[Live Training] 9 Strategies to Build Recurring Revenue in your Digital Agency

E232: Take strategic control on your client projects with Douglas Davis

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Brooklyn-based Douglas Davis enjoys being one of the varieties of voices needed in front of and behind the concept. As principal of The Davis Group, Douglas offers strategic solutions to client branding, design, and communications problems. As author of Creative Strategy and the Business of Design, Douglas regularly contributes to the design discourse in The European Business Review, RGD Design Thinkers, and the OneClub Educators Summit. Douglas is an Emmy Award-winning strategist who serves on the advisory boards of the Poster House Museum CMYK council, The Type Director’s Club, The University of Oregon’s Masters in Advertising and Brand Responsibility, and City College’s Masters in Branding and Integrated Communications.

He was recently a keynote speaker at our USUMMIT virtual event.

Episode highlights:

  • How “failure” took Douglas to the next level.
  • How a lack of strategic vocabulary limited Douglas’s options…for a time.
  • What buying a Maserati has to do with pitching a project. Or are you selling a Ford?
  • Imposter syndrome: let’s talk about it.
  • Why creatives must become strategists.
  • On getting out of the “friend zone”, aka the person with tactics vs strategy.
  • How to frame decision-making with clients from the very beginning.
  • Best advice: Be who you are.
  • Habit that contributes to success: Making sure that I use all the time I have before walking into the room.
  • Recommended tool: Mintel – marketing insights, and SEC website for public business insights
  • Recommended book: Miss Remarkable and Her Career by Joanna Rubin Dranger
  • Run time: 36:14



  • “I personally got here by failing.”
  • “I didn’t understand how this was such a thing that it would stop time.”
  • “I suddenly was in a situation where my creative education didn’t serve me.”
  • “More than anything, you’re just losing value.”
  • “It’s really about your face when I pull up to the stop sign.”
  • “What you asked me for is not always what you needed.”
  • “It was given that everybody was a kind of pioneer.”
  • “There is no pandemic playbook. We’re all writing it as we go along.”
  • “It’s our job to lead the client.”
  • “Once we can agree somewhere, turn that to them…you can disarm them.”


  • Maybe you don’t know what to do because nobody knows what to do! 
  • You can’t force clients to make what you see as the right decision.
  • Leadership is a posture.

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