Aaron Cole is Chief Marketing Officer of THE OUT powered by Jaguar Land Rover. Before THE OUT, he held senior roles at ad agencies including Fallon, Mother, and Wieden+Kennedy, and was a founding partner at multidisciplinary PR/Content agency Common Industry.
Who is your digital hero?
Jon Kallus, founder of Fate v Future, a London marketing services company, and the author of the essential daily newsletter (and recently podcast) of the same name; covering all things culture, business, and crypto/web3 “10x-ing your knowledge with a five-minute daily read”.
I met Jon at Wieden+Kennedy and instantly we not only became friends but kindred spirits, with a shared desire to create and craft customer-centric solutions that lived in and beyond the media plan. Jon’s background as a creative director across a highly impressive roster of agencies (Grey, BBH, Goodby, BETC) belies the fact he is also a world-class strategist and client services operator. Triple threat!
What has he done to win hero status in your eyes?
Work isn’t just about the work, it’s also how we work.
Jon is naturally collaborative, kind and happens to be super smart. Not only has Jon made exceptional work, won awards and founded his own company, he still finds time to help others, mentor, listen, and inspire.
How has his heroism helped drive digital?
Plenty of Jon’s work has been seen across the world and channels, but his latest role as founder and author of Fate v Future —arguably the only daily newsletter you will ever need— puts him right at the centre of all things digital and future-facing.
But, crucially, his heroism has helped drive digital because of his focus on real business and cultural impact. Never just making something because it’s cool or new, Jon is always concerned with the triple bottom line – People, Planet, Profit – and how his work can positively affect each one.
What are the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?
Myself and Jon came together to answer this one.
One interesting paradox that we’ve both spent a lot of time thinking about is the fact that it’s never been easier to start a company, which means —by definition— that it’s never been harder to stand out.
Compounding that is the simple fact that marketing is completely overwhelming today. Just look at what’s on a founder’s marketing plate these days: Social media marketing. (Not to be confused with Influencer marketing.) Demand-gen. Brand marketing. Growth hacking. Content marketing. Personal branding. Product-led growth…
And everyone feels this pain. Jon recently spoke to an early-stage founder who is bootstrapping his side hustle and is ready to start investing to acquire new customers.
Now, despite how easy Google, Facebook and Instagram make it to open a business account and start buying ads, this is actually an extraordinarily daunting task for most. We are all on the receiving end of online advertising, but if it ever comes time to create it ourselves, there are just so many options —and competing sources of advice — that it becomes paralysing.
Jon and I share a similar philosophy in the face of those headwinds. Our advice, is always to take a step back, and look at things in human terms: who are you speaking to, and what are you saying? If that’s not solid, the ads won’t be either.
What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?
Not sure this is heroic. But it has certainly been very gratifying to build THE OUT – car rental re-imagined.
Forget queues, added expenses, or trips before the trip. Think first-class cars and door-to-door service powered by Jaguar Land Rover. You book. THE OUT delivers and collects. No queues. No check-in-counters. And everything is included in one price.
This is what car rental should feel like – from the ground up and see it flourish with fast growth, trusted by thousands of customers and followed by many more fans. Making something actually truly useful and liked by people.