A Swiss Agency Tackles All Things Digital
Lausanne, May 9, 2016
Darwin Digital is a web development, design, and digital marketing agency based in Switzerland with offices in Lausanne and Geneva. Darwin Digital partners with companies to maximize their online potential and offers clients a responsive, collaborative and transformative approach that makes businesses successful.
Michael O’Sullivan is one of the Co-Founders of Darwin Digital and has over twenty years of experience in marketing all across Europe. While he is originally from Ireland, Michael has lived in Serbia, Italy, and Switzerland. When the opportunity came about to launch a new business with co-founder Daniel Kaempf, Michael didn’t hesitate at the opportunity. We chatted with him to learn more about Darwin Digital and Michael’s predictions for the future of the digital industry.
Darwin Digital is based in Switzerland. Do clients mainly come from within the EU, or are there all kinds of international clients?
We have a broad range of clients. The majority of our clients are based in Switzerland but most of them have global or international target audiences. In addition, we also have clients in the rest of the EU such as the UK, France or Australia.
In your opinion, what ingredients are key to create a successful digital campaign?
Knowing the client goals, a well-articulated plan, a creative and reliable team, flawless implementation, and lots of coffee.
Describe Darwin Digital in a few adjectives:
Responsive – we help businesses respond to the challenges of a changed digital marketplace.
Collaborative – we work in a true partnership with our clients to understand their requirements and goals.
Transformative – we deliver breakthrough digital insights and solutions.
What is a campaign you worked on that was especially successful and why?
It is difficult to single out just one campaign. There are many different projects that we worked on that were successful and from each project we generate new insights. For example, one of our clients asked us to set up their entire online business. It was great to have the liberty to spend time developing a business strategy and then go right ahead and implement the different elements. We also work with a number of global non-profit organizations that are based in the area. We specifically developed a campaign for an event series that started out locally and is now being rolled out at the global level. It’s great to see when our clients are successful – even more so when the client is a non-profit working for the greater good.
What is your personal story with Darwin Digital?
I am one of the Co-Founders of Darwin Digital. When the opportunity came up to start my own agency I didn’t think twice. My Co-Founder and I decided to focus on digital and online marketing as we believe this is where businesses can make a difference. A lot of startups and smaller business struggle to maximize the potential of digital sphere and that’s where we want to provide support.
How did you become interested in this industry? At a young age or at the university level?
I have been working in marketing for the past 20 years and I have never regretted this decision. I am from Ireland and as you might know tourism is a big part of the Irish economy. So I started my career marketing and promoting holiday packages to an international audience. Later I moved to Geneva, Belgrade, Rome and back to Switzerland but I always worked in strategy and communications. Today, I focus on digital marketing because this is simply where the industry is headed. It never gets boring and there is always something new to learn.
Describe your daily activities at Darwin Digital:
I am in charge of business strategy. So on a typical day I meet with a number of clients or potential clients or attend industry events. In between meetings, I work on current accounts especially on developing marketing strategies with a focus on inbound marketing and SEO.
What do you do for inspiration?
I look for inspiration everywhere. Usually, I turn to my network when I am looking to spark my creativity. I especially love discussions with people who are passionate about what they do.
Please list a few of your favorite digital brands:
I am fascinated by companies that completely embrace digital and base their entire business model on the online marketplace. A prime example is Nest. You can’t even imagine this company outside of the digital realm. And they are obviously very successful with this approach.
There are few brands that make the most of social media. Sports and fitness brands such as Under Armour manage to really engage with their target audience. The Internet also changes how people consume information. Blogs and online newspapers are really disrupting the media industry. Buzzfeed and Refinery29 know how people want to receive information online.
What do you like doing in your free time?
Free time is important to recharge so that you are able to give 100% at work. My favorite way to spend time off is with my family. The Lake Geneva area is a beautiful region and we often go up to the mountains and hike or ski. For me there is no better way to disconnect.
Which countries excite you most in terms of digital creativity?
Sweden – We see some of the best apps for consumer goods coming from Stockholm.
Switzerland – The developments and progress in the area of medical device applications are really cutting-edge.
Ireland – I don’t just say this because I am Irish. It’s really true that the top commercial applications are coming out of Dublin.
Where do you see the industry going in 5 or 10 years?
Digital is the future. That’s a no-brainer. Our daily lives will be more and more connected. We will be driving smart cars, live in digital homes and our body functions will be monitored by wearables. This presents incredible potential for digital communications and marketing.
What is a digital trend that is here to stay, at least for the relative time being?
Social media. The specific platforms and channels people use, will change but the way we share information and connect with other people online won’t change. There is no going back on this.
What advice do you often give to people who are starting to work in your field?
Keep an open mind. Keep learning. Keep networking. Help others. Take risks. Have fun.
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