Simon Kemp on life before Kepios: ‘We were turning down three opportunities every month’



High demand from companies for brand strategy advice led to the creation of a new brand consultancy from social marketing agency We Are Social, says regional boss Simon Kemp.

In an interview the week after Mumbrella first reported the launch of the new venture – called Kepios – Kemp said that he had been down turning three opportunities a month for a year for brand strategy projects, but We Are Social didn’t have the capability to handle the business until now.

Kepios is to be run separately to We Are Social, which handles execution as well as strategy for clients such as Lenovo, Kimberly-Clark, Mondelēz International, Intel, Heinz and Expedia.

The brand strategy firm will take up the majority of Kemp’s time, although the Scot will continue in his role as regional managing partner of We Are Social, a job he has done for the last year and a half, supported by Singapore MD Don Anderson who joined about a year ago.

“Kepios is not social or digital, it’s much broader than that,” Kemp told Mumbrella today. “We want to ask fundamental questions about why a business exists.”

“We [We Are Social] sometimes get asked for a Facebook page with a million fans – then get a horrified look when we’ve asked the client why,” Kemp said.

“There needs to be more thought going into justifying why Facebook or any other medium is a better answer than a billboard or a radio ad,” he said.

“There also needs to be an earlier conversation about the purpose and the positioning of a brand. A lot of multinationals have been around for so long they have forgotten their reason for being and why they come into work every day,” said Kemp.

A high profile presence on Twitter, Kemp has been tweeting for the last two years about the need for brands on the internet to “focus on making an impression rather than getting lots of impressions.”

“There’s a danger with obsessing about metrics rather than doing the right things. We need to stop obsessing about those numbers, rather than the real things that people genuinely get excited about,” he said.

Kemp said that an influence on his thinking over the years has been British marketer John Willshire, the former head of innovation at PHD, who came up with the mantra “Making Things People Want beats Making People Want Things.”

Kemp was a consultant for Accenture before joining the media industry eight years ago.


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