BOCA Communications Agency Spotlight

Kathleen Shanahan

Target Marketing spoke with Kathleen Shanahan, Founder and CEO of BOCA Communications, a San Francisco-based agency that blends digital and social media campaigns with traditional public relations programs.

What makes you famous?
BOCA is authentic. We’re passionate about what we do, relentless about getting results and savvy about exceeding our goals.

What are the most important trends you see in interactive advertising today?
Data analytics and campaign measurement are significant trends impacting integrated advertising and integrated marketing. CMOs are gaining significant IT budget increases and thinking like data analysts and data scientists more today than ever before. What is interesting, though, is that a lot is lost when one looks only at the numbers.

At BOCA, we think that quantifying success is more than just numbers and ROI based on data analytics. Effective communication is really about being able to change public sentiment by influencing attitudes and behaviors with strong, persuasive, emotional and authentic stories.

Zero Knowledge Privacy Standard campaign

What’s been your biggest hit of the past year?
A campaign we developed in 2010 continues to run through today in 2015. In 2010, BOCA worked with SpiderOak to create the “Zero Knowledge Privacy Standard” campaign. By consistent evangelism of a clearly defined message about the need for “private verse” secure cloud networks, we successfully influenced and ultimately drove the conversation about the importance of privacy.

The campaign was so impactful that it made an indelible impression on one of the foremost privacy advocates in the world, Edward Snowden. In his first interview with The Guardian in May 2014, he cited SpiderOak’s concept as the de facto privacy approach companies must take. The reference to our Zero-Knowledge Privacy campaign has spurred ongoing interest in SpiderOak. Since Snowden’s interview aired in July 2014, SpiderOak has continued to see a spike in its website traffic and a steady stream of new prospects. SpiderOak executives are consistently asked to comment on privacy issues and are regularly quoted in privacy and security articles.

What’s your most important takeaway for marketers?
We’re focused on creating a culture based around five key values: being authentic, treating each other like family, maintaining a flexible work-life balance, always feeling passionate about our work and being savvy about everything we do and how we do it. These values are vital to sustaining our longevity as an agency and to ensuring our clients enjoy the same level of care and attention we show each other.


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Heather Fletcher is a freelance reporter for Adweek. She covers performance and direct marketing.
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