Third Wave meets Deutsche Postbank AG

Today we are happy to announce that Deutsche Postbank AG has commissioned us to be their lead agency for the development of their Social Strategy.

We hinted in our week notes that we won a big pitch and today we are happy to announce that Deutsche Postbank AG has commissioned us to be their lead agency for the development of their Social Strategy.

Pitching

As you very well know, we usually do not participate in pitches. Previous experience taught us otherwise. At first, we were reluctant to even participate in this pitch, but fortunately Postbank had good arguments for wanting us in this pitch. Our one condition to ourselves for this pitch was: no compromises.

Not that compromising is per se something evil. But pitches have often a very specific dynamic, and we wanted to use this one to show our full expertise, our conviction of how to approach Social as something that is substantial, complex and not only focused on technology (as in choice of platforms) or campaign-based.

The fact that we won certainly emphasizes that we are on the right track, but it also shows how much Deutsche Postbank AG understands what needs to be accomplished. Our commission comes with an extraordinary display of commitment and trust towards us. We are very well aware and excited about that.

What we will do

As you would imagine, we cannot go into details. There is a lot of real strategy work to be done. That includes an in-depth research phase, getting to know the company, communicating our decisions in a way that is understandable to every party involved. Big corporations are complex entities, full of individuals. Often enough the best strategies fail due to lack of explaining. To put in the words of our friend Matt Gierhart:

Don’t blame clients for not “getting” it. You didn’t tell the right story.

We are fully committed not only to tell the right story, but to create a fully operational framework for a strategy that works as a living organism and evolve over time. This will be a challenging task, no doubt about it. Globally, the future of finance is uncertain – and that is why now is the right moment to prepare, change and adapt. So far, we’ve experienced the work with one of the largest consumer banks in Germany as immensely gratifying and we are looking forward to collaboratively shaping the future of how social is applied in the finance sector.

Week 52 – One Year of Third Wave

Third Wave turns one today. This is one of those blog posts that makes all three of us look back, scratch our heads and wonder where time went. Instead of pathos, let me throw out a few numbers and lists and thoughts, a couple of shout outs, and ideas for the next year.

Third Wave turns 1 today. This is one of those blog posts that makes all three of us look back, scratch our heads and wonder where time went. But we’re not big on pathos, so I won’t go that route. (Even if it’s tempting.) Instead, let me throw out a few numbers and lists and thoughts, a couple of shout outs, and ideas for the next year.

(Fuzzy) travel stats

Half a year ago, Igor put together a whole slew of statistics about our first six months. I’m not going to expand much on the travel stats, but: we’ve worked with some 30 clients altogether ranging from big media outlet to startup to agency to bank. Within the last half year alone, we had some 25 projects, which (according to Dopplr) between the three of us brought us to Amsterdam, Bonn, Frankfurt, Munich, Cologne, London, Hamburg, Vienna, New York, Stuttgart, Wiesbaden, Zürich and Caputh (it’s a real town, look it up). Already lined up are trips to Frankfurt, Amsterdam, London, Bonn, New York and San Francisco.

We like conferences

For us, conferences & other meetups are more than just duty. They’re an important part of our lives in many ways, and we’ve always been involved in events even before we founded our company. So we’re all quite happy we got the chance to be involved at a number of great conferences besides our own, including SxSW, PICNIC, Next (disclosure: clients of ours), TEDxKreuzberg, re:publica, SIGINT, as well as a number of smaller ones. What’s more, we were kindly invited to join a number of advisory boards and juries, and we’re all glad we get a chance to give something back (or rather pay it forward) that way.

It’s not as easy as we thought

Along the way, we hit speed bumps and made mistakes. Some would have been easy to avoid, others we had to make ourselves to really learn the lessons. In many, many case we were able to avoid mistakes thanks to our fantastic friends and colleagues. Thank you. (You know who you are.)

It’s easier than we thought

Other things worked out much easier than expected. Take group dynamics for example – even under pressure, things between the three of us have been working out well, and we still push each other to the next level. We managed to establish a stable client base and feel lucky to work with a bunch of really smart people every day.

In the only pitch we did under our own name (ie not for a client), we set for the tough and risky road and proposed what we thought was the right thing to do – some heavy lifting and internal changes – and beat some of the biggest agencies in the country. This came as a delightful shock to us, particularly since initially we almost decided to not even take part.

We don’t know what we do, but we know what we’re doing

Ok, that sounds a bit silly. But as avid readers of this blog you know we’ve always struggled a bit in describing what exactly it is we’re doing – or rather: slapping a label on our work. We managed to break our activities down in several formats, or lenses, that depending on your viewpoint describe what it is that we do. To name a few of them: Third Wave in 7 Slides, Reclaiming Social Media, our services in detail, Translation Layers.

So, we might not know what it is we do; but we really know what we’re doing.

What’s next?

As if we knew! The near future looks as exciting to us as it does to you. There are a few fix points: Some major new client projects are coming up, we have invitations for a few very cool conferences, and we have a few trips lined up. We’ve been looking closely at a few emerging topics we’ll be exploring further. And if things work out, we’ll have a couple great collaborations coming up.

But most importantly, we’ll keep exploring new paths of all sorts, and embrace serendipity.

Thank you all for your support & for the great ride.

Mrs Landingham! What’s next?

Week 41

For our quarterly strategy meetings, we usually close down shop and go away for two days to work in a different environment. It helps not to be the caught up in daily routine to think and talk about fundamentals.

Striving. If there is one word to describe our week, it would be ‘striving’.

For our quarterly strategy meetings, we usually close down shop and go away for two days to work in a different environment. It helps not to be caught up in daily routine to think and talk about fundamentals. This time, there was just no time slot for this kind of luxury and so we sat down on Tuesday in Peter’s apartment and worked on how to approach the next three month. After observing a few things, we made ourselves a plan that puts a lot more pressure onto us. That’s okay. It’s how things are supposed to be right now. Or to put it in our good friend’s Mike Arauz’ words:

If the pressure doesn’t defeat you, it turns you into a diamond.

That said, it feels like we’re kicking into a completely new gear right now. Not that we’ve been doing poorly before, but nine month into starting a company we’re realigning our strategy for Third Wave. Obviously, it’s a people business. Third Wave will always be the sum of people who are involved in the company. Our knowledge, our curiousity is what drives the company. While this is a powerful underlying structure, we found that we need to differentiate more between personal interests and those of the company. We will still incorporate as many ideas as possible, but we will concentrate on structuring those into a bigger company vision. It helps us – in our function as managing partners of Third Wave – to know what’s next.

And it feels good to do this. It helps us to focus and embrace even more the idea that we are building a solid, good company with social responsibility and very specific goals. As always, exciting times.

As for the travel schedule: I will be arriving in Munich on Wednesday evening and staying for about 24 hours. Peter and Johannes will keep the fort in Berlin.

Our consulting work

One of the challenges we face as a young company that works on cutting edge things is how to describe what we do – simply because it doesn’t fit the well-established boxes and terminology. So we often get asked: “We want to work with you. How do you work?”

One of the challenges we face as a young company that works on cutting edge things is how to describe what we do – simply because it doesn’t fit the well-established boxes and terminology.

So we often get asked: “We want to work with you. How do you work, how can we book you?” There are the general descriptions of what we do, but by nature this kind of list tends to be a bit on the vague side.

It’s actually really simple, though, if you break it down into some of the different scenarios we tend to work in:

1) Agency Incubators

We regularly work with marketing/PR/ad agencies, mostly in the role of an incubator: We do whatever it takes to accelerate the development of inhouse skills and structures to compete in the digital sphere. This work can take many shapes, the most typical ones being workshops, ideation, feedback and moderation, or knowledge transfer.

If an agency works on a major client project, we often come in at the beginning for an initial kick-off to plan the overall strategy and roadmap as well as teams. Then, while the agency implements and executes inhouse, we’re there to give feedback, and in the end we go into a sparring with the agency to make sure that everything is going to work out.

Needless to say, we understand that agency work requires discretion. That’s why we don’t disclose our agency clients’ names if they prefer it that way.

2) Strategy & Sparring

Every organization and brand is going to be affected by the changes in digital communication. We watch these changes, both on the technological and the user behavior side, and can help to adapt. Working closely with our clients, we help align their strategy with those new, emerging demands. We help put together the best team for the job. And we’re happy to go into a sparring with our clients to make sure they are as well-prepared as possible for whatever the future might hold for them. Typical formats and outcomes are workshops, top-level strategy papers, meetings (face to face and via phone) as well as feedback loops.

3) Conference Curation & Consulting

We’re trying to be on top of all things digital. It’s our job to not just read what’s going on on the interwebs, but to know the guys behind it, and to estimate what impact things will have for our clients in the conference business. This gives us the overview and network to help them put together the best conference they can. We don’t do event management – there are many able companies out there to help with that – but chances are we have a few suggestions on how you can improve your event and who to invite.

4) Long-term partnership

The best results can be achieved when we’re working with our clients on a long-term, integrated basis. That’s why we prefer not to just jump into a project and then leave things behind, but to enter long-term partnerships. This requires trust, but it also builds the trust that is needed to have an honest conversation when needed. We’re no Yes Men – if something’s wrong, we want to give it to you straight. Long-term partnerships help both sides to build cool stuff & grow together. Also, it’s much easier for all to schedule, plan and budget, and you’ll never be without help if you need it.

We will keep refining this description (you’ll find bits and pieces of it popping up on our services page). But this may answer a few of the questions we’ve been asked. If you’re still not sure but would like to work with us, get in touch. We’re happy to bounce ideas.

Third Wave in Coffee

The Third Wave of Coffee refers to a current movement to produce high-quality coffee, and consider coffee as an artisanal foodstuff, like wine, rather than a commodity, like wheat. Third Wave Coffee aspires to the highest form of culinary appreciation of coffee, so that one may appreciate subtleties of flavor, bean varietal, and growing region.

Bonanza Coffee Heroes
Bonanza Coffee Heroes, a Third Wave coffee shop

As you may know, Third Wave coffee has been a big inspiration for us:

The Third Wave of Coffee refers to a current movement to produce high-quality coffee, and consider coffee as an artisanal foodstuff, like wine, rather than a commodity, like wheat. This involves improvements at all stages of production, from improving coffee bean growing, harvesting, and processing, to stronger relationships between coffee growers and coffee traders and roasters, to higher quality and fresh roasting, at times called microroasting (by analogy with microbrew beer), to skilled brewing. Third Wave Coffee aspires to the highest form of culinary appreciation of coffee, so that one may appreciate subtleties of flavor, bean varietal, and growing region.”

[Wikipedia]

So if you swing by our office, you’ll always find a steaming hot cup of fine espresso. We keep rotating brands and flavors, so here’s a small selection of beans we like:

If you’re in the neighborhood, make sure to drop by for a cup!