The Company: Dentsu Aegis Network.
Dentsu Aegis Network. Technology is shaping the way we engage, activate, convert and transact. At DAN, we build integrated solutions around people. We are a network of best-in-class experts that is organised to ensure solutions that work in concert with each other. Every day we are innovating the way that brands are built in a digital economy, by creating inspirational content and targeting real people. It is a very exciting environment!
The Company: Dentsu Aegis Network. Technology is shaping the way we engage, activate, convert and transact. At DAN, we build integrated solutions around people. We are a network of best-in-class experts that is organised to ensure solutions that work in concert with each other. Every day we are innovating the way that brands are built in a digital economy, by creating inspirational content and targeting real people. It is a very exciting environment!
Name / Job Title: Dael Wood – Insights & Strategy Director. I’ve been with Dentsu for 12 years and can say that I rarely have any one day that is the same as another, which I love.
Job Description: It’s always tricky to explain what I do, as I work in a group that is known for media and largely, I don’t “do” media. My role happens before any media magic; I help our clients figure out the best growth opportunity for their brands through a strategic process that looks at their operating context, how to optimally position themselves in this context, who their most valuable audience is to deliver that growth and then help them build a strategy that puts that customer or consumer at the centre of the approach.
Likes: I am fascinated with business; I love the idea that everyday people build products and services and sell them to other people. My role allows me to explore and understand a wide range of businesses inside and out and help bring their solutions to more people. My focus on growing businesses is the thing that I love most. It allows me to use my unique skillset of creativity and passion for mathematical process in an exhilarating and enormously rewarding way.
Career ladder: The English expression of the Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times” comes to mind. My career has been very interesting!
THE SOUTH AFRICAN YEARS…
I grew up in South Africa and first studied fine arts. After college, I started working as an artist in a creative agency. Very shortly, I realised that commercial art was not my thing, but I became very interested in the agency world. After moving to an account management role, I decided to re-train and went back to school to study business and enrolled in a B.Comm undergrad. I then flew through agency ranks at a very fast pace and found myself heading up a large creative agency in South Africa at the age of 28 years old. I think that my education in arts combined with business gave me a huge advantage.
This was in the 1990’s and most agencies were structured as full-service groups that focused almost exclusively on advertising. I always thought that the commission remuneration model and the slim vertical “advertising” focus was fundamentally flawed, so started working on alternative structures that allowed agencies to help clients across a much broader touchpoint spectrum. This helped propel our business forward at pace. The next agency group that I joined was a below-the-line agency that had ambitions of becoming full service and I joined this agency as Managing Director with the ambition of reversing the process – making a below the line group a full-service agency. We did this and were also one of the first agencies to introduce data services by partnering with a GB based CRM company.
My last agency in South Africa was Ogilvy, where I was Group Director.
THE IRISH YEARS – PART 1…
In 1998 I moved to Ireland and continued working with Ogilvy, supporting the group MD (who was my boss in Ogilvy South Africa) with the Irish restructure. I worked in Ogilvy Ireland for the next four years and then moved to the US.
THE U.S.A YEARS…
This took me in a new direction again where I joined a brand consultancy practice as Managing Director, with the specific intent of reinventing existing practice to gain a footprint in the tech. sector. It was a very clever idea and we took all the best practice of brand positioning to technology companies to help them grow and build more cohesive brand stories that could translate into go to market strategies, but also as internal, employee brands. I travelled the US and the world working on some very exciting projects.
THE IRISH YEARS – PART 2…
After 4 years working in the States and with two children, I decided to return to Ireland. I came back to run a small design agency, which I did for a year and then entered the world of media in 2007, by joining Dentsu Aegis Network.
Qualifications: Diploma in Fine arts: Johannesburg Art Foundation B.Comm: UNISA (University of South Africa)
Working hours: Very variable – most often though, I’m in my office from between 8.30 and 9 and tend to work until between 6 and 6.30. I travel quite a bit to the UK and sometimes Europe and work from home occasionally.
Breaktime: I’m a bit strange when it comes to lunch, as I don’t eat or take breaks at a regular time. I tend to eat when I’m hungry, which can be at any time and will take a walk or go have lunch somewhere on Baggot street when I feel that I need a bit of timeout. I don’t tend to go to the same place regularly and play chess on a mobile app usually if I’m on my own.
Social media credentials: I am not a social media addict and generally stay away from social media outside of its relevance as a communications channel. I do think that, on balance social media is a good thing, but do worry about the impact on society.
Onsite or offsite: 50:50
Digital strategy/vision: The more complex communication becomes, the more important it is going to be to ensure that all elements are working toward a clear outcome. Understanding what that outcome is, aligning actions and activity against that outcome and collaborating and inspiring disparate teams to deliver solutions, is how I see my role. I’m excited by the constant change and evolution of our digital economy. I love navigating complexity and the main change will be more complexity.
I love Mondays because . . . I don’t tend to think of Monday as different to any other day. Some days are wonderful because you’ve solved something and it’s exciting, some days are not. On balance I consider myself very privileged to be doing a job that I love - most days.