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R2 Media Is, First And Foremost, A Team... But It's Also A System.

I brought the Account Team at R2 Media together last month in beautiful, Southern California and our time together was incredible. Incredible! It was a magnificent day, weather-wise, and the venue was top flight. While there were so many positives to the day (and no real negatives), I came away from the event remembering that R2 Media is a 'system' and system thinking has factored heavily into R2 Media's success.

In 2010, when I launched the company, I was looking to create a full service agency that offered its clients an end-to-end advertising solution. At the onset, our offering was deeply rooted in traditional media. As digital media became more and more prevalent, our offering morphed into a multi-media ad opportunity that was grounded in big data. What a journey it has been.

When I began building the company -- and its product offerings -- I followed a simple track. First, I started where the client was... what does the client need and what does the client want? By starting where the client was, I created an attachment between the client and R2 Media. The result was a relationship that was strong and dynamic. A relationship that could evolve over time, a relationship that would grow.

I then focused on innovation. How could the company innovate from a technology and operational perspective, and how could we innovate continuously? I didn't believe we could innovate alone. How could we? We were a small startup.

I believed that we would need to leverage outside sources to innovate -- and that meant partnering with companies, or people, known to be experts in their respective fields. I set out to find experts whose values aligned with mine, who possess vitality and imagination. I established conditions for trust and creativity with my partners, enhancing their leadership and innovation skills.

Optimization was next on my to do list. Optimization became central to everything we did at R2 Media. We actually had two optimization processes that we followed from the very beginning. We had a tactical process and a strategic process. You can probably guess how they worked. Our tactical process was a simple test, optimize and repeat process, and our strategic process was an equally simple test, optimize and grow process.

Core to our optimization initiatives was an eagerness to experiment. We never came across a campaign variable that wasn't worth testing, wasn't worth an experiment. We always look for successful outcomes in our tests and for that reason we always factor in our depth of insight and take precautions. After all, tests are inherently risky.

Finally, R2 Media is all about throwing a lot of things against the wall (yes, to see what sticks), always keeping an optimistic bias and always, always, always, capturing the moment. These are the things that make us, and our product offering, valuable to our clients.

Many people think of a system as a tool, but it is also a method.

Systems (and system thinkers) move from observing events or data, to identifying patterns of behavior, to surfacing the underlying structures that drive those events and patterns. By understanding and changing structures that are not serving us well, we can expand the choices available to us and create more satisfying, long-term solutions to problems and opportunities.

A systems thinking perspective requires curiosity, clarity, compassion, choice, and courage.

As we enter the age of AI, we at R2 Media pledge to embrace it. AI will not replace our cognitive abilities, it will enhance them. The synergy between system thinking and AI excites me. It will lead us to smarter, more efficient solutions that will strengthen our partnerships and grow our business.

I never set out to hire "team thinkers" who works well in systems... I always set out to hire "system thinkers" who work well in teams.


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