Dennis Wakabayashi, Chief Collaboration Officer of Wakabayashi Experience, talks to The Ortus Club’s Roman Manuel about the role of a global marketing influencer as well as the importance of collaboration, diversity, and passion within an organisation.
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Can you give us a one-sentence summary of your company?
We’re a team of 60 experts focused on business transformation, and we start on the topic of customer experience, and we help leaders learn about journey mapping and figure out how to do integrated planning, and then we support them on the back-end to deliver.
Can you describe the of role a Global Marketing Influencer in one word? Why?
Collaborator. Because influence is a broad term, I think we’re more collaborators of the community. We strive to bring the stories and the voices of the community to the public, so we’re really all about tapping into what’s great about other people and taking that forward.
What current challenges are Global Marketing Influencers facing right now? Can you identify a solution?
The largest challenge, I think today, is staying relevant in a global content marketplace. The pandemic brought around a lot of new voices, all valid voices, so I think what we strive to do, in terms of maybe the challenge and opportunity, is find partnerships or relationships that can amplify the messages that we find relevant for the community, and so that’s what we focus on. I think the biggest solution that I found is to team up with people like yourselves and share knowledge, so thanks for having me.
How do you explain the success you’ve had in your career?
That’s easy. It’s teamwork. We’re called Team Wakabayashi. I didn’t choose the Team Wakabayashi part of it. It was just something that came together because we all have this like-mindedness, this good energy, and good vibes, and we bring that in everything we do, and I think I just get the benefit of sort of being the spokesperson for everyone.
Can you tell us about a time you took a major risk in your career?
Starting Team Wakabayashi. It sounds kind of trite, but it has been the biggest risk in my career, and the reason is our model is built on an observation of the marketplace, a world in which we have hybrid workers, a global workforce.
So, we price ourselves at a global level, so where we find our counterparts in the US, as an example, maybe charging 200 or 250 dollars per hour. We’re still around 50 dollars an hour because we have great minds from all kinds of different economies, and so we keep our prices fair to everyone on the team.
I think that was a huge risk because so many people said, ‘Dennis, you could charge so much more.’ If we’re being honest, great minds, great voices, doing good work, it doesn’t have to be all about the money, so I guess the big risk is doing this for more than money.
What marketing/business trends are you taking advantage of right now?
First of all, the number one trend in marketing and in the ecosystem in terms of profitability is a shift to eCommerce, so, of course, we’re looking at eCommerce trends and what’s happening around the world. The other trend that is really important to pay attention to is this global marketplace. We see offshore BPOs, a lot of different models now taking advantage of brilliant minds from everywhere in the world and bringing them together.
So, I think the trend is not to let your smartest people come from a particular geography and not to have that bias but to take advantage of the communication tools that are available to tap into rich human resources around the world and bring those into a business opportunity for everyone involved.
“I think the trend is not to let your smartest people come from a particular geography and not to have that bias but to take advantage of the communication tools that are available to tap into rich human resources around the world and bring those into a business opportunity for everyone involved.”
What career advice would you like to share with Global Marketing Influencers?
I would say that consistency is key. Having an original voice and the irony of that, I would quote another person, speaking about originality, but there was a famous rapper in the United States named Deltron 3030, and he said, ‘Copycats finish last in the human race,’ and I think that’s true.