Tech Profile: Central Desktop's SocialBridge for Agencies

Jami Oetting
Jami Oetting



central-desktop-featuredWhat is Central Desktop, and how did you and your team get started in this field?

Central Desktop is a cloud-based platform provider that developed SocialBridge for Agencies— the very first online collaboration platform built specifically to help agencies, brands and marketers work together in ways never imagined possible. While the company has been around since 2005, we began to notice a couple of years ago that the creative agency world was really changing quickly due to the growth of digital assets. Because of that, we turned the focus of our business to building the best, most targeted way for creative agencies to connect people and information in their daily workflow. Now we’re helping more than half a million users share files, combine knowledge, inspire ideas, manage projects and more through collaborating in the cloud.

moodboard Central Desktop also announced last week the rollout of Moodboards, the first private digital idea board created specifically for creative agencies to store, view and collaborate on images for inspiration. Now that we've taken the concept digital and improved it — letting people within your designated workspace share images and ideas from different locations with one login — sharing creative inspiration is easier than ever before. Most importantly, since the tool is within the SocialBridge platform, Moodboards are completely private and secure to maintain a unified creative direction while also keeping ideas out of the public eye.

How should the marketing/advertising industry utilize SocialBridge to collaborate on projects and create better end-results for its clients?

We all know that collaboration is key for a well-tuned agency, both internally for projects and externally with clients, but it surprises me how many agencies aren’t aware of new tools that actually allow people to collaborate in a productive, efficient, time-saving manner. What we’ve done with SocialBridge for Agencies is pull together all of the important pieces of campaign workflow, including communicating with clients through SocialBridge extranets, capturing the information into a shared workspace for audit tracking, managing project timelines, having discussions about documents and files, exchanging feedback with our Review+Approve feature and put that all into a secure, centralized place with one login. It’s about allowing creatives to work together and increase ROI on campaigns.

What trends and changes in the market led you to realize that SocialBridge would fill a void?

As I touched on before, digital assets and large, rich media files are really changing the marketing/advertising industry. Not to mention the fact that we live in such an instant-gratification society that the old ways of doing things, like mailing a DVD or hard drive to a client for approval, took way too long — even if it was sent overnight. With the cloud-based nature of SocialBridge, agencies are able to do so much more in real-time, which makes the process more effective, pleasant and drives a more positive experience for clients. In fact, we’re now seeing clients demanding that agencies have some sort of collaborative platform, and they are potentially losing business if they don’t. We conducted a survey that you can find on our website that shows some astounding results surrounding this very topic.

What are the features of SocialBridge that make it ideal for agencies? What sets it apart from other cloud collaboration services?

central-desktopThere are a lot of cloud solutions out there, but none are as comprehensive or built specifically to meet the needs of advertisers and marketers and make their lives easier. A lot of agencies that I meet with are using a handful of different solutions for different things (i.e. Box or FTP for file transfers, WebEx for web meetings, etc.), and it gets very frustrating not just for IT departments, but also for individual users who have to juggle different logins and campaign files that are all over the place. What we’ve done puts all the tools that are important to agencies in one place, with one login, in a secure cloud environment. That includes everything from daily campaign tools like review/approve document features and file sharing to back-end administrative tools like time tracking for projects and calendar integration. We’re proud of our ever-growing feature set, yet the feature we care most about is intangible. It’s the degree to which working at an agency gets better and easier — creative approval cycles quicken, vendor coordination is simplified and so on.

How can bringing the client “into the cloud” help agencies demonstrate value and create better work?

As previously mentioned, we recently did a survey with more than 500 advertisers and marketers, and some of the stats were shocking, including one that revealed 40 percent of agencies lost new or existing business because they didn’t have the appropriate collaboration tools that the client was demanding. So I’m not sure at this point if we are bringing the client into the cloud or visa versa, but what this does show is that it is a necessity for businesses. With SocialBridge for Agencies, we’ve determined what the biggest challenges are for agencies and brands to collaborate in a more fluid manner to ultimately decrease the time a single campaign takes from inception to deployment, and that makes all parties happy.

What are some of the biggest challenges agencies face when collaborating internally or with clients?

With the “old way” of collaborating — walking files down the hall for approval, using email, etc. — there are a slew of challenges including inefficiency, errors and oversight, communication confusion, firewall issues and more. With SocialBridge for Agencies, we’ve really focused on building a solution that solves all of these problems for agencies to do their jobs more efficiently, effectively and really in ways they never thought possible before.

How do you see agency collaboration evolving in the next three to five years? Do you think we’ll see fewer brick-and-mortar agencies and more “virtual” agencies?

It’s changed so much in just the past couple of years, only time will tell. But I can confidently say that the “cloud” will be the way to go. With files becoming larger and more complex and digital assets driving many agencies, (digital ad spend is set to replace TV spend in just four years), more IT organizations are moving outside the firewall and into the cloud. It’s only a matter of time before everyone’s doing it.

Isaac Garcia headshotIsaac Garcia is the co-founder and CEO of Central Desktop, provider of SocialBridge for Agencies, the leading cloud-based collaboration platform for marketers and brands. Isaac has a proven record in both early-stage technology companies and enterprise sales/marketing. As a founding partner at Upgradebase, Isaac served as VP of sales and marketing, overseeing business development and sales. During his three-year tenure at CNET, Isaac was responsible for sales, execution and management of global partnerships with Microsoft, Google, eBay, Yahoo and Best Buy. Isaac led and managed CNET's global partnership with Microsoft to launch Windows Marketplace in 14 countries, Microsoft's largest sales/marketing campaign at the time. Isaac received a BA in English from Ambassador University and attended the University of Northern Colorado Graduate School where he studied English Literature for a Master of Arts.

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