In today’s episode we welcome Eric Verkerke, the co-founder of Emergence Creative, a global creative agency focused on social impact. Eric's career background is as comprehensive as it is impressive, from agricultural research for Oxford University to science journalism for National Public Radio, and from founding a startup medical device company to big agency leadership at McCann Global Health. Despite his success in the industry, Eric decided to found his own agency, motivated by the feeling larger agencies were simply not able to deliver the level of professionalism and impact that he wanted to have for social good initiatives. In this episode, we discuss the constraints that come with working in larger agencies, challenges around the culture of pro bono work for social impact, and how to actualize your values.

Eric Verkerke

Eric Verkerke of Emergence Creative

Eric brings an eclectic mix of entrepreneurial and scientific insight to the evolving creative strategies needed to engage a modern global audience.

Eric led innovative strategy and accounts for Coca-Cola and other major clients while at McCann Global Health. He helped found and build a startup medical device company focused on bringing affordable technology to the developing world. Prior to venturing into social enterprise, he worked in science journalism for National Public Radio and Cal Tech, agricultural research for Oxford University, and consulted on new media, business, and research. Throughout his career, Eric has distilled complex scientific and business ideas into clear and powerful stories. His hands-on experience in product development and chicken farming instilled a healthy respect for the nitty-gritty reality of building something that works.

"If you’ve got a group that is being constantly provided something for free it shifts the perception of value to them.” -  @everkerk #socialimpact #nonprofit

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Tune in to find out:

  • Why Eric decided to start his own agency 
  • The constraints that come from working in larger agencies
  • Why there is a lack of quality creativity in the social impact space
  • The problem with the culture of pro bono work and what can be done to make it viable
  • Shifting clients’ perceptions on storytelling and communication
  • The issue with hiring a designer at the end of a process
  • How organizations could be better planning their budget
  • The importance of listening, trust and shared value with clients
  • Why corporations need to shift their business models more intentionally
  • Emergence’s first client: the process and methodology used
  • How Emergence’s measure of success differs from traditional agencies
  • The three core values that Emergence focuses their work on
  • Coping with the challenge of unpredictability as an agency today

“I think #socialimpact in large #agencies is often seen as a pro bono's not a priority. It’s difficult when you’re working on selling sugar water one day and public health the next." - @Everkerk

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Get the full transcript for this episode: