We’ve accumulated quite a few sayings at DEG over the past 20 years. Some are quotes from other people (like the John C. Maxwell quote in the headline), some are our own (e.g. “the best idea wins”). Many are tied to our values and what we believe in (e.g. “do the right thing”), and others are just superstitions (e.g. “knock on wood”). But most focus on two common themes: change and growth.

Dentsu Aegis Network Acquires Top Digital Marketing and Commerce Agency DEG

For two decades, change has been at the forefront of our business. It’s been so prevalent that change in its most constructive form—evolution—is literally our middle name. It’s all we know.

Our industry has changed faster than almost any other. Technology and customer needs have driven new demands at an alarming rate. Our services evolved over the years not just to react to the rapidly changing industry, but to anticipate those changes.

Nineteen years ago, we were a five-person web application development operation working out of a 600-square-foot office in an Overland Park building.

Ten years ago, we were a rising Kansas City marketing player occupying of multiple suites in that same building.

There’s a reason change and growth are embedded in much of DEG’s dialect. We have never changed just for the sake of change. We have used change as a way to spark and foster growth.

Three years ago, we were a national marketing agency with recognized strategy and creative, and associates from coast to coast.

In December, we took the latest step in DEG’s evolution, transforming into a globally reaching digital experience agency as the newest member of Isobar and the Dentsu Aegis Network.

Bigger Ponds Demand Bigger Fish

The disruption has been coming for some time now. Consumer expectations, and in turn the customer-brand relationship, are quickly evolving. The belief has been that agencies would have to change the way they do business in order to survive.

The traditional method of advertising that may have worked for so many years is no longer effective. The weight placed on the big creative idea, without regard for a relevant and impactful experience, has been rejected by consumers. There are simply too many choices out there. This abundance of choice means that consumers seek brands that don’t advertise to them, but instead engage with them. They seek brands that reflect their values and allow them to express their individuality. Consumers don’t want a brand “tribe” to define their identity any longer, they want their identities to define the brands around them.

This has led to a shift in the advertising industry. Consultancies and agencies are both vying for a seat at the table, learning tricks of the trade from the other side to help meet the increasing demands of consumers. These acquisitions are forming bigger and stronger global players with the resources to compete for the brands’, and their consumers’, trust. To survive, you have to keep growing, and growing fast.

Purposeful Change

This year, we celebrate 20 years since Dale Hazlett and I opened DEG. We head into the 20th year on the back of a successful and record-setting 2018. And with Isobar, year 20 of DEG is sure to lead to even greater heights.

So often, we focus on the potential negative risks associated with change, and rarely the positives. We ask, “what if this is worse?” and not, “how is this going to make me better?” We worry about what we have to lose, rather than all we have to gain. Change is supposed to be scary. And sometimes, it absolutely is. But it can also be the beginning of something great.

There’s a reason change and growth are embedded in much of DEG’s dialect. We have never changed just for the sake of change. We have used change as a way to spark and foster growth.

Every decision we have made was done so because we believed it allowed us the best opportunity to grow. And I’m not just talking about revenue. We change to grow our capabilities, our culture, the wellbeing of our associates, and ultimately, to grow our ability to do what’s best for our clients and their customers.

Our joining forces with Isobar is no different. The global scale and complementary capabilities of our combined agencies are purposeful to respond to the industry’s demands, and also to offer our associates, clients, and their customers the best opportunity for continued growth.

I do my best to count my blessings and make sure to articulate what I’m thankful for. Right now, those thanks and blessings are overflowing. This year, we celebrate 20 years since Dale Hazlett, Jasvindarjit Singh, and I opened DEG. Along with Sky Morey, Jeff Eden, and hundreds of other DEGeniuses, we did our best to not only survive, but thrive—setting us up for this next exciting chapter. Linked by Isobar, year 20 of DEG is sure to lead to even greater heights.

Ad Age Names DEG, Linked by Isobar a 2019 Best Place to Work

As we move forward into a new year and new chapter of DEG, one of our most popular sayings continues to come to mind. It comes to mind because it embraces change—with the understanding that nothing we do is on a whim—and keeps an open mind to the positive outcomes associated with change. It also comes to mind because it’s as pertinent now as it has ever been:

The best is yet to come.


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