Forbes Agency Council members work with a diverse set of clients across numerous fields. To share their expertise on everything from marketing to branding and more, we’re profiling Forbes Agency Council members here on the blog. This week: Ida Abdalkhani.
Ida Abdalkhani is the chief catalyzer at Ability to Engage, a boutique consultancy that helps companies develop marketing, product ideas and brand strategies. Founded by Ida in 2010, Ability to Engage works to create meaningful change within organizations and provide data-driven analysis and recommendations to evoke action. Ida, a graduate of The Ohio State University, now teaches a course at its business school, in addition to running her consultancy.
How did your career as an agency executive take off, and what do you attribute your success to most?
Relationships. I naturally care about the well-being of others and foster connections made with people I have worked with. Often times, colleagues become close friends.
The strong foundations I set in the past really helped Ability to Engage move out of startup mode and into a full-fledged business. Past colleagues and friends were amazingly generous in introducing me to their contacts.
How do you keep yourself creative and driven regardless of how busy you are day to day?
I try to write every morning. It helps me “unload” to make free space for new and creative thoughts. I also try to have an “artist date” at least once a week, where I give myself the chance to just be with my thoughts or to spend time on a non-work-related creative activity.
It also helps that I teach a course on creativity and innovation. I stay up to date on the latest and greatest thinking within the innovation space, from reading articles and research to attending conferences, such as Front End Innovation. I need to keep content fresh for my students!
What do you see as the future of media strategy or advertising?
Balance. Many companies have made what were once considered “non-traditional” media vehicles the norm. And while online and social advertising will only continue to grow, it should be balanced with continuing to leverage the entire spectrum of media options.
We should also be careful to balance “big data” with that of deep, insightful consumer understanding. Just because technology enables us to garner hundreds of thousands of data points in a matter of minutes, it doesn’t mean that it tells us the full picture. Data can never replace the insight gained and empathy that is cultivated from sitting down and talking to potential consumers, face-to-face.
What is your best PR, marketing or advertising tip for businesses?
Focus on doing exceptional work, first and foremost; deliver a quality product every time. Doing exceptional work is the single best marketing strategy for your business. There’s no better advertising than a previous client recommending you to a colleague.