Sentient has experienced strong growth since joining W2O in December 2016. To continue W2O’s momentum in building a fully integrated agency, we announced two new Sentient hires: Dominic Viola as Managing Director of Client Services and Michael Spitz as Practice Leader of Strategy. I’ve worked with each of them for over 10 years and am thrilled to welcome them to W2O. Recently, I sat down with them to gain insight into their background and vision for the firm.
Adam: Welcome to the W2O and Sentient teams. I’ve worked with you both for over a decade and am excited to bring you onboard. What originally attracted you to join W2O and how has your experience been so far?
Dominic: For most of my career, I’ve challenged the traditional approaches companies deploy to uncover insights for their brands. In most cases, they are built on what our customers want you to think they are doing versus how they are actually behaving. W2O gets this and has built its forward-thinking model around this phenomenon. We have the ability, in real time, to understand real behaviors and act on them as they evolve through their journey, delivering the right story, at the right time, through an experience that builds allegiance. This has been very refreshing and exciting to see in action.
Michael: I was attracted to W2O likely for the same reasons you were: a smart, creative and analytics-focused powerhouse that uniquely understands the vital connection between insights and activation. Clients today demand a single partner rocking it across the continuum, and W2O — especially with the Sentient acquisition — seems perfectly positioned. My experience so far has been wonderfully assuring, with the model working smoothly throughout the diverse accounts I’ve already leaped into.
Adam: Your roles both focus on growing the business. How do you see our firm growing over the next few years?
Dominic: The world is moving faster than most company’s ability to understand and engage with their customers in a way that’s meaningful. W2O Group understands this dynamic and has built its capabilities and brought in the talent necessary to address it. The world of silos is coming to an end. A fully-integrated model fueled by robust analytics will be the accelerant for our growth over the next few years.
Michael: Now that we all carry connected computers in our pockets and demand immediate, personalized and global services at the tap of a screen, brands have unprecedented opportunities to engage their customers. That paradigm shift has put digital front and center, and erased the traditional boundaries between PR, AOR, DAOR, media and other specialties – so success in 2017 and beyond demands the fully integrated approach W2O is mastering.
Adam: What is your “super power”?
Dominic: I love this question because I’ve always felt that my super power is being able to quickly identify everyone else’s super power. My role requires me to know who to put where and when. As a Client Service Lead, I focus on leveraging and coordinating the strengths of team members across disciplines to get the best work. The coordination of those strengths will always surpass the strengths of a single individual. Nothing is more satisfying than putting the right team together and watching them work their magic.
Michael: I’m “Simplicity Man!” Give me a mountain of complex data or a crowded noisy conference room and I’ll be able to quickly and intuitively identify the essential goal, define a measurable key performance indicator, and propose immediate and actionable next steps to get the job done.
Adam: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Dominic: Learn from everyone, follow no one. Everyone has something to teach you, whether right or wrong. If you embrace that, you will harness the strengths of those around you, learn from their mistakes, and watch your true potential thrive.
Michael: Get to the point! Mean what you say and say what you mean — and when writing, never EVER use the pointless clauses “It is…” “It was…” or “There is…” “There are…” because the passive voice is the scourge of humanity!
Adam: What is something people may be surprised to know about you?
Dominic: Growing up, I always wanted to be a builder. I love working with my hands. I find it incredibly satisfying to take an empty basement or garage and completely finish it over. My next project will be a Swiss Family Robinson-style treehouse for my kids.
Michael: I love solving over-sized Rubik’s Cubes and playing over-loud electric guitars. When not driving people crazy that way, I run half marathons and should never be allowed to sing.
Adam: Thank you. It’s with full confidence that I say you’ll both be instrumental to the Sentient team. Looking forward to #MakingitHappen.
View the official release for more details around the announcement here.