As we enter the official season of gratitude and giving thanks, I’ve been working on my annual “what I’m grateful for” list to share during my family’s Thanksgiving celebration. Of course, I’m grateful for my amazing family and incredible friends, and I express gratitude for them not just at Thanksgiving but every day. However, equally as impactful to my daily life and happiness are my work colleagues. Considering the large portion of waking hours I spend at work, I’m grateful for all of the colleagues who have become extensions of my family throughout my career. These are people I rely on day in and day out. We work as partners and teammates to collaboratively meet our collective goals. In reflecting on my work family, I have been thinking about how gratitude is expressed in the work place and what a difference a simple “thank you” can make to someone’s work experience and connectedness and how that can translate into productivity and career growth.

I did some research on the topic and found some fascinating results showing that simple, yet authentic, gratitude offers significant benefits for both the individual and their organization:

  • Boosts Job Productivity and Performance – According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, leaders who express thanks tend to motivate their employees to be more productive. Another study showed a strong correlation between employee performance and managers who regularly recognize and thank their teams. In that study, almost 40 percent of employees said that more personal recognition would encourage them to deliver a higher level of job performance.
  • Strengthens Teams – According to UC Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons, author of “The Little Book of Gratitude: Creating a Life of Happiness and Wellbeing by Giving Thanks,” gratitude “takes people outside of themselves and to a place that is part of a larger, more intricate network of sustaining relationships that are mutually reciprocal.” By recognizing the contributions of your colleagues, you can help foster a positive team-based environment in which people are more trusting and reliable.
  • Leads to Higher Job Satisfaction and Retention – Employees who are part of a workplace culture that encourages gratitude experience higher levels of overall job satisfaction. A 2015 report by TINYpulse comprising data from more than 30,000 employees across 500+ organizations, showed that employees who receive regular recognition are more likely to rate their workplace as “fun.” Additionally, Globoforce, an employee retention firm, found that 55 percent of workers would leave their current job for a company that recognizes its employees’ efforts and contributions.
  • Improves BusinessA study conducted by Deloitte found that companies with well-established employee recognition programs are 12 times more likely to have strong business results.

So how do you infuse gratitude into the workplace? Following are my go-to tips. Yes, they are simple, but they can be profoundly impactful:

  • Be Authentic: Sincerity is key. If the expression of appreciation is not perceived as being honest and real, the gesture will fall flat.
  • Be Specific: Don’t just offer a generic “thank you for all your work.” Use concrete examples to describe what the person did and why you are grateful.
  • Be Consistent: Express thanks on a regular basis – acknowledge the work and effort contributed to a goal – no matter how big or small. A quick email reply goes a long way. At the end of each day or week, think about those who have had a positive impact on you and take the time to thank them. Take 5 to 10 minutes to handwrite a thank-you note to show your appreciation.
  • Be Public with Your Acknowledgement: Share your appreciation in a team meeting. Public recognition and acknowledgement of your team members’ talent creates a sense of work family that can help you exceed your individual and collective goals.

Recognizing with gratitude the efforts of your colleagues and their unique contributions shows that you value them and they matter to you and your organization. Expressing thanks can transform our work lives for the better. I know. I’ve seen it happen first-hand and it’s an amazing feeling.

Sending a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has positively impacted both my personal and professional lives and wishing you all the best for a wonderful holiday season filled with gratitude.

If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About and Culture pages.

Want to chat? Drop us a line.


The recent hate-driven Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting is clearly a tragedy.  In spirit, we are all members of the Tree of Life Congregation.

As we read of hate crimes all too often, it is easy to get frustrated as we wonder “what can we do”?  This is exactly why I co-wrote Countering Hate with Haroon K. Ullah and have remained on the path of asking and answering this question over time.

Here is one simple and powerful preventive measure that we can enact as quickly as we like and one important debate that we still need to have as a nation.

The Bad-Actor API (application programming interface)

(first published in with Dr. Victoria Romero)

In the aftermath of 9/11, investigators, federal agencies, and Congress realized that the information we would have needed to detect and thwart the plot had been available.  What was missing was a systemic ability to connect the dots, see patterns and view the big picture.

Since 9/11 the government has made great strides in sharing data between law enforcement, defense and intelligence organizations, but meanwhile, the world has moved. The new battlefield is cyberspace. And much of the most critical data in cyberspace are controlled not by government, but by internet and social media companies.

The efforts that such companies, particularly Facebook and Twitter, are undertaking to battle orchestrated efforts to spread disinformation, hate, and extremism are admirable, but their approaches have a fatal flaw.

The platforms are each working in isolation, seeking out bad actors based on activity on their own platform, then removing them and the content they created. It is laudable that they want to halt the spread of these actors’ messages, but their approach is leading us down the same path that resulted in 9/11.

Sophisticated bad actors’ strategies are cross-platform. You may not even be able to identify a bad actor if you are looking only at their posts on Facebook. It is not possible for any one platform to identify sophisticated adversaries by examining only data from their own platform. Critical patterns emerge only when data from a wide range of sources are combined. Limiting the search to only one (or even a few) sources is like trying to examine an elephant through a soda straw.

The 9/11 Commission Report emphasized that the critical tool to implement was a better system of information sharing. Government entities clearly heard and implemented this message. But 17 years later, we are at another inflection point of equal importance that requires partnership and cooperation between the public and private sectors.

In the recent hearings on social media in the House and the Senate, the focus was mainly on the past election and identifying fake content. What was missing was a proposal or any specific idea that could improve how we see patterns, gain insights and protect our citizens. That would allow us to make the next big leap.

We have an idea that is very simple, powerful, and easy to implement. It doesn’t require social media companies to do anything extraordinary. It does require an attitude of cooperation, a willingness on all sides to tone down the rhetoric and a desire to build positive partnerships.

The idea is to ask each social media channel that attracts bad actors to build and make available to certain partners a “bad actor API,” or application programming interface. Currently, when social media providers identify a bad actor’s account, they delete it and all the data with it. This makes it impossible for others to study these accounts’ behavior and learn from it. A bad actor API would allow third parties to access extensive public data about these wrongdoers for research purposes, and ultimately prevention.

It’s not a new concept since APIs are already routinely used by social media channels to share user information with third parties. They help advertisers build plans and help an array of partners understand what customers or potential customers may be doing. It’s a widely accepted way to learn together.

When we want to promote or sell something, we fully embrace the use of APIs and the data that comes with it. For some reason, however, we don’t do this for bad actors.  Instead, we applaud social media platforms for merely deleting accounts and information which is thus never seen again.

This information should be retained, and the companies should make the API available to third parties whose mission would be to combine these data with other data sources to identify patterns.

Data scientists will be able to see those patterns more quickly and they should help us understand behavioral signatures, potential plans of action and other significant information.

If the public and private sector are to accomplish this goal, both will need to place more attention on the power of doing something right together.

Deleting accounts, today’s primary tool, is not the answer. If fake content reaches us for a few days and then is stopped, does that negate its impact? The answer is no. People have already been disinformed. The damage cannot be undone.

We don’t buy more Kleenex to treat the flu. We do research and develop vaccines. Society needs to build systems that enable us to act more like an R&D team. We can make much more progress in battling hate if we work as one team.

We need one leader in Government and one in the private sector to agree on this point and get us started.  Who will it be?

Then, let’s pull up the 9/11 Commission Report and read the section that discusses “a different way of organizing government to unify the many participants in the counterterrorism effort and their knowledge in a network-based information sharing system that transcends traditional government boundaries.”

A Conversation We Need to Have

It is a conversation about privacy and how we identify and track those who are escalating on the continuum from bias to hate to extremism and, in some cases, violent actions.

In the U.S. today, law enforcement can track social media behavior, but they cannot act on it alone unless a super clear threat is made.  We are taking the view that we cannot do anything to stop someone in advance of a negative action, simply because they said something.

The only problem with this approach is that extremists don’t explain their next actions in advance, so we can catch them.  It’s never worked that way and never will.  We must be able to take action of some type when we know someone is either about to break or has simply crossed into the world of extremism.

In general, I understand this right to privacy.  But when a person is escalating over time in their use of hate speech and they are showing behavioral changes that are symbolic of those who may take action, could there not be a level of “alarm” where either police or mental health professionals or others may get involved?

It is rare for a hate-filled extremism action to occur without any prior evidence.  It can happen, but it is unusual.  Normally, we can see a journey similar to how we map out a customer journey where a person is progressing from bias to hate to extremist views.

Since privacy is very important and is viewed as a personal right or privilege, depending on how you look at it, it deserves a larger conversation on what we are willing to accept and what we are not.

As we have these conversations, let’s remember to not let the fake news discussion or partisan politics divide us.  The disinformation wars will continue, but we can all keep our heads on straight and debate and decide on key societal issues that can decrease hate with time.

We are experiencing a new type of risk that requires new thinking.

We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to the memories of our friends and we owe it to the Tree of Life Congregation.

You can visit us at for more information

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I was thrilled to learn that our very own Andy Boothe was named as a In2 Innovator of the Year this past week.

Andy is the longest tenured analytics professional at W2O, initially hired as an analyst at W2O after an engineering stint at IBM. He spent his early days at W2O producing online influencer reports, a process and deliverable we have longed-called, “The Meme”. Back then, this process took nearly 8 weeks and involved an absurd amount of manual labor, such as pulling Google search results into thousands of rows in Excel, manually reading through each result to make sure it was relevant, and manually matching up each online influencer to their respective social media properties.

Andy, being the engineer that he is, found our manual processes to be a tragic waste of human time and ingenuity. So he created a series of tools that automated nearly every painful part of the Meme process. Within a few years, the time to produce a Meme has gone down about 80% through the clever use of ML techniques and distributed workload through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.

Andy has had an outsized impact on W2O’s “speed to data-driven insight” by creating a system of systems and tools known as our Analytics Operating System (AOS). These tools free analysts from rote, manual data collection and cleansing exercises. Today, analysts spend most of their time testing hypotheses and making sense of patterns in data that tell us how to better connect our clients to audiences that matter to them. It’s one of the key things that has allowed us to scale the practice to over 100 analytics professionals today and impact nearly every single W2O client.

Andy’s innovative qualities go beyond scaling and automation. For many of us at W2O, he is the first person we go to when facing what appears to be an insurmountable data and analytics problem. His competency as an Engineer might only be exceeded by his problem solving skills and creative approaches to research design and data analysis. In fact, I’ve only once heard him say, “no, that can’t be done” – the time I tried to get Andy (a true blooded Texan) to try barbecue in San Francisco. His hacker’s mindset has been an inspiration to me and my colleagues at W2O for years.

So please join me in congratulating Andy on the great achievement!

If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About and Analytics pages.

Want to chat? Drop us a line.

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Gender diversity continues to be an important topic in the daily news cycle with the hiring and firing of female CEOs, the passing of laws regarding the number of women in corporate board rooms and C-suites, and new initiatives aimed at promoting more women into leadership.

The healthcare industry is certainly not immune to these gender parity challenges.In fact, one of the most talked about stories coming out of this past year’s JP Morgan Annual Healthcare Conference focused on the fact there were more speakers named “Michael” (22) at the event than the combined number of female CEO speakers (20). To further reinforce this point, female senior executives represent only 17 percent of management teams at the top 20 pharmaceutical and medtech companies in the United States.

This is disappointing, as studies have shown that organizations pursuing gender parity and diversity reap the benefits of increased revenue, decreased costs, maximized profits and more effective employee recruitment, improved retention and an enhanced corporate image. Juxtapose these two sets of conflicting statistics and it leads one to ask, “What can and should we be doing regarding gender diversity for our businesses, the next generation of leaders and, most importantly, the patients, caregivers, physicians and healthcare industry at large that we serve?”

For more than 40 years, the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) has been working to advance the impact and influence of women by providing leadership development and networking opportunities to individuals. With 50,000 members and 125 corporate partners, HBA’s purpose is simple yet impactful – to further the advancement and impact of women in the business of healthcare. I am proud to have been selected to sit on the organization’s 2019 Global Board of Directors, where I will serve on the Executive Committee as secretary/treasurer. This is a tremendous honor and benchmark in my career, but I am most excited about the opportunity to work with so many esteemed women to take an active role in accelerating gender parity and transforming our venerable industry for the better.

Last month, HBA launched the Gender Parity Collaborative, a consortium of healthcare companies committed to achieving the top-down system and organizational changes that are critical to advancing gender parity. To date, 12 healthcare and life science companies have signed on as partners to support internal women’s leadership networks, offer progressive diversity and inclusion programs, and represent a collective global workforce of more than 750,000 employees. The Collaborative will accomplish its goals through:

  • Analyzing and tracking data and general perceptions that feed industry and company performance
  • Defining and implementing strategic priorities that are in-line with overall business results
  • Sharing and evaluating proposed solutions via regular leadership summits

There’s no question that real, actionable change is needed. As senior executives press forward with their own gender equality initiatives, they can make headway by following several key principles, a few include:

Build a Culture of Inclusion

It would make sense that success starts with building a culture of inclusion in which all employees can realize their full potential. By building a foundation that values diversity, companies can create an organizational environment grounded in trust that creates the culture to support talent to flourish. This requires encouraging participation from everyone, critically the CEO, to demonstrate the support and importance of addressing unconscious bias. This requires creating a core competency around gender partnership, which requires making gender parity the highest priority in selection, retention, training and promotion. Holding senior leaders accountable for considering a gender-balanced slate for open positions and ongoing mentoring and sponsorship programs is also essential.

Be Accountable for Change

Holding an organization and its leaders accountable for race and gender targets is another important tool for change. Tactics include publicly sharing diversity statistics and goals, measuring gender and diversity recruitment and retention efforts, and requiring leaders to develop diverse teams and successors. Study after study finds greater numbers of women “disappearing” at each successive level of most organizations. A and McKinsey & Company study of 222 companies in the United States illustrated this phenomenon. For every 100 women promoted to manager, 130 men are promoted. By the time women reach the SVP level, they hold just 20 percent of the roles that are most likely to lead to the C-suite.

Ensure Success Begets Success

Hiring a diverse workforce isn’t the end – it’s just the beginning. McKinsey reports that advancing women’s equality would add $12 trillion to global growth by 2025 – roughly the combined size of the economies of the United States and China. But making progress on gender equality requires not just that women be placed in senior roles, but also that they are successful in them. Focused mentorship and leadership programs are essential to filling this gap.

While we still have a long way to go in creating gender parity in the workplace, we’re moving in the right direction. I’m thrilled to be serving the HBA at the global level and look forward to the day when ALL companies across ALL industries adopt a culture where everyone’s ideas are heard, and ALL people can reach their full potential. Let’s work together to make this a reality!

Learn more about HBA and this year’s Board of Directors and Nominating Committee Leadership here.

If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About page.

Want to chat? Drop us a line

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My favorite reading exercise is to read two books in a row that counter each other. It is a refreshing way to draw one’s own conclusions.

This fall, I read two books on Mother Teresa. The first, titled The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, by Christopher Hitchens, shared Hitchens view in his self-appointed role as Devil’s Advocate for Mother Teresa’s canonization as a Saint by the Catholic Church. The author points out inconsistencies that he believes relegate her to human vs. immortal status. The next book, Mother Teresa: The Light is Still Burning, by Jasmina Moroski, was a book I picked up in Skopje, Macedonia, the home of Mother Teresa. The book catalogues her journey to the streets of Calcutta and her impact worldwide to help the poor, destitute and dying members of our human race.
My verdict is clear. Yes, Mother Teresa was human like all of us and not perfect (who is?), but she is as close to a Saint as anyone I have ever read about. She has also built a legacy of care that is lasting. What an amazing person.

The next two books focused on insider views of a company, Theranos, and the U.S. Government. The first, Bad Blood by John Carryou, provides a very revealing and engrossing depiction of how Theranos duped investors, partners and even its own employees on how it was building its infamous blood testing equipment. It is hard to believe no one saw this earlier. Fear, written by Bob Woodward, is another great book by the leading author in providing us a glimpse into history as it is being made.

After these four books, I needed a break, so I read A Country Doctor: Short Stories from Franz Kafka and A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman. Kafka is one of the more intriguing writers that I have come across. He has a style of writing that leaves room for interpretation, similar to viewing a great piece of art. You read his short stories and stop and think of their meaning. And you continue to think after you’re done. A very gifted writer. David Grossman, who won the 2017 Man Booker International prize for this book, wrote a book that depicts one evening in the life of a mediocre comedian’s life. It is an odd story of a struggling artist, yet I found myself trying to read the book as quickly as I could. Wonderful writing, which is always the hallmark of Man Booker award winners.

Always fun to share. Let me know of books you are reading that you enjoy.

Best, Bob

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There is a saying in business “what got you here won’t get you there.” The premise being that as time moves forward and the environment changes,  organizations evolve and so must its people in order to thrive and get to the next level.

Starting with customers who are constantly raising expectations and getting smarter; to new technology, which changes the game and increases the complexity of it; it forces all of us to keep ahead of the curve to keep up.

In our world, the last 17 years have been nothing short of a rocket ride. We have experienced incredible growth, driven new ways of thinking, and caused organizations to rethink the marketplace and how to engage with stakeholders at a much deeper level.

We have also navigated change – change thrust upon us as a result of technology and innovation and our quest to Become the Best. Some of the highlights shaping our narrative include:

  1. A New Lens to See – Analytics and Insights – At our foundation was early recognition and investment in the use of data and insights in guiding strategy and programming to achieve precision in spend and results
  2. From Coverage to Influence – Discovering that media was becoming not only fragmented but personal and influence was informing opinion allowed clients to identify the types of discussions — including language, cadence, tonality – taking place and more importantly, who was influencing the topic
  3. Blurring the Lines – Communications, Marketing, Analysis, Strategy, Creative – No longer would these disciplines operate in silos.  Rather, together they would work in concert like an orchestra to create InteGREATness.
  4. Digital Transformation This shift in power to customers and employees has had the most profound impact on organizational and customer behavior
  5. Holistic Solutions The impact of digital on communications and marketing forces a more dynamic, holistic approach to brand and reputation building
  6. Hybrid Skills –  The most challenging area has been migrating from a specialized skill set to one that encompasses a variety of capabilities and incorporating innovative thinking and a strategic mindset that looks to the future while addressing the current reality

As we go forward, we are in the midst of the next evolution driven by several factors:

  1. Relevance – In a social and digital age relevance is the new reputation.  If an organization or brand or person is not relevant they don’t exist
  2. Empowerment – The rise of expectations is leading to more power and control by customers and employees causing businesses to hone their listening and curiosity to respect this new mindset
  3. Higher Purpose – Beyond CSR and social programs, organizations must be in sync with making a real difference in people’s lives. For healthcare organizations this takes on even greater meaning as patients and customers will look for how they are making the world a better place and making healthcare work better in the world
  4. Predictive Knowledge – Analytics and data were just the start. What if you could know what customers or consumers or competitors would do before it happens? It’s all about leveraging information, digital knowledge, insights, ecosystems, and social behavior to determine how activities are emerging
  5. AI – All the talk about artificial intelligence and what it will or won’t do boils down to one question: when will AI become a legitimate replacement for the work we do?

Digital is table stakes today. The game is now being played in the connective tissue that holds everything together. It’s all about riding the wave of complexity and convergence and factoring in human emotion and mindset to arrive at new conclusions.

It’s no longer what got us here. It’s about forward. No roadmap. No playbook. Just information and insight. Discovery and experimentation.

Looking back we created much of what we see today by staying nimble and taking the rivers of change versus letting them take us. Looking forward, it will be much of the same but with a completely new set of technologies, realities and circumstances to navigate.

If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About and Healthcare pages.

Want to chat? Drop us a line.

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I started W2O with a mindset I learned at Genentech, a scientific company where our CEO Art Levinson taught us that if you follow the data you will get to the right outcome and it guides future direction and decision making.

With all the data out there today, there is no reason to guess anymore as to what strategy is needed to reach the right audience with the right messages at the right time.

We can apply what I have always referred to as Marketing and Communications Science to ensure how we deploy money and resources that produces the desired ROI and to make real-time adjustments before it’s too late and the money is gone.

My story was featured in one of our first books Pre-Commerce describing my e-Commerce journey that led me to the right surgeon for bariatric surgery that led to a 100-pound plus weight loss and arguably healthier lifestyle.

But it’s not all science and never is.  Science combined with expertise, know-how and instincts and some good old fashioned artistic creativity can lead to the most powerful engagement strategies.

Data just helps us verify our best instincts and could steer us in a direction we didn’t see at first.

What we hope coming together like this will produce is that scientific and creative exchange you can only get in a group setting that catalyzes and sparks connections you wouldn’t otherwise get or make on your own in your day to day slog.

We hope to see this expand and grow into something much more over time – maximizing the adoption and deployment of marketing science to enhance your businesses.

What will it take to see this more widely adopted in an integrated marketing model?  I would say it’s a commitment and conviction that if data drives financial and strategy decisions in the C-suite, it should do the same in the M&S -suite or marketing and sales suite.

Because we are so often the tail that wags the dog we might as well verify that with data and secure our rightful place at the center of a company’s business strategy and value creation.

Let’s get everyone out of their silos and let’s see the data unite and align everyone in a company in a common mission and vision.

YOU can be that catalyst and game-changer armed with the scientific data and proof required to convince boards and investors which way to pivot and when.

So let’s spend this day united in data and science to create iron-clad marketing and sales plans and execution that delivers value every day and can be measured to show impact and contribution in ways never thought possible before.

Let’s continue to innovate and advance the field together and, especially in healthcare, make a positive difference in people’s lives.

Thanks for spending the day with us. We are privileged to partner with you all.

Can’t make in person? We’ve got you covered. Head over to our Facebook page to catch the livestream. 

Stay tuned for recap posts from CMO Aaron Strout and MM&M.

Learn more about W2O, check out our About and Analytics pages.

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The only purpose of disinformation is to deceive us.

That statement alone should be enough to motivate us to ask “how can we not be deceived and how do we know more about how it happens”.  There are many ways, of course, but we can counter disinformation if we are willing to educate our citizens on what disinformation is all about.  This is why I was very pleased to meet with Milan Tanceski of Blink 42-21 during my recent visit to speak at the first annual Media Innovation Forum in Skopje, Macedonia.

Macedonia has had its share of issues battling disinformation, as have virtually all countries in the world at this point.  The big difference is that Milan and his team are working on educational solutions to help the citizens of Macedonia learn what to look for and to be more aware of the perils of this type of propaganda.

I agreed to join the series and did a brief video interview (see below) on how bot networks take advantage of Twitter to drive us towards illicit goods, services or extreme views.  In the video, I describe how it often works.

An Internet Bot often seems very mysterious, but it is really quite straight forward.

A bot is just a software application running automated tasks over the Internet.  They are excellent at performing repetitive tasks, like retweeting certain accounts or dumping in keywords via tweets over and over.

In today’s world, it is very easy for bad actors to set up a bot network in days that looks real, shares tweets, fools search engines and drives us to the wrong place.  It drives people to counterfeit goods, services that are shams and groups that hold extreme views.

We can all improve in how we educate our countries and the world to increase our self-awareness.  The team in Macedonia is making an important step forward, which I applaud.  This series, which is just starting, can serve as an example for countries worldwide.  I hope you take a moment to watch this video and subsequent videos.  Please share ideas on what you believe the series should cover in the future, as well.

Let’s always remember that our world is filled with people who prefer a peaceful existence.  Very few of us are bad actors.  Let’s outlearn and outsmart them.

Best, Bob

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“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized.”  Daniel Burnham, the famed Chicago architect, knew a thing or two about big ideas. For those not steeped in Chicago history or Erik Larson’s book Devil in the White City, Burnham had a big, bold vision for Chicago as the “Paris on the prairie” and he overcame tremendous odds to make it reality.

Today, nothing embodies the concept of big ideas more than Chicago Ideas Week. This year, from October 15-19, big ideas will be on full display.  Now in its 8th year, the event is based on a single belief – “when a broad spectrum of thinkers and instigators share ideas, we have the power to transform our world.” The week will feature an eclectic mix of stage programs and hands-on educational ‘labs’, designed around a wide variety of topics and curated to encourage dialogue and inspire attendees to take action to drive change. 

For the first time, W2O, driven by its Chicago office, will be participating in the week by sponsoring a lab focused on content marketing and helping attendees learn how to compete in a crowded, often noisy online space.

Attend W2O’s Lab on Content Marketing at Chicago Ideas Week

As we were concepting our lab, I was struck by how naturally the idea of focusing on analytics and content strategy came to us. I couldn’t help but think about how far I’ve seen our agency come in the last decade I’ve been at the company as the industry has gone through a monumental shift in how communications is practiced. About how far I’ve personally come from a ‘traditional’ communications practitioner to a truly integrated marketing communications professional.  And about how Burnham-esque we have been in our vision to challenge industry norms and create unfair advantage for our clients.

What underscores both our company’s approach and the mission behind Chicago Ideas Week, is the notion that no one can tackle these problems alone; we need to bring together different voices and perspectives to approach the challenges of the world –  or of the communications industry – in a new way.  Daily, I’m reminded of this as I work with a highly integrated team, including analytics experts, creative strategists and social media phenoms, who all bring a variety of ideas to the table and work to create smarter, more cost-effective strategies for our clients.  Sometimes it still feels like magic when it all comes together!

And this is what we hope to show during our lab – how marrying data with a fully integrated PESO (Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned) strategy can be a kind of magic formula to help companies better reach their target audiences and help their messages resonate among the noise and distraction of today’s online environment.  And we’ll have a little fun doing it, too!

At W2O, we’ve always considered ourselves a company that challenges status quo so it’s only natural that we’re part of a week that embraces the instigators, the big thinkers and those who dare to make no little plans. And what better place to do this than the Windy City, the city where big ideas come to play.

Attend W2O’s Lab at Chicago Ideas Week.

Learn more about Chicago Ideas Week.

Who is W2O? Check out our About page.

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