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Interview with Eli Singer, President and Founder of Entrinsic

By:   Date posted: May 29, 2013

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Welcome to The Agency Post. Introduce yourself!

Hi! I’m Eli Singer, president and founder of Entrinsic, a Toronto-based digital culture and communications agency. While in college, I studied English, philosophy and business and spent my final semester overseas in France.

I graduated at the tail end of the first dot-com boom in 2001, and my first job was with digital guru Don Tapscott. Looking back, it’s that first experience that opened my eyes to the disruptive potential of the Internet to redefine business and family, as well as society and culture at large.

I love exploring the intersection of business, culture and communications. And when I’m not working, waterskiing and pinball are my sports of choice.

Tell us more about Entrinsic. What differentiates it from other agencies?

Entrinsic is an agency built from the ground up to deliver brand communications that naturally fit with the technology and culture of the Web.

One of the great strengths of the Web is the deep analytics and data it offers. Through our social content optimization (SCO) program, we are able to analyze conversation, identify trends and then feed that data into our creative process. It helps us ensure that our work will resonate and improve engagement overall.

In addition, our flat structure, deep bench of talent and lack of bureaucracy means we can work far more quickly and more cost effectively than larger shops.

What is digital culture? Why do people often misunderstand the purpose of digital marketing?

To me, digital culture is the contemporary world we live in now. It’s more than computers; we live in a world full of screens that often manage and mediate our relationships with others and our relationship with the information that surrounds us.

The screens have conditioned how we like to receive information and our attention spans, so generally, even face-to-face conversations or print communications need to have a digital feel to them to be successful.

Some have voiced concerns that data is holding back creative. Can data be both useful and influential without hindering the creative process?

We embrace data because it makes both our strategy and creative better. Often, our chief analyst is involved in brainstorms with the creative teams. In the social media world of storytelling, the data equally helps build the narrative along with creative.

This becomes especially important when establishing KPIs and metrics for a program, as we’re able to tie facets of the creative to specific metrics to evaluate performance.

It’s also worth noting that in the organic digital world, real-time feedback on how creative is performing allows for adjustments while the program is still in the market, creating a better resonance with our audiences.

What has been the biggest change in social media in the past five years? How do you see it evolving?

To me, the most exciting change is accessibility. Ten years ago, blogging was limited to the technically savvy; today, there are a multitude of platforms to choose from, and most are easy to use.

I also think it’s worth mentioning that, at its core, the social Web hasn’t changed very much over the last 10 years. Whether you call it a post, status update, tweet, pin or a YouTube or Instagram upload, it is all still blogging. And equally, a “like” or follow is the same as an RSS subscription.

How is content marketing changing digital advertising?

I think it’s both forcing companies to transform their marketing into a two-way dialogue and also reorganize their operations to deliver “always-on” communications.

For companies that value performance, there is a new set of metrics that are making marketers more accountable.

Favorite ad of all time: The iPod’s “Dirty Secret Shot” in 2003 in Manhattan by the Neistat Brothers at the height of popularity for the new iPod. This culture jam video went viral in the days before YouTube, just before the Christmas shopping season.

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Jami Oetting is the Executive Editor of The Agency Post. She is an advertising nerd who's big on creativity, quick wit and good conversation. Interact with her on Twitter @jamioetting or connect on LinkedIn or Google+.

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