BLOG TAKEOVER: 2017 Speakers Ben Askins + Clara Saladich of VERB

Hello, all of you budding entrepreneurs, creatives, makers, designers, innovators - ALL OF YOU! We see you out there, and we're grateful you're in our community. Check out another 2017 Speaker BLOG TAKEOVER from Ben and Clara, two of the heavy hitters from VERB, a Luxury Digital Agency based in London. Read this just-released interview on why they believe in #CommunityOverCompetiton. Register now to meet them both at The Collective Europe, in just four short weeks!


Tell us a bit more about Verb, how did it started? What is your role within the company?

Verb was formed at university by the founder Chris Donnelly, who then partnered with Warren Moore as the Technical Director. Soon after, Ben himself joined to strengthen the leadership team. The goal was simple: to create the most recognised luxury digital agency in Europe. Verb creates concepts and implements bespoke strategies that allow luxury brands to grow across all channels, including web design, eCommerce, mobile applications SEO, PPC, social media and influencer marketing. Today, Verb has expanded into a team of 40 who deliver bespoke digital strategies for our luxury clients.

(CLARA) My role consists of spreading the word about Verb and growing the business through the acquisition of strategic partnerships and clients. Our mission is to become the number one agency for luxury brands. In order to achieve that, I organise quarterly thought leadership events and seminars, design a curated communications strategy and identify strategic partnerships. 

(BEN) As the Head of Account Management, my role is relatively varied, but my core focus is Client Services. It is my job to make sure that all of our clients throughout the company are getting the service and the advice that they need to increase their digital presence. I absolutely love my job and I am very lucky in that the team at Verb are an unbelievably talented bunch making my role considerably easier! 


What do you think is the biggest challenge for marketers today?

(CLARA) I think one of the biggest challenges for brands is to keep up with the consumer’s need for immediacy: the fact that we are used to ‘expect everything yesterday’. Having the control at our fingertips, being able to order an Uber instantly or having our same-day deliveries are some examples of what we, as consumers, are expecting as the norm. Digital plays a huge role to achieve this and I believe brands need to innovate from the inside; improving their supply chains and making their internal processes as efficient as possible in order to deliver a product or service as fast as possible and of the highest quality. The whole customer path to purchase needs to be integrated, from the initial digital research to the final offline delivery.

(BEN) More important than anything these days is the way consumers are using the digital landscape to validate companies that they come across. Whenever anyone hears of a new business their first inclination is to Google them and it is critical that the online matches the offline experience to ensure that the acquisition of new customers and clients is not being lost. Therefore marketers have to make sure that their website is fast loading and presents the company’s brand message in the best possible light, they have to make sure that their social media is consistent and adheres to a long term strategy and they have to ensure there is a sensible approach to SEO to give you the best possible chance to be found by search engines. People are very lazy online these days due to breadth of material out there and so marketers have to position their digital presence in such a way to give themselves the best possible chance. 


Give us a hint of your session, what will you share with the participants of The Collective?

(BOTH) Our session is aimed at entrepreneurs and business owners that want to establish their brand online. We will explain the key steps for brands to achieve that and illustrate practical examples and case studies of brands that Verb has been working with.

Despite the fact that it is part of a tech-free retreat, our session will discuss tips for online success and provide a practical explanation of the key step to follow to achieve it. 

The beauty of online is that, broadly speaking, it is a level playing field and by being clever with the way you approach it, smaller brands have the opportunity to appear at the same level with just as much capability and influence as a much larger brand. That is the message that we are looking to try and get across. 


How do you feel about "community over competition"?

(BOTH) When we found out about The Collective Europe, we immediately felt aligned with the event’s culture and values. We believe a community makes you stronger and can empower your brand further more than ‘flying solo’. 

Our approach to technology mirrors this belief as well. One of our main technologies that we use is Wordpress which is an incredibly robust and popular PHP framework and one of the main reasons why it is valued so highly is that it is an open source platform. This means that anyone can look to improve upon it and the result is a community of tens of thousands of developers across the globe all contributing to trying to make it better, improve the functionality and helping each other out with any potential issues that they run into. 


Who the top people are that have inspired you and why?

(CLARA) : For me, all female entrepreneurs that have made it to the top are a source of inspiration. During the last thought leadership event I organised, I had the pleasure to host some of them and their determination and creativity was outstanding. Amongst the formidable group was Ana Andjelic, Diana Verde Nieto, Anna Nash and Holly Tuppen.

(BEN) Elon Musk. I know it is a cliche and perhaps an obvious choice but to be able to combine such a shrewd business acumen with such pioneering technology all the while ensuring his companies are as sustainable as possible is beyond impressive.

Anique Coffee