Social Media Agency Feature: Waggener Edstrom Worldwide – An Independent Communications Agency

waggener edstrom worldwide

Who are we?

One of the largest independent communication agencies in the world, with a presence in over 80 international markets and an extensive local reach offering access to over 100 locations across India, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE) has developed award-winning communication programs for innovative and world-changing clients for nearly 30 years–all this while working to influence markets, inspire people and improve lives.

WE IND - Mumbai


WE specializes in the Consumer, Technology, Healthcare, Corporate, Social Innovation and Digital communications sectors. WE was recently named APAC Consumer Consultancy of the Year 2013 by The Holmes Report, and was named Mid-Size Network of the Year at the Campaign Asia-Pacific PR Awards in 2012 for the second year running, APAC Technology Consultancy of the Year by The Holmes Report, and in 2011 Best Digital Campaign of the Year by The Holmes Report’s Asia Pacific SABRE Awards.

What’s in the name?


Our agency was founded by Melissa Waggener and Pam Edstrom, which gave rise to the name Waggener Edstrom.

What do we do?

The voice of innovation and the catalyst of its impact – in a nutshell, that’s who WE are!

Every innovation starts with a big idea, but it’s how you tell the story that makes an impact, and that’s where we come in. From planning through implementation, we use earned, paid, and owned mediums to help our clients make a positive impact and achieve their business goals. And as one of the world’s largest independent communications agencies, we serve clients, not shareholders. As a  partner to and champion of international market leaders since 1983, we are the stewards of bold ideas and the brave people that bring them to life.

How do we evolve?

As the divides between earn, owned, and paid communications platforms are increasingly merging, our profession has evolved to be platform-agnostic story-tellers. This also means that we have to invest in embracing new skill sets and expand teams in niche specializations.

We are increasingly collaborating with technology specialists to create or leverage tools that can help in the crafting, execution, and measurement of communications strategies linked to tangible business outcomes.

Social responsibility in social media

We live in a time of unprecedented economic and societal change. From environmental sustainability and natural resources to global health, economic development and education, these critical issues have widespread global implications and local repercussions. Navigating this dynamic environment requires new technology, products, improved business models, and new policy solutions.

These approaches must be driven by businesses, governments, nonprofits, and the citizens, all in collaboration. Social media and enabling technologies can play a significant role in driving the collaboration and impact.

Considering the current emphasis on social media marketing and the rising demand for socially and environmentally conscious goods and services, there is relatively little discussion about where those trends intersect. From employee volunteerism and corporate philanthropy to shared value and sustainability programs, many companies’ offline on-the-ground corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities are their most compelling stories driving forth participation. They just need to follow a few basic rules of the road: be proactive, be transparent and be authentic.

Need of the hour

Social media became a compelling platform for brands because it enables the organisation to put the customer at the centre. It was the dawn of the brand “You”. However, the platform is often used as a virtual megaphone for brands to talk “buy me” messages. Likewise, there are times when customers have used the platform as an agenda marketing tool and have threatened to damage the organisation’s reputation.

Somewhere, the whole aspect of social collaboration and shared purpose has got lost. It is important for social media practitioners like us to create brand communities with mutually meaningful interactions.

We learned the hard way

Keeping it simple and addressing the intent with which people are on a platform is the key to driving engagement on everything social. We learnt that very early in our evolution as a consultancy firm that drives audience influence across platforms.

Did we just share that?

We have had our share of near misses with what may have been damaging for a client. However, so far due to the fairly rigorous guidelines and processes we abide by, there have been no difficult situations on social platforms. Having said that, just given the growing number of examples of bloopers worldwide – one can never be too particular and alert to ensure that this continues to be the status quo. Given its real time nature, the element of human error and misjudgment would always remain a concern for anyone with ownership for online reputation management campaigns.

The Industry as we foresee

Content first – people who can craft compelling transmedia stories will be the most valued assets. Teams will increasingly become hybrid to bring in diverse skill sets, including people from technology domains rather than communications expertise, to collaborating across the development and execution of campaigns.

A day without Internet

Will result in crisis and chaos.