We talked to Paolo Santosuosso of socialrise on how the award winning strategic creative digital agency at the cutting edge of trends, technology and contemporary aesthetics.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Paolo Santosuosso: Luckily, we’re all safe and sound. Our Account Manager got Covid but without major symptoms. I spent the whole quarantine in Milan, and here the situation was very tough, thousands of deaths, and the economy is struggling very much. It’s quite sad to see Milan empty, with no exhibitions, crowd, Fashion Week, Design week.
We really miss traveling and gathering together for a warm and nice dinner. I hope this nightmare will end soon for everyone.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded socialrise.
Paolo Santosuosso: I founded socialrise in 2014. I was in Berlin at the time when social media and digital communication were taking over the traditional communication system, Instagram was booming, and fashion companies started to find a solution to change the way they communicate with their audience. I worked in the industry for more than 10 years, and I felt something had to be changed. I decided to create a company that was half digital and half creative, a company that could resonate with designers, understanding the codes of luxury markets, but at the same time dealing with IT managers and Social Media Managers in order to translate the language of the Brands in a more advanced, edgy, and digital way. And we made it since then the company is growing every year, and even with this pandemic, we’re closing 2020 with an increase in turnover.
How does socialrise innovate?
Paolo Santosuosso: Our motto is: go beyond expectations. This is our mantra every day, and this is the vision of the company. We never settle for easy and achievable goals. We never compromise with quality, always challenge the clients with innovative ideas, and we spend most of our time, making research on new cultural trends and tech innovations in order to stay always on edge. People are also crucial when you create a bench for future talents, and you put players in a room; ideas come easily.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Paolo Santosuosso: In March/April, I was honestly very depressed. Clients didn’t know how to deal with this crisis, and the first move was to cut drastically the communication budgets. I was sure we could not survive this pandemic for some time, and I was prepared for the worst scenario. Then, after the first shock, clients realized that digital was the answer to the fact that physical stores were closed, and they understood that people were still willing to shop online. Digital innovation, or let’s say, digital transformation was the answer, and they started looking for Agencies who invested in innovation. From that time on, we’ve been contacted by several companies in need of innovation, and thanks to the constant research and development we did every day of our life, we could widely meet their expectations, we were prepared, and somehow I think the pandemic helped a radical transformation of the industry.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Paolo Santosuosso: Luckily not, we didn’t fire anyone, we didn’t close a day, we never stopped working. We’ve been very lucky. The lesson is: when you spend all day of your life focusing on future forecasting and innovation, you’ll always meet your goals.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Paolo Santosuosso: I do a lot of meditation, I listen to quality ambient music when I can, I love walking in the woods, and of course, good Italian wine and a bit of CBD oil 😉
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Paolo Santosuosso: There are many people out there doing amazing things. It’s almost overwhelming sometimes. You start looking on Instagram, and you discover brilliant people every day, and somehow you could feel the competition. It’s too strong to compete and to always stay in the game. The answer is: focus on your message, focus on your branding, focus on your vision, and most of all, focus on building strong relationships, and never compromise with quality. There’s room for everyone out there if you know how to take it and have a clear target.
Your final thoughts?
Paolo Santosuosso: Always face adversity without giving up; life is a constant up and down. We passed through so many crises. There’s always a way to innovate, especially at this time. Next spring will be a renaissance, and people will be willing to invest and enjoy life after a year of struggling, so get prepared for a post-war scenario of opportunities. And never forget to feed yourself with beauty, stay in touch with nature, and exit your comfort zone. Life is more than just working!