Aceik hires Brad Paton as Account Director

Exceeding our clients’ expectations has always been and continues to be Aceik’s #1 priority. With the current difficult climate, we are doubling our efforts to look after our clients. To this end, we’re excited to announce that our team has grown again with the addition of Account Director, Brad Paton. Welcome Brad!

Brad’s expertise in digital strategy development and execution as well as his understanding of the Sitecore platform will go a long way to helping our clients to achieve their business goals. We’re also thrilled to share that with Brad now on-board, we’ll be offering Aceik’s Sitecore Business Optimisation Services (Aceik SBOS) to our marketing clients.

We sat down with Brad to get to know him a little better. Here’s what he revealed about himself.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Brad: My career has been an interesting one when it comes to digital software development in that I actually studied law many, many years ago. It was the late 90’s, the internet was taking off and I found myself interested in computers and technology. I taught myself to code– first Microsoft BASIC, then Visual Basic, and when the internet gained traction learned HTML, and eventually JavaScript.

I was a big Essendon Bombers Football fan. I actually sent them a letter and said, “I think this internet thing is going to be pretty big do you want to get involved?” and I helped them create the first official Essendon website.

But then I finished my Arts/Law degree and worked as a lawyer for a few years before deciding that law wasn’t for me. I really liked building websites. So, I returned to the Essendon guys and kept working with them, and then also after that build up my own small web design business in the 2000s.

Following the sale of my business to IMG, I landed at Reactive, a digital agency with a Sitecore arm that was eventually sold to Accenture. I spent 4 years working for Reactive and another 2 years at Accenture.

It happened that Richmond Football Club was looking for a Head of Digital so I made the leap from one football team to another. I didn’t think I could change teams from Essendon to Richmond but turns out you can. And so, I’ve spent the last four years as Head of Digital at Richmond, in which time the digital part of the business has grown enormously. We doubled headcount from six to 12 in those four years and won two premierships.

I was introduced to Jason Horne, our Managing Director, by Reactive’s former co-founder. Jason was looking for someone to manage digital strategy, business development and client relationship management. That ticked all of the boxes of what I was looking for in my next role. I started last Friday, met Jason at the office, had a client meeting, collected my computer and have been working remotely ever since.

You’ve been working in digital for about 20 years now. What do you love about digital?

Brad: The thing that kept me in it for so long is that it just changes all the time. So, in my time with Essendon FC back in the 2000s, it went from being a static website to a content managed website. Then we added video and we were the first AFL club to do that. Then social media came along, and then the iPhone was released in 2007. With mobile being important, we built an app.

Digital is just constantly evolving, and you never know what’s going to pop up on the horizon that needs to be addressed. I like the changing nature of the industry.

Any predictions on what’s coming in the next 12 months or so?

Brad: I’m huge on voice. I’ve got a three-year-old daughter and if she ever uses a keyboard, I’ll be surprised. We’ve got a Google Home at home and she can control that already. But voice taking over inputs from keyboards, visual pointing and interactions so whether that’s just by hand gestures or mouse or whatever.

But then of course, the next big leap is going to be augmented reality and virtual reality and how that impacts life. It has promised a lot for a long time and it hasn’t delivered, but the technology now is a lot better and cheaper. They’re starting to scale and I think for the next five to 10 years VR is going to really start to take off and who knows what that means for society.

We’re pretty much in lockdown for the coronavirus at the moment. It doesn’t matter if it’s virtual or physical anymore. If you’re in the same room physically together, you can be there virtually just as easily, and people are doing that at the moment. They’re having a Google Hangout or Skype, if they’re in self-isolation to try and maintain that human contact. And as the technology progresses, then virtual reality is that next logical step.

Why did you choose to join Aceik then?

Brad: Just from the position description I was interested, but when I met Jason, I got a really good sense of his vision and purpose for Aceik. He wants to grow the business in a sustainable way to retain quality. And that’s pretty rare in a lot of businesses because they just want to scale quickly. And what happens then is you might do some good work early, you get a lot more business, you hire a lot of people, not necessarily the most qualified people, and then you turn out work that’s not as good and your reputation goes down. So, I like Jason’s philosophy.

And I guess the other thing is that I like the idea of getting involved in a business that is more technically focused and keeping up to date with the latest trends in that area.

And funnily enough, I learned only after I’d met with Jason that Lila Tournier, who I worked well with at Reactive for about three or four years is currently at Aceik. So, once I knew she was there that was kind of like almost the last check in the box to say, “Yes, obviously this is an organisation worth working for.”

What are your goals over the next couple of months?

Brad: The first thing is really to identify the opportunities, especially in this climate that we want to prioritise. I want to help in terms of growing those relationships with existing clients to ensure that when new opportunities come up we’re first on the list to be looked at. And then second to that is looking at what new opportunities exist with potential organisations that haven’t been clients.

Another the big opportunity is around digital strategy. So, rather than just delivering excellent  technical work, which Aceik has an amazing reputation for, we can actually go in before that technical phase, and do a digital strategy piece of work with the client. This would involve workshops, customer journey mapping and coming up with recommendations on how to use the Sitecore platform to the best of its ability. We all know Sitecore, at its core can just be a content management system for a website, but if you want to get to the top you need to use the marketing features and the marketing features are where the ROI is.

We’re already looking at how we put together multiple options for clients to engage us in a digital strategy piece of work, with the outcome being a roadmap the best way to implement Sitecore.

Was there anything else you wanted to add?

I’ve seen a lot of change in the industry over the last two decades. I remember having my first modem and I had to tell my parents they couldn’t use the phone for two hours because I needed to get onto the internet and learn how to code. Whereas now, I look at my Apple watch on my wrist and it can tell me almost anything that I need to know.

And with that experience, I’ve learnt that times change very quickly. Don’t plan on putting something together today for an activity in 12 months because it’s unlikely to be the same then. It’s crucial to be adaptable.