Don Scales, CEO
Connecting Content Worldwide
Don Scales, CEO at Investis Digital, believes that leaders need to practice what they preach. In his book, How to Lead a Values-Based Professional Services Firm, he challenges CEOs of professional services firms to start running their companies based on their purpose, values, and story. “That’s how I run Investis Digital. Everything we do is guided by our purpose: to redefine the way companies communicate online,” he says. “Our everyday actions are grounded in our values: bring passion, embrace clarity, keep innovating, inspire greatness, and measure success. And we tell our story by demonstrating how we can be a partner with ideas (thought leadership) and solutions (through our client work).”
And as a leader, Don sets the example and gets involved hands-on with the most critical issues such as strategy. For instance, he’s personally led the way the company has developed its purpose and values. In January 2017, Don was named global CEO of the company when it was known as Investis. Early on, he realized that to succeed, the entire organization needed to view itself more ambitiously -- from being a narrowly defined communications specialist to a content company with a broader scope. “We needed to bolster our content development capabilities and rethink how we optimized content for targeted impact, from how prospective clients found us all the way to how we distributed the content for consumption,” explains Don. “Eventually we developed this idea to be the foundation of our business with our proprietary Connected Content approach, in which we help businesses unite compelling communications, intelligent digital experiences, and performance marketing.”
" Investis Digital is helping businesses create meaningful relationships with their audiences in an age where honest communications has never been more important. "
To get there, the company needed to quickly build their capabilities. “I suggested to our board of directors that we buy a performance marketing company. After I received board approval to move forward, Investis acquired ZOG Digital at the end of 2017,” Don says. “Soon after, we rebranded our combined companies Investis Digital. We redefine how businesses build a connection with their audiences through Connected Content.
How Don Leads
As 2020 marks Investis Digital’s 20th anniversary, Don is focused on managing his company for both the present and the future. One way he does so is to communicate openly and frequently with all employees. For instance, he sends a monthly Don’s Download newsletter and hosts quarterly global town halls to bridge the company’s many regions together. During these quarterly calls, he always makes time to answer questions directly from employees. This openness has been especially effective as Investis Digital manages the industry disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic
He also believes in uplifting his people through awards and accolades – not just because it’s the right thing to do, but it’s also a sensible way to rally people around the company’s values. For instance, he gives an annual Donnie Award to employees who go above and beyond to exhibit the company’s values all of which are underpinned by exceptional client service. And during a time when employees have been working from their homes unexpectedly, he’s sponsored contests to recognize the most creative and innovative Investis Digital at-home workspaces. These kinds of touches not only honor people, they also help all employees manage the demands they’re experiencing right now as they juggle personal and professional needs from their homes.
He draws inspiration from other leaders, too, such as Jack Welch for his openness and vision, and Steve Jobs for his ability to inspire greatness in others. Personal vision has helped Don lead a number of agencies through periods of growth and change. For instance, at iCrossing, he led the company through a transition from being a search-focused agency to a fullservice, global powerhouse. Like Jack Welch, Don watches for opportunities to deliver on that vision through organic growth and acquisition. Right now that vision centers on helping businesses learn how to create meaningful relationships with their audiences in a digital-first world.
Connected Content and Client Success
Connected Content has three major elements. First, we help businesses tell their brand story through strategic and engaging content to reach their audience at the right time and the right place. But it isn’t enough to just share content. “We also build and run intelligent websites and digital experiences that are measured and supported by our secure Connect. ID technology and 24/7 managed service,” adds Don. “Lastly, with a great narrative and a site that optimizes the experience, we ensure audiences can find your content through our performance marketing solutions that amplify the company across all touchpoints..”
Over the years, the company has seen many successes. For instance, Anglo American—a leader in the mining world for over 100 years—needed to do a better job sharing a unified message and image. That’s because the company operated 12 corporate websites managed individually by key stakeholders within each region. The challenge was to show visitors what makes Anglo American different. “We developed new localized imagery that better represented Anglo American’s mission,” explains Don. “The content featured real people within local communities, their day-to-day lives, and how they make a difference.” In its first five weeks, when compared to the same period the year before, the site saw a 49 percent increase in page views followed by a 33 percent reduction in bounce rate.
Towards the Future
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, businesses were learning how to harness the value of digital. Now as audience behaviors have shifted online rapidly, businesses must absolutely master digital.
Investis Digitalis helping them do that. “In Q2 of 2020, we will be launching our Connect. IQ Ranking Report which is a comprehensive assessment of a company’s digital presence, analyzing over 300 criteria,” says Don. “This report enables companies to identify strengths and weaknesses across five key categories ranging from whether a site is providing content its audiences need to how well they are amplifying content to reach their audiences on the channels they prefer. In short, the report helps businesses understand how to achieve digital mastery.”
Don Scales, CEO
We build connections with corporate, employee, and customer audiences, boosting brand affinity and reputation resilience, influence, revenue, and engagement. Our work empowers, simplifies, and wins awards.