Leading a modern digital agency requires a problem solver, creative thinker, compassionate futurist and a graphic designer. More importantly, due to the continuous progression of market conditions and evolving technologies, he or she must be fearless.
Dave Fletcher, CEO of The Mechanism is defining digital branding in a new way by maintaining an interest in and working with tactile relationships; understanding what it means to interact physically with something – whether it is a brand or an experience, and interjecting the potential of a human being actually enjoying the interaction. Under his leadership, The Mechanism strives to create affection for clients’ brands by injecting organic, fluid and meaningful interactions into the digitally-driven solutions that they are creating.
The Mechanist and The Mechanism
Since founding the digital design, branding and strategy firm The Mechanism, Dave functioned as its CEO and Design Executive Officer (DEO). The company started in New York City in August of 2001, a few weeks before their fine city (and the entire world) changed forever. While this wasn’t the most opportunistic time to start a technology-dependent company anywhere, the vibrancy and resilience of the city’s creative and tech industry (thanks in part to the technology-focused CEO/Mayor Michael Bloomberg) enabled a positive work atmosphere and opportunities for The Mechanism to grow and thrive in the years following 9/11. They have weathered technology and financial storms over the past 16 years, and seen plenty of trends come and go.
“Despite working in the field for more than twenty years, it still gives me a rush when we’ve collaboratively untangled a creative predicament for a client,” says Dave.
“The Mechanism” An Authentic NYC Digital Agency
Many digital agencies focus purely on technology and programmatic solutions, and less on developing human-focused, branded interactions. The Mechanism uses technology to develop authentic and affectionate interactions between human beings. They are the creative conduit between an audience who wishes to engage with a brand, individual or product – and the human beings that manage a company or a brand. Their internal mantra since they started has been to “generate the wave that others ride.”
The Mechanism has produced creative solutions for a variety of industries over the past 16 years, including micro-branding and digital training tools for “big pharma,” and large-scale responsive web-based applications for localized and global government programs/agencies and nonprofits. They believe that design is a thread in a larger tapestry of brand building, communications and interface development. Understanding that all brands must be transcribed into a digital experience is a primary reason their clients go to them for strategic execution of their visual identity into the digital space.
The Mechanism of the Mechanist
Every Leader faces more difficulties than the followers, and the success of a company depends on its Leader’s efficiencies with tackling the hurdles. Dave has some key values that helped him to successfully stay ahead of the obstacles.
Stay Ahead – In the beginning, Dave predicted the future opportunities of digital agencies by analyzing present technology and business trends. (The Mechanism worked with the digital extension of publishing online long before it was considered a necessity.) He chose a “digital” lifestyle early on, yet brought much of his prior experience of what it meant to be “analog” into the equation.
Perpetuate Loyalty – “I am of a generation that grew up observing my parents and grandparents work in the same company for an entire career,” shares Dave. By retaining these values, it’s better helped him understand and ultimately accept how these interpersonal corporate relationships have evolved in modern business.
Don’t Burn Bridges – Good companies and individuals never burn bridges and always engage each new client relationship and project like it might be their last. Dave mentions that: “I continue to engage socially with people at companies that have moved on years after their departure.” Continued connectivity is important, because you never know what the future might bring.
Believe in People – Dave refers to The Mechanism as “We.” This belief creates an environment where interdependence is embraced and expected by the team. He believes that, if one member of the team fails, they all fail. This approach not only endears you to your current team, but your team to each other. It’s important to rely on technology but believe in people.
Simple yet Unique Strategy
The strategy of The Mechanism has always been to remain manageable, hierarchically flat, nimble and client-focused, and as the CEO of the firm, it’s been important to Dave to surround himself with sharp and diversified talent. His colleagues are united by fearlessness and experience. They do more with intelligently agile and resourceful teams, and utilize online tools to manage both their own internal and client expectations. The Mechanism’s success and longevity enables them to work with virtually any client, corporation or individual. Experience, trust in the team, foresight and a little bit of luck is a winning strategy unto itself.
Understanding the psychology of the audience helps The Mechanism go to a higher tier, which is, “Let us look at what else is going on in your industry by examining trends and data, and let us look at all of those details that are a part of who you are as a brand or company,” says Dave.
A Future Based on Innovation
The Mechanism’s team is selected on the basis of acumen, longevity and belief that the future is brighter when people are able to connect with one another through technology. Dave is confident that The Mechanism will continue to function as an innovator and conduit for these types of technologies while maintaining a grasp on the humanity that is required for authentic relationships between people, their devices and brands, individuals or products.
The Mechanism were years ahead of their time when they coined “From Media to the Medium” as their initial tagline in 2001. The Mechanism is in a constant state of evolution and improvement – as any good company is. “We will remain visual design-focused and technology-mindful well into our foreseeable future. We can never forget that on the other side of our client’s device, there’s a human being – looking to be astonished and wishing to be connected to something bigger than themselves,” says Dave.