Meet Hudson Integrated, the User First Digital Agency
New York, August 11th, 2016
Since its founding over ten years ago, Hudson Integrated, formerly known as Hudson Horizons, has weathered through the many phases and transitions on the web and digital industry. Over more than a decade, the agency’s core work has been to help businesses utilize online spaces to their full potential. The team’s agility helped the agency stay current and on top of rising trends throughout the years.
The current 16 full time employees at Hudson Integrated work on projects for a wide range of clients in the areas of digital marketing, responsive design, and web and app development. The majority of Hudson’s clients come from within the United States, but in the future they would like to gain more international projects.
Leading this digital-savvy team is CEO, Founder, and President Daryl Bryant. Having been with the agency through its early days, Daryl brings to the table years of knowledge and experience that are irreplaceable. His knack for leadership and entrepreneurship have led him to serve in other board roles for other companies and projects as a professional. We talked with him to pick his brain on all things creative and what his thoughts are for the future of the industry.
Describe your agency in 3 words:
Nimble. Driven. Inquisitive.
What are some crucial components to creating a successful digital campaign?
Consistency and creativity are really important, as well as up-to-date technology. You can have a great idea, but if the message doesn’t translate across different digital platforms, the inconsistency will hurt what could have otherwise been an awesome campaign.
What are some challenges you and your team face on a daily basis and how do you overcome them?
On a daily basis we face pretty much the same challenges as every other working professional. Simply, there just aren’t enough hours in a day. I’m convinced that if the people on my team didn’t have to sleep, they wouldn’t. In terms of making sure we’re effectively managing our time, we use a project management software, and we also meet once a week to talk about anything we think might be positively or negatively impacting the company. We call those meetings Fireside Chats. By regularly taking the time to sort out where we’re at as a company, we save time in the long run.
What is a campaign(s) you worked on that was especially successful and why?
Luckily, most of our campaigns have been successful. However, one of our coolest success stories is turning a little mom and pop shop from Montana into a national retailer in less than a year. We were able to do this through social media listening – or more simply – REALLY paying attention to and analyzing customers’ needs, and then tailoring our marketing and advertising based on that data. We identified a niche market and have been serving it ever since. We are their digital agency of record.
How did you become interested in digital media and marketing?
I’ve been interested in digital media since the very beginning. I’m a total tech geek, and my business partner is too. In terms of integrating digital marketing into our business – that came a little bit later. Basically, we realized that building websites was integral to modern marketing.
As the Co-Founder and CEO at the agency, what are your daily activities?
I make sure the company is moving the right direction at all times. I oversee all operations and business development, and I make sure that we’re attracting the right type of clients for our talents and processes.
What excites you most about your job?
The most exciting part about running an agency is seeing our clients gain success through our efforts. We’ve made it a priority to work as partners with our clients; we become, in short, an extension of their internal teams. To me, nothing is more exciting than partnering with businesses who are serious about using digital to become leaders in their industries.
What does the word creativity mean to you?
Creativity is not being afraid to step outside of what’s comfortable in order to achieve something greater than what has been done before. To be creative, you need to check your ego at the door, because you’ll have 100 mediocre ideas before you come up with an outstanding one. It’s a process. Unlike web development, creativity doesn’t have a set of functional specifications or a universal code. It’s work that requires one to be disciplined, determined, and open to constant experimentation – you can’t give up just because one idea flopped. Persistence is just as important as creativity.
What do you do for inspiration?
We stay updated on digital from a number of online publications, and we also find conferences really useful for inspiration. Publications include AdAge. eConsultancy, TechCrunch, and Ragan. Similarly, Accenture and Forrester have published so much awesome research on the digital industry in the past few years; both have been useful in examining the agency space. As for conferences, we like to attend events focused on ideation. This fall the team will be attending Delight Conference in Portland, Oregon, which should be really inspirational.
Please list a few of your favorite digital brands:
From an innovation perspective, Uber is amazing. The fact that they completely changed an industry that had been around for over 100 years in just 3 year’s time – all because they took advantage of technology and user empowerment – is really inspiring. From a more traditional perspective, the beauty retailer Sephora is absolutely killing it in terms of UX and search. Plus, its website design is so sleek beautifully branded.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time I like to stay active, spend time with my family, and support my alma mater’s business and entrepreneur program. I speak at the school at least once a year, and mentor aspiring entrepreneurs as well. We’ve had many interns from the business school, and it’s always rewarding to see them acclimate to the working world as opposed to classroom. I also speak at events for Multiple Sclerosis, which is dear to my heart since I’ve struggled with it myself since I was 23 years old.
Which countries excite you most in terms of digital creativity?
Australia and New Zealand have done pretty innovative stuff, but I am very proud of the digital creativity in the United States, too.
Where do you see the industry going in 5 or 10 years?
Well, digital certainly isn’t going anywhere. Where it’s headed is mostly speculation at this point, but I think wearable technology, and more broadly, the Internet of Things will only become more mainstream. Brands will need to figure out innovative ways to stay relevant as consumers make different technologies part of their daily lives. I also see search engine algorithms moving slowly toward a more human-centric model, which is part of the larger shift toward user experience and empowerment.
What is a digital trend that is here to stay, at least for the relative time being?
Marketing automation and programmatic advertising. Basically, any technology that allows us to work smarter and not harder, will remain as cornerstones for the foreseeable future. Also, user behavioral data will continue to drive the most successful digital brands.
What advice do you often give to people who are starting to work in your same field?
The best advice I can give is to stay creative and to leverage technology wherever possible. In the digital world, time is of the essence like never before. So, if you can find ways to streamline traditionally manual work, you will free up more time for creativity and innovation, both of which characterize top industry leaders.
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