Kendra Bracken-Ferguson is the co-founder and COO of Digital Brand Architects. With offices in Los Angeles, New York, Milan and Hong Kong, DBA is a talent management and creative social experiences agency that employs over 40 people globally.
DBA was one of the first agencies to focus solely on representing talent with a digital footprint. The company’s creative social experiences division implements marketing campaigns and social media activations through disruptive content, digital inﬂuencers and dynamic storytelling.
Kendra Bracken-Ferguson is a global digital strategist specializing in content marketing, influencer relations, media marketing strategy, viral marketing and event management, with a deep focus in the fashion, beauty, consumer and lifestyle sectors.
She is a member of The Fulbright Program PR Council and spends her free time delivering speaking engagements for keynote events, such as SXSW and Social Media Week, and mentoring young communication professionals eager to break into the industry.
How did Digital Brand Architects get started?
At the time, I was the director of digital media at Ralph Lauren and I was constantly receiving emails from bloggers about working with the brand. I remember meeting Karen Robinovitz, one of my co-founders, and I was instantly intrigued by her. I literally thought about her all night on Friday.
My head still spinning, I reached out to her that next morning to tell her about my idea of managing bloggers to help them grow their brands and monetize in the digital space. Turns out, she had the same idea and had already thought of a company name and logo. That same day we put up a temporary website, got our husbands together for brunch on Sunday to share our idea and filed for a LLC that Monday.
Tell us more about the brands DBA works with, do you have some recent project highlights you can share?
We work with brands across fashion, beauty, lifestyle and automotive. Our clients include Tiffany & Co., L’Oréal, Hasbro and Volvo, just to name a few.
We recently worked with The Frye Company to release a 20-part docuseries on Instagram and YouTube focused on further securing its brand image as an authentic and artisan-based manufacturer. Kevin Lu, a videographer and prominent figure on social media, filmed the series on an iPhone 6 and edited together the 15-second clips of various New York City based artists alongside their own hand-crafted artwork.
The message behind the docuseries, the footage and the artists themselves enforce the persona that The Frye Company has worked so hard to establish. The videos celebrate the artistry of working with your hands and connect with viewers on an emotional level, creating a strong brand trust.
Tell us more about DBA’s talent management services, how did you build your client base?
In the beginning it was about going out to influencers we already had relationships with and whom we also knew could be successful within the social sphere. We shared our vision to manage them and create partnerships with brands. As we have grown to over four offices with a global presence our client base is still driven by instinct. I like to call my partner, Karen a blogger whisperer.
DBA has offices in New York, Beverly Hills, Hong Kong and Milan, do you have plans to expand further?
Yes, we are constantly looking for opportunities to grow and expand our business. Our next location will be determined by the market opportunity and need. Our business is global by the nature of social media. Physical location does not limit our work as we have many clients that aren’t in any of the locations where we have a physical presence.
What happens during a typical day at Digital Brand Architects?
Lucky for me, no day is ever really the same! Every day is uniquely different. Of course, there are the busy days that make you feel tethered to your desk or email, but aside from that working in the ever-evolving digital space brings new opportunities daily—an ability to be innovative, forward-thinking and creative.
This is something that I constantly crave. From meeting with different clients to learning about emerging, new technologies and traveling between the coasts, no day is 100% the same.
What has been your biggest achievement so far at Digital Brand Architects?
The biggest achievement is a summation of everything we have accomplished and the reputation that we have built across the industry. We are the go to source for influencers and social marketing. We continue to grow and expand our global footprint. We have a world class team of innovators, creatives and strategists.
I am working with our technology partner, Gravitater on the launch of a new solution for influencer marketing called Social Influencer Mapping. It will change the way that marketers quantify the reach and impact of influencers against their business objectives. I call it the perfect marriage of art + science between DBA and Gravitater.
SIM is the first research-based approach to identifying, tracking, activating and measuring the reach and impact influencers have in social media marketing. Currently the only system offering quantifiable statistics via its proprietary algorithm technology, SIM analyzes the impact of influencer marketing efforts by scientifically connecting the dots between the content created and the influencer creating it. The result is a tool that helps brands develop informed and statistically sound social media strategies.
What is the toughest part when it comes to running your own business?
People management. We are responsible for the livelihood of our teams and they are the most valuable assets to the company. I care so much and constantly think about them, their wellbeing and happiness.
What has been your biggest lesson as an entrepreneur so far?
I have a few lessons and continue to pick up more every day. First of all, be good to yourself. Build a network of supportive, smart and positive people that will fight with you, uplift you when needed and are genuinely interested and invested in your success and happiness.
Recognize that it will be a process and you may feel a bit off-kilter at times. Breathe and reflect. Don’t react in the moment. Remain grounded, challenge yourself, be inspired everyday and always be open and ready for whatever comes your way.
What‘s next? What goals are you working towards?
Growth and expansion, building a brand that will make a difference in society.
What advice would you give to any startup entrepreneurs reading who want to enhance their personal brand with digital media?
Test and learn. Identify your sweet spot, your voice and how you can add value. Don’t try to tackle it all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Is there any other information you’d like to share?
My personal motto is carpe diem. I want to continue to grow, learn and expand my horizons. I’m excited about the future and all that I still have to accomplish. I’m also working on a personal initiative called The Braintrust, a curated assembly of iconoclastic minds to generate deep insight and new thinking. The world is truly my oyster.