Smashing Spotlight: Guy Borgford, Director of Business Development
Wonder what makes Smashing Ideas so smashing? Our people! We sat down with Guy Borgford, Director of Business Development, to talk shop, how kindness, fearlessness, action, and honesty inspires him personally and professionally, and why business development is nothing like the used-car salesman stereotype many assume it is.
You’ve been at SI for 5 months now. What brought you here?
Seriously, I was excited to take my 20 years in digital to the next level and get involved with next-gen initiatives for Fortune 500 companies – things like the Internet-of-Things, connected devices, internal systems and training design, and true multi-screen executions that show tangible value and ROI for partners.
“Sales” or “Biz Dev” can get a bad wrap, in the used-car/salesman stereotype. We see things differently here…Business Development identifies areas within companies in need of digital transformation. Agree?
If one tries to sell someone something, they’re very likely to fail. At Smashing, we talk to companies to identify existing problems, issues, or areas in need of improvement, and then educate our potential partners on our Motivational UX™ Methodology, with the aim of benefitting their business and bottom line.
Solutions don’t appear from thin air…and the right user experience doesn’t materialize from a client brief. Doing digital right takes time, and our business development process takes time too. It isn’t about going after every production job that comes along…it’s about earning the trust of people and building long-term partnerships that deliver digital excellence.
What do you see as the biggest challenge enterprise businesses face today?
The biggest challenges are to be able to look at what a business is facing holistically and then in the context of mobile technology and end-user motivation. Take something like employee training and education, for example – it’s addressing business goals, intrinsic user motivations, and hot buttons that are needed to make that training compelling, effective, and valuable to both the enterprise and the individual – and then build in data and analytics to effectively install the means to report back on KPIs, broader business goals, and ultimately ROI.
Favorite piece of technology?
GPS. Greatest invention ever.
A company you’ve been wanting to work with for some time says “no thanks”. What do you do?
First I cry. Once that’s out of my system, I take a deep breath and approach it from the ask from another angle. With our methodology and the seismic shift in digital transformation that has occurred across human culture, there’s really no area of business that can’t benefit from a holistic digital strategy and world-class UX (user-experience). We’re not a marketing firm, we’re a user experience and digital transformation agency. Digital is everywhere, so with that, interactive user experience is no longer confined to the marketing department – it’s a baseline for business operations.
Dream client and why?
Elon Musk, a.k.a. Tesla. He is the epitome of a renaissance man and is fearless in his pursuit of epic change. Plus those rides are too badass for words.
Describe SI in 5 words or less…go!
Moving at digital speed.
What inspires you? Personally and professionally?
Personally: Kindness. Fearlessness. Action. Honesty.
Professionally: Kindness. Fearlessness. Action. Honesty.
Obviously some overlap here! I approach my business relationships in the same way I approach my personal ones. I’m driven by ‘doers’. Talk is cheap and action increasingly rare. Time is scarce. Words abundant. Like life itself, business is about doing things, not about talking about doing things…and do the right thing and do good things for other people. I’m a huge believer in karma.
We are building more and more projects that are tied to regulated industries. Does this pose a particular set of challenges? Does it change the rules, digitally speaking?
Without a doubt it’s more challenging in terms of navigating the nuances of the regulations and restrictions, however from a competitive perspective it works in our favor. With years of experience under our belt working within the constraints of COPA, for example, we have established critical systems and processes that mitigate human oversights, while understanding the stringent parameters of issues such as privacy, disclosure, and security that permeates regulated industries.
How do you zero in on the potential of a digital engagement in a traditionally-based business that has never had a digital arm?
It really demands we go outside the box. Everyone in business development here have pretty strong creative chops, and certainly creativity comes into play when addressing companies with ideas around digital transformation. It requires looking at organizations holistically, discovering pain points, and uncovering the reasons why they haven’t yet embraced digital.
One of the reasons I was so attracted to joining the Smashing team was our ability to apply our Motivational UX™ Methodology across any organization, looking at particularly glaring pain points, and then exploring possible solutions that have clear paths to ROI and measurable results.
Many people might not know that Smashing Ideas is a Bertelsmann company, and our direct parent company is Penguin Random House. How do these two global companies impact the way we do business?
For one thing, it’s a huge selling point. Being an autonomous digital agency with the financial and organizational backing of a media giant offers security and stability that independent firms don’t have. With most of our clients being the Fortune 100/500 crowd they demand the underwriting and infrastructure that ensures their partner is going to be around as long as they are. Add to this the global nature of the Bertelsmann media empire and it extends our business network to key areas in Europe and beyond.
Representing an agency of 60+ creative and technical geniuses is great, however dropping the Bertelsmann and Penguin Random House names lends credibility and relatability to the Smashing Ideas brand in the minds of those who may not be as familiar with our talented team and award-winning work.