In case you haven’t noticed, everything is different now.

The list of digital tools and platforms that have reshaped our lives and industries is too long to recite here.

What’s really important is how we adapt. How we make meaningful use of today’s tools and talent to make a meaningful impact on a client’s business.

In other words, how we …

Solve for X.

Weber Shandwick is embracing that future through a dynamic team powered by our deep knowledge of the tech industry and proven skill at using technology to get results.

To help explain what it all means, for us and our clients, we had a chat with Executive Vice President Wayne Hickey. According to Wayne, virtually every company is impacted by technology, and many have a tech story to tell. The idea around solving for X is not only to help get the story out, but also to give it the best possible ending — i.e., solid ROI.

WS SEA: Where did the idea of Solve for X come from?

WH: It really came from our clients and the challenges they’re facing. We saw some of the same business challenges around technology affecting a broader range of companies — from healthcare to retail to automotive. For example, a company in the food industry asking us to help them understand what blockchain could mean for them. Or a tech client asking for help on a performance analytics model that ties together comms and marketing. These are all business challenges that we had the knowledge and skill to help address — but only if we gathered various sources of strength together.

So, internally, the Solve for X approach came out of combining our knowledge of the technology sector, our expertise in digital strategy, our focus on data-driven insights, and the capabilities generated by our media R&D teams.

WS SEA: What’s the key to activating this kind of work?

WH: In a word, it’s integration. It’s easy for agencies to talk about models or innovations, but the trick is how you apply it. So much of this is in the data and analytics. They shed light on trends, on customer journeys, and on the changing dynamics of newsrooms. Once you make the observations and recommendations, our clients need an agency that can also act on it. And then process and learn from the results. If you don’t have a collaborative construct within an agency, it won’t work.

WS SEA: How are we able to pull this off?

WH: It’s an adaptable model. Every client is in a different place in their comms and marketing evolution. So we look at each “solve” as a bespoke assignment. We have the right DNA in place: tech insights, digital innovation, and analytics. And we anchor from having a story at the core, driven by data, with business outcomes in mind. From there we can build or change the team as new challenges arise.

WS SEA: The formalized approach is fairly new, but you’ve already put it into action in a number of cases. What’s it been like?

WH: Honestly, it’s incredibly fun and exciting. I’m a tech guy who gets to counsel companies in a range of industries, from gaming and consumer electronics to retail and industrial manufacturing. I help them understand trends and see around corners. The whole point of solving for X is that technology is the common denominator in an array of different landscapes. And in places where I’m not the expert, it’s great to find and bring in the people within our agency who are. It’s increasingly from places outside of the traditional “tech” practice, which goes back to my point about collaboration. When you’re doing that — when you bring something (or someone) to the table that you never thought you would, or never had the opportunity before — it feels great.


For an example of how we solve for X, view this case study from Honeywell. Among other things, it proves that B2B can be every bit as innovative and buzz-worthy as consumer marketing.

You can read more about the X Practice (including more cases) here.

Questions? Excitement? Let us know at xbusiness@webershandwick.com.

Photo by Daniel Chen on Unsplash.

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