Elevating the Creative Experience: An Interview with Darren Press
April 10, 2019
We are very pleased to introduce Darren Press, our new Senior Vice President of Creative, Content and Digital Media. Darren comes to DDC with over 20 years of experience leading digital strategy, creative direction, and content creation; most recently as Global VP of Creative and Content for Travel Leaders Group and prior to that, a Creative Director Consultant at Deloitte Digital.
As our new creative leader, Darren is here to deliver ground-breaking online experiences and award-winning campaigns to our clients. Check out our interview below to get better acquainted and learn more about Darren.
Welcome to DDC Darren! To start us off, what drew you to the role at DDC and what has excited you over your first couple of months?
At DDC, I’m joining a firm that pushes the boundaries of the digital experience through bold creative, rich content and where our work can make an impact on every person across the country. It’s powerful to be part of a team that so effectively engages advocates and then amplifies their voices to affect change on behalf of some of the biggest brands out there.
You’ve had over 20 years of experience in the creative field. Can you narrow down the most important lesson you’ve learned in the industry?
To successfully implement an innovative creative strategy, we have to be able to transform high-level concepts into tangible deliverables that encourage engagement and mobilization. Simply put, ideas must be developed with an understanding of how it’s going to work and be effective in the real world.
What is the first question you suggest clients ask themselves as they look to enhance their creative and branding efforts?
Asking ‘why’ is a paramount question but it’s twofold: you need to ask why from an organizational standpoint to better understand the purpose of the campaign but then you also have to ask why from an advocate’s perspective to understand what motivates them to engage with a campaign and take action.
What tip do you have that would help an organization incorporate more success in their creative strategy?
The debate is always whether organizations need to rely more heavily on user data and analytics or stakeholder intuition when making decisions for a campaign. However, being fully dependent on one versus the other creates an unnecessary silo in the creative process. Our intuition is often a hypothesis based on the consumer’s mindset and the data allows us to test those hypotheses and learn more about our audiences. There’s an alchemy to blurring the lines between data and intuition that creates rich narratives that resonate with our respective audiences and in turn, drives more success for campaigns.
What gets you into the “creative” zone and keeps your mind active?
Running is critical for me because it widens the pipeline for my creative thinking and gets me out of my own way. It’s such a simple and pure physical activity that it gives me an opportunity to vet our ideas and help us ensure our deliverables are developed without overcomplication for greater impact.
We all know your creative skills but what’s a secret talent you have that we’d be surprised to learn about?
I’m a passionate home chef. From Fourth of July rack of ribs to full Thanksgiving meals, I do it all. I recently auctioned off my culinary skills for a dinner party at my kid’s local elementary school fundraiser and we’re doing a multi-course “Night in Paris” theme for the winners.
So much of a campaign is wrapped up in an advocate’s digital experience. How do you envision creative and digital strategy coming together for a successful campaign approach?
Imagine the digital ecosystem as a racecar and creative resources as the fuel. When you combine grade-A creative strategy with the right digital vehicle, you’re capable of taking a campaign to 210 mph. The result is the ability to reach the right people through the right channels with powerful narratives that will win the race.
What is a key lesson for clients to remember when incorporating creative resources into their digital strategy?
There is such a variety in digital channels now that organizations need to think more about how audience segmentation can make their content most effective. It’s more than just demographics; we have the ability to know what device a consumer is using, their specific interests and beliefs, where they are, what time of day it is, and perhaps most importantly, their psychographics, such as values, opinions, attitudes, and aspirations.
What up-and-coming creative trends do you see making a big impact on the public affairs world?
Interactive content, such as quizzes, tests, and infographics, that are all layered with video, encourage advocates to spend more time with a campaign because the asset is more visually exciting and engaging. In turn, they spend more time with the content, and we learn more about them. We can then target those advocates with hyper-relevant and personalized messaging using our understanding about their beliefs, interests, preferences, and motivations.
Let’s end with a little self-reflection. What three words do you think best describe you?
Without hesitation, ‘caffeinated’ would be my first word. I have a well-known passion for good coffee so I think people would back me up on that one. ‘Fearless’ also comes to mind: I’m not afraid of pushing us out of our comfort zone to help drive new and innovative ways of thinking. And finally, ‘collaborative’. Nothing elevates the creative experience and its deliverables more than having a talented, multi-disciplinary group of people come together with distinct perspectives to empower the design thinking process.