'Digital should be about customer experience and solving problems': Beyond the Brief with Jonathan Farjo, Innocean USA

Jonathan Farjo, Innocean USA

To celebrate its 100th Anniversary, the 4A’s has partnered with us at The Drum to pull back the curtain and look at an industry full of problem solvers, creative types and analytical minds. But what keeps them going once the briefs are written, the campaigns executed, and the pitches won (or lost)? The Drum is now interviewing 100 people at 4A’s member agencies — across all disciplines, levels, regions, and agency types — to get a glimpse into what drives them at work and what fuels them in life.

Jonathan Farjo is the vice president of user experience at Innocean USA, which has done work for Hyundai, among others. Farjo oversees customer, user, and service experience activities for the Huntington Beach-based agency’s clients. For the last two years, he has created and headed the experience department, comprised of customer experience architects, information architects, experience designers, and product managers.

His passion for his agency work, coupled with his love of user experience and innovation, shows that he is living beyond the brief.

If you started an agency from scratch today, what would it look like?

I would align my entire agency around enhancing a customer journey. I'd align proposed customer processes with creative and marketing solutions, related content, technologies and KPIs. As solutions roll into market, I'd make sure the entire agency is looking at where things are working well and where they could be improved.

If you were a client for a day, what would you tell your agency?

I'd like to see how you're going to structure your agency for both day-to-day and long-term customer-focused solutions and how you'll show me that they're performing.

How do you explain to your parents or children what you do for a living?

Put simply, I work with big brands to solve problems for their customers. By title, I work in User Experience which really means I try my best to understand what customers go through and how I can help to reduce friction, introduce new tools to help them and to overall, improve their experience with the brands I work with.

How do you practice self-care?

I wake up nearly every morning at 6am and go for a 4-5 mile run, then eat a balanced breakfast.

What’s something you’ve learned, either personally or professionally, that has surprised you lately?

That people still focus on using the ridiculously broad term "digital" and structuring teams at their agencies around it. "Digital" should be about customer experience and solving problems, not a medium.

What non-advertising things do you draw inspiration from?

Snowboarding. You need to put your nerves aside and be ready to pivot in another direction in an instant.

To pitch someone from a 4A's member agency for Beyond the Brief, please complete this linked form.

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Haley Velasco

Haley Velasco is a writer based in Chicago, IL, who has a background in PR for a sports media company and has reported on a variety of topics, including sports, opinion, politics and celebrity news. Based in the Windy City, she covers industry happenings in the Midwest and throughout North America. She has been reporting for The Drum since May 2016.

All by Haley