looking to increasingly leverage our strong creative capabilities as a core differentiator in the commerce space. Not all commerce experiences are created equal and a high functioning one is table stakes nowadays. We need to ensure the commerce experiences we create delight the consumer. This higher level of delivery and service is what will help our clients attract and retain their customers and help us ensure our clients remain pleased with our strategic partnership and how it can make a difference in their business.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing brands in 2019?

NEAL: Personalization is quickly becoming the baseline expectation for consumers, and they will continue to expect a certain degree of this in their marketing and in the products they choose. Brands must find a way to cater to each consumer’s needs in a sea of millions. Meanwhile, consumers have more options than ever, which means understanding the context that drives a consumer’s behavior is key for brands to stand out. This is no easy task, which is why agencies like DEG and Isobar are here to help.

DEB: Our clients are on a digital transformation journey and the digital landscape shifts quickly. Clients continue to face the challenge of sifting through all the possible digital activities and solutions to their business challenges and figuring out which ones to choose and double down on. That is where organizations like ours can help provide strategic insight … what is worth doing? What is worth waiting on?

What do Isobar and DEG Linked by Isobar’s amplified Salesforce and Adobe relationships mean for clients?

NEAL: The possibilities are endless. As I mentioned earlier, collectively, we are one of the largest and most skilled agencies as it pertains to two of the world’s leading enterprise technology platforms. Our abilities to leverage the platforms and our other technology partnerships – both separately and together – allow us to enhance brands’ marketing programs and provide a seamless experience across every step of the customer journey.

DEB: We can provide a broader suite of solutions to their commerce challenges. Faster and more comprehensively.

What is one innovation you are most excited about right now?

NEAL: I’m interested to see the next step of AI interacting with consumers to accomplish their goals. Interaction being the critical piece of the equation, from text to voice to social.

DEB: One of our top innovators recently published a blog about Audible Augmented Reality and the role of hearing and voice in  improving the impact of AI. Not to mention, ultimately, the human experience. I think this is incredibly interesting and clearly an area to watch.

Now, on the lighter side, what’s one thing people might be surprised to learn about you?

NEAL: Um… I ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Twice. And I didn’t get gored.

DEB: My favorite class in college was an entire semester devoted to reading and studying John Milton’s Paradise Lost. I’m a literature geek in that way.

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