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Tenthwave Thinks Closer to Clients

Helping brands become more creative on social
  • September 10 2012

When Tenthwave was created only 19 months ago, it had one mission in mind: to become an agency that matters. With a focus on digital and social, Tenthwave wanted to streamline the process that can hamper or delay ideas. Instead, it saw the need to give clients direct access to agency talent with less focus on "billable bodies" and more focus on actionable strategy.

“We want to move thinking closer to the clients,” says managing partner Drew Rayman. “If there are six people in a room, rest assured it is only because you need those six people, which means every seat is sacred."

Since then, working with a range of premier clients such as Facebook, eBay and Pepperidge Farm. Tenth­wave has seen that its strategy is succeeding. The company has experienced significant growth, with its staff expanding from 35 to more than 80.

Rayman sees Tenthwave focusing on three interrelated pillars: content, mobile and social. “We have to tell stories that are authentic, personal and sharable,” he says. “Marketing is no longer only about selling. It’s about establishing relationships.”

This is evidenced by the most recent high-profile project Tenthwave has developed—the “I’m Voting” app for Facebook and CNN. The app, which taps into Facebook’s Open Graph, lets users broadcast to their Facebook friends that they will be voting in the upcoming presidential election, and they can also share who they plan to vote for­—as well as their specific political leanings. The app itself aggregates the data and presents maps and graphs showing trends related to the election. Over the course of its election coverage, CNN intends to use this data as a second screen for news segments, offering poll questions to the Facebook user base.

“Politics stimulates conversation,” notes Rayman. “The purpose [of "I’m Voting"] is to let people voice their opinion, let Facebook and CNN track sentiment over time, and spread conversation. It does an excellent job amplifying opinion.”

“I’m Voting” is the third app Tenthwave has created for Facebook. Its first, “Stop Bullying: Speak Up,” was the centerpiece of a bullying prevention campaign done by Facebook and Time Warner. With integrated content from celebrities such as Selena Gomez, Enrique Iglesias, Kelly Rippa and Anderson Cooper, the app encouraged Facebook users to speak up against bullying. In its first two months, the app received more than 1 million likes and 100,000 pledges against bullying.

“Opinion and insights are the best drivers of what people do and want,” says Steve Caputo, Tenthwave’s other managing partner. “Good marketers can’t ignore that.”

Tenthwave, for example, worked with eBay on a fan recruitment campaign in late 2011. The e-commerce site had around 650,000 followers, but wanted to cross the million threshold. The campaign started with a sweepstakes to drive fan acquisition—a custom app located a fan's top 10 Facebook friends and matched them with “virtual” gifts based on their Facebook profiles, with a chance to win the real thing. Within a week, it twice broke eBay’s record for fans added in a single day, and during the 2011 holiday shopping season, eBay’s fan base grew faster than those of Amazon, Coca-Cola and Starbucks. Today, eBay has over 3.6 million likes.

With these new fans engaged, Tenthwave created the second phase of the program—a social commerce app. The shopping guide recommends eBay products based on a person’s Facebook social graph. So when a friend’s birthday shows up on someone’s Facebook page, gift suggestions are automatically available.

According to Rayman, Tenthwave’s approach works because its strategists take the time to become intimate with the client's brand, leading to unique insights that can disrupt, challenge and win for clients.

“We deliver more actionable strategy,” says Rayman. “That's not the kind of thing you can just pull off the shelf.”