Making a digital splash with Whello
Amsterdam, July 18th, 2017
About five years ago, in 2012, a digital agency emerged from the waters of the canals in Amsterdam, on the shape of the largest mammal in earth, please meet Whello. The company is the dream manifestation of founders Serge de Sousa – Co-Founder & Online Marketeer and SEO expert Nasser al Kamouchi.
Serge explains the reason behind the original name and the company’s mascot, “The name Whello came about from the combination between ‘Why’ & ‘Hello’. Why, addressing the reason for clients to pick this agency – as this is the first question a business owner or marketer should ask him or herself. Hello as a reflection of creating a splash of that Why to the outside world. We believe that understanding a company, what it stands for and why, is needed so that we can promote it best to the outside online world.”
Choosing a whale as the company’s mascot and logo is symbolic of what the agency wants to achieve. “The whale is one of the largest, most impressive mammals on earth. Effective and goal-oriented communication forms the basis of everything a whale does. Via sound waves, whales are able to communicate across vast distances with other whales. Whales are masters of communication and extremely careful about how they expend their energy. They only expend what is absolutely necessary.”
“For an organizations to grow in the online era, we at Whello, want to ensure that our partners achieve the maximum return – just like the whales. We believe that in order for an organization to be successful, you should choose the right communication, that is best suited to your target group at the right moment in the right place.”
Whello offers a full digital package: online marketing with website building, online advertising, SEO marketing, content marketing and design. To achieve this the agency works with specialists who know their trade in-dept. Serge points out, “By having our the specialists actually working together in a close team we are able to achieve the best results and synergies.”
Serge is a self-confessed computer geek, who also likes marketing and communications. He started selling stuff via online marketplaces in 2006. He has a competitive nature and a curious spirit with a keen eye for multi disciplinary approaches.
He discovered the flaws in existing online marketing companies as a marketing manager, one of his first jobs. .
“In my job as a marketing manager, I felt that other marketing companies didn’t (want?) to understand the company they worked for,” comments Serge. “I think this is step 1: understand the company and audience so you know what the best approach is to reach them. This inspired me to set up Whello with my friend Nasser.”
At the moment, the only challenge Serge admitted to be experiencing, is the fact that the agency is growing very fast, which might be a good problem to have! We asked him to tell us more.
Can you describe your agency in three words?
A “Make it happen” company.
What is your definition of creativity?
Create campaigns that stand out with your target audience thereby creating goal-orientated campaigns. The flashiest picture doesn’t always work, being creative means actually creating something that works for the goal you have in mind – or even better excel at it.
Can you define content marketing?
Content marketing is the ability to capture your audience by providing information and material that actually sticks with them and/or helps them in their journey.
What are the key qualities to look for in a Content Manager?
A content manager needs to be able to understand the essence of what the target audience wants to see, even though they might not know it themselves first hand.
Which content marketing brand strategy has inspired you lately and why?
We recently had to do a campaign attracting expats recently arrived in Amsterdam. A campaign with a highly differentiated audience in a specific situation is challenging.
Creating content which appeals to this target audience using different mediums like video, guest blogs, visuals and combine it with Social, Display and Search campaigns makes my blood run faster with excitement. The challenge here was to reach and accompany the entire customer journey.
How does content marketing differ from Online advertising?
The main difference between content marketing and online advertising is that the former should pull your audience to you. Either by providing good information or capturing them in with your story. Online Advertising is mainly a push exercise and should be used to boast your range, if highly personalised and relevant this can also be highly efficient in scaling your business.
How do you carry out your discovery process when you get a new project?
1. We start by asking loads of questions. The client and its employees often know the company best. We also look into benchmark data and might even find some similarities in past cases. Knowing more about the company, their style and their audience helps a lot setting our campaigns up for success.
2. After which we take a good look at the available statistics like Google Analytics, CRM or other website data.
3. Finally we look at best practices in the market, branch or similar services.
Despite being based in the Netherlands, do you work with other countries?
Yes, we do have clients who already asked us for international campaigns (some worldwide), as we work mostly online it’s quite easy to do work/campaigns for other countries.
Some of them are: Ziggo | Vodafone, Lot Sixty One Coffee, NoLabel, Perfect Housing, Arend Auto, IamExpat, Xpat.nl, WeCreate, Perfect World, Plastic Whale
We just opened offices in Indonesia and Belgium.
If you have to do a project in another country, how do you make sure you know enough about their culture to produce a product that resonates with the audience?
We work with a very diverse team of many nationalities, so often a good starting point is asking our team or our network. As we have a large expatriate network due to our speciality in this field we can always find people who can fill in the blanks for us.
Are there online publications, professionals, industry leaders you follow?
Too many to name, Harvest Business Review, Moz, Search Engine Land and I find Elon Musk very inspiring.
Which cities outside where you live interest you creatively?
Lisbon is certainly one, the marble, grand palaces, history and people.
Please list a few of your favourite digital brands:
Moz, I like the way they use their robot avatar.
What do you like doing in your free time?
Besides the usual Netflix, going for a drink I like to clear my mind from time to time by doing something exciting like Snowboarding, surfing or maybe even jumping out of an airplane.
By Geny Caloisi.
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