The Conversation Group Launches!

My buddy Chris Heuer, along with my new friends Giovanni Rodriguez and Ted Shelton have launched a new agency, The Conversation Group.

The Conversation Group (TCG), a new global communications agency, opened its doors today vowing to “close the gap between Silicon Valley and Main Street.” Devoted to the art and science of participatory media — blogs, social networks, and other environments where people openly converse — TCG works with a broad range of business leaders to dramatically scale their ability to discover, engage and interact with their constituents, wherever they may be. TCG’s services today include strategy, creative and technology support for integrated marketing and communication campaigns, large-scale events, and community-guided product development — a breadth of services designed to support meaningful interaction with customers, partners, employees, and influencers.

“Devoted to the art and science of participatory media”… I love it!

As some of you may remember, when I left LEGO I took a brief stop at a marketing agency. I was friends with the owner and had been for a long time. He gave me a fantastic opportunity, as far as agencies go. Problem was that marketing agencies are setup to service their clients: marketers. And by and large, marketers are generally setup to service the campaign. Not surprisingly, those campaigns are fixed and tend to align against the marketers personal KPIs, yearly budgets, and yearly media schedules. This means the agency, like any agency, bills by the campaign too.

So how does social media, a concept based on relationships and longer-term interaction, handle a billing cycle that’s based on short-term campaigns?

Mostly they don’t.

The concept of an agency isn’t inherently flawed, but the fact that they are losing alignment between their business model and the realities of a changing media landscape is what leads to projects like this. Or this. Or this. From my discussions with the folks from The Conversation Group, this is a part of the reasoning behind their new agency. I’m incredibly interesting to see how this plays out in the coming months and years.

Congratulations to the team TCG team!