We spoke with Ja’Qor (Jay) Goodwin, Iris' new Integrated Brand Strategist, on culutral strategy and the future of non-traditional advertising.
Can you tell us about your current role and responsibilities?
I recently joined the Iris NY/ATL team, as an Integrated Brand Strategist. My main responsibility is to push our thinking forward and make sure we’re connecting with the right people in the best ways possible. At the core of it - keeping up with what’s going in the world, culturally and with new media. And, also making sure our messages are clear, effective and are working to connect people to brands, in mutually beneficial ways.
What drew you to work at this agency and what opportunities does it provide to foster your professional growth?
Simply put - the people, the work, and the culture. In 2017, while interning at BBDO SF, I realized my passion for creative strategy. The next few years, I dabbled in cultural strategy, social, voice marketing, and digital strategy. But, when I decided to pursue creative strategy as a focus, my paths crossed with Iris. Since then, I have been absolutely loving my time here with the team. I work with brilliant people and I’m simply in awe of the work that I get to do and the clients that I work with.
The best part for me is - we are growing our strategy team, which means I am learning a lot from a very diverse team with various backgrounds. And finally, I feel very supported by this squad, which gives me a level of comfort to try new things and take on new approaches. I feel valued at Iris.
Are there any unused skills you have that you'd love to incorporate into your professional work?
Outside of work, I’m a musician, producer, and podcast host. I have a sneaking suspicion that someday I’ll be able to bring my music into my work in an interesting way. I haven’t decided if it means: something tactically like working music into creative briefs, or something broader like pushing sonic branding. The jury is still out on this one.
Joining such a massive industry can be overwhelming, how do you stay informed and ahead of the curve?
Typically, I don’t divulge my secrets, but here we go. Newsletters and some Gmail filter wizardry are my forte. In my Gmail, I have a couple filters set up, which I generally skim through a couple times a week and see what catches my eye.
• “Daily Reads” range from Marketing and Emerging Tech Brew to Big Spaceship’s Internet Brunch to Fast Company’s Compass to the Daily Stoic.
• “Newsletters” is aptly titled and it’s mostly Substack and culture reads like Sociology of Business, Lean Luxe, Why Is This Interesting, TheFutureParty and some music industry outlets.
• “Industry” is the Adweek, Adage, Digiday, et al stuff.
• “News”, I read The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Vox.
• Lastly, I’ve got a “Strategy” filter which collects from Mark Pollard/Sweathead, Julian Cole, Zoe Scaman’s Musings of a Wandering Mind, Rosie and Faris Yakob’s Strands of Genius, and assorted stats from Statista, eMarketer, and Pew Research Center.
What areas in the industry do you believe could use an overhaul?
Generally, I feel that we still have a ton of work to do, especially with getting the industry to reflect the people we are trying to engage with. Other than that, I believe we should start incorporating more of our five-senses into our work. Experiential activations aside, in the future our visual work will have to expand to include audio or even touch, taste, and smell.
Where do you hope this role will take you down the line?
Really, I’m just trying to enjoy it as much as possible. But I hope that every day, I will find myself evolving into a better thinker. I hope down the line, I’ll look back and think to myself, “Wow, the entire way that I approach problems and think about solutions has improved because of my time at Iris.”