The best ideas are often born from an organic process, says Peter Corbett 03BBA. And that’s exactly what happened with the digital marketing agency he founded in 2007, the Washington, DC–based iStrategyLabs. But the company also draws on Corbett’s early background and interests: he was happily programming by age nine and then followed his passion for promoting concerts as an undergrad at Emory while learning how to be a designer in his spare time.
Post-graduation, Corbett worked as a TV producer, marketing gexec, and interactive strategist. His subsequent layoff from an ad agency created the opportunity to consider a more entrepreneurial route, and today his growing venture is spearheading campaigns for heavyweights such as Disney, Microsoft, Deloitte, and Walmart, as well as for several other Fortune 100 companies. Now in its sixth year, iStrategyLabs recently launched an alpha version of its data visualization app allowing companies to understand real-time analytics for everything from worker productivity to company morale. “The perfect utilization of your talent pool is an important problem to solve,” notes Corbett. The company’s next step is to help businesses create Internet connected household devices and appliances that use social media to tap into personal preferences. At the 2012 SXSW (South by Southwest Conference & Festivals), iStrategyLabs premiered a beta of the GE Social Fridge, an actual refrigerator that opened after festival goers connected to it via social media.
As technology is changing at light speed, so too are the demands to stay ahead of the competition and to “keep your company agile,” admits Corbett. “You can’t be separated from the pulse of the market. You need enough surface area to let new ideas, approaches, and people filter in and out of the organization.” That means avoiding silos and allowing designers, developers, and strategists to work in tandem. It also means applying to his own business the same deep market research that iStrategyLabs performs for clients. “You not only have to understand the competition; you also need to understand companies in tangential businesses and how it all relates to what you do.”
– Myra Thomas