Interview with George Ioannou, Head of Digital & Wise

George Ioannou Interview

Digital & Wise interview George Ioannou to find out more about the man behind the agency.

1. Tell us a little bit more about yourself and your role at D&W?

I was hired at Maginus to help grow and add value to the eCommerce Proposition. As software solutions, there was  no real focus on providing consultancy or services to help drive the client’s online business. With my experience and ideas I was able to create a consultancy and agency which helps provide those additional services to enable success. As we progressed and grew as a team, it was evident that many business’s were interested in our capabilities outside of the existing Maginus Customer Base. At this point I founded Digital & Wise as our branding to move forwards. My role at D&W is to continually drive the business forward, ensuring we understand all the new trends and changes coming into digital and to ensure our clients get value and always get return on investment. I also love sharing advice and my thoughts as a speaker at many events.

2. What does your typical day look like?

I think I’m very lucky in the fact I can’t answer this one. I don’t have a typical day which is why I love working everyday and I’m continually driven to find ways to help our customers and offer value and insight. Typically though it involves client liaison, pitch work, helping out back at the office and I guess I’m mostly used for my tea and coffee making skills.

3. What quotes have inspired you throughout the years? 

“As long as your going to be thinking anyway, think big.” – Donald Trump.

&

“If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney

4. What digital strategies have you used to get D&W out to the market?

This is one (blogging)… But I would say great content which people want to read and will get value from is how we think. Change the way you syndicate it, or the format it is in but always ask yourself will someone get value from this effort. As mentioned I’m also a speaker at certain events and I love networking.

5. How do you measure your ROI?

This is a really open question but, I guess like everybody else should. “Are we getting more from our effort and money that we put in.” If not then change something to ensure you are. For us as a services company, it’s the KPI’s from our site, how many leads came from a certain activity and ultimately how much work is won.

6. What’s the best project you’ve been involved in?

Oh, I guess it depends on what “best” means. I guess in my early days best was when I had the lead in a project and I could be the internal decision maker. Then when I was a global consultant, the best project was when I could work abroad on longer projects (I especially loved working in the US), and now I think it’s the project where we can really make a difference and give huge results to clients. A few great projects I’ve loved working on in my past include brands like The White Company, Cadbury, Telstra, Universal Music, VF Corp, IKEA, Lowes, The Co-operative, Lexus and M&S.

7. What do you see as being your biggest challenge within the world of digital?

There’s just so much to learn and to understand. When I started out about 18 years ago I was adopting digital and eCommerce as it was developing and so it was pretty easy to keep in touch and up to date. But now, as I am more and more hands off, the industry is just developing so rapidly that I would love to have more time to read blogs, case studies and white papers etc. I use Twitter a lot more now to find the content that I should be reading and Flipboard to gather it all.

8. What do you see as your most exciting opportunity within the world of digital?

My most exciting opportunity right now is to be able to continue growing Digital & Wise and keep working with amazing clients on brilliant projects. If we continue to do that then I’m happy. “Opportunities come to those who wait”  “Opportunities come to those who work hard, and can make a difference to their clients”.

9. What have been your favourite tools of 2013 and how have they helped you?

As I mentioned above, personally, I love Flipboard, all the social media platforms (I use Hootsuite to engage on social) and although not strictly a tool, I do think a mention should go out to “Apple” – I’m not sure where I would be right now without my iPhone and iPad. Steve Jobs really changed how we interact with and use digital in our everyday lives.

Apple iPhone Image

10. What are your industry top tips…

  1. Keep learning.
  2. Surround yourself with brilliant people.
  3. There’s no need for hunches or opinions, decisions should be made from data and insight.

11. How do you stay up to date with the industry?

Other than reading up daily on some of my favourite posts and blogs, I have built a large network of contacts over the years and I stay in touch, share knowledge and spend time finding out about the industry. I also try and go to many events, one which I particularly find great is the IMRG Connect.

12. What did you hope to be when you were younger?

I always thought I would be a restaurateur when I was really young, as my grandparents and parents all owned restaurants. But from around 11-16yrs old I wanted to be an Architect, until I found out I didn’t like drawing buildings and it was going to take seven years to qualify!

13. What do you enjoy most about your current role?

I love the diversity of the day to day, I also love meeting people and honestly trying to help and make a difference. I’ve also got to say that the Digital & Wise team are second to none, and it wouldn’t be the same without them – it’s a pleasure working with them and so (I know it sounds cheesy but..) it never feels like work, it’s just all of us sitting down, sharing ideas and helping brands. That’s why I think we’re different from other digital agencies and consultancies.

14. Why do you love digital?

I love the pace, the medium and way that it’s changed everyone’s life in the last 10 years or so, which no other industry has done, nor is capable of to the same degree (If I’m wrong feel free to email me and put me straight).

15. And finally, what do you see as ‘the future of digital’?

There’s so much that is happening and is about to happen within the world of digital it is hard to refine. In retail and eCommerce, businesses will develop their use of social to drive traffic, customer interest and customer service and the way products are designed, sourced and stocked will no doubt continue to be revolutionised. There is also a huge step towards personalisation and customisation, and having unique products.  I cannot talk about the future of eCommerce without mentioning 3D printing, which will be very exciting once it becomes an everyday item.


That concludes our Digital & Wise interview. Many thanks for taking part and reading. To hear more from George, follow him on Twitter @georgeioannou or call the D&W office on 0161 946 3851.

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