iStrategyLabs: Solving Problems For Companies Through Use of Social Media

I’ve been a fan of Peter Corbett’s for quite some time and there’s just no reason why I shouldn’t. If you’re thinking that this is a rehash of my #FollowFriday post where I called him one a “Capital Innovator”, I’m sorry to disappoint you as I’m not calling attention to that post, but rather I’m focusing on the work he’s done with his great company and how I’m in awe at how his “startup” has become one productive and powerful company that just seems to be growing – is there no end in sight for iStrategyLabs? I certainly hope not.

iStrategyLabs

In August of 2007, I found out about a brand new startup setting up shop in the Washington, DC area. After reading the press release, I found out that it was the latest project by Peter Corbett.  He had since moved on from life producing work for an agency to one of actually creating work for his clients on behalf of his agency. But it seemed to have a startling, yet pleasant, twist: a focus on social media and less discipline on traditional advertising.

I’ve followed Peter’s career across the past couple of years and have known him to be a very intelligent man and someone who I would consider a great resource when it came to social media and web marketing. Well lo’ and behold he starts his own company and I figured that he might need some time to build up his portfolio. I was wrong…dead wrong. In fact, iStrategyLabs has seen some phenomenal growth over the past couple of years. Just some of the things that I can recall of the success of the company includes:

  • Production of a concert at a a resort in Tahoe, CA on behalf of Gym Class Heroes.
  • Diplomat between the Washington, DC & Northern Virginia tech community to help organize four enormous networking events – called Twin Tech.
  • Creation & production of a governmental program for the city of Washington, DC to help increase accessibility of public government data using technology – called Apps for Democracy.

iStrategyLabs has helped produce some great work for some outstanding companies and it has shown with the remarkable growth achieved in a short time. Corbett informs me that even during a time of economic slowdown and sluggishness, his company has achieved a 300% growth each year and doesn’t seem to be affected by any recession. And that’s just even more remarkable when you consider that the company only has four full-time employees & 15 independent contractors, each with their own specialty that can be called upon to provide their knowledge to a project. Oh, and did I forget to mention that iStrategyLabs is planning on opening up a new office in New York City this August? So not only will they be based in the nation’s capital, but also in one of the busiest places for capitalism to flourish!

But what exactly does iStrategyLabs do? Sure, they’re experiencing phenomenal growth but why should marketers care about another agency?

iStrategyLabs is a digital agency focused on providing clients with interactive strategy, experiential marketing and content creation services.

From a marketing perspective, that sounds pretty cool, huh? Lots of buzz words floating around there making it seem that an agency is at the forefront of the industry. In this case, iStrategyLabs is at the forefront. Strip away the buzzwords and basically you have a company interested in “developing great ideas that sell your products and services or advance your cause.” That’s what it’s all about. The team understands how to use social media and the web to create those ideas that will promote your business. They’re also up-to-date on the latest technology innovations happening and other statistics that affects how business is done in the social media world. Whether it’s the latest statistics on Facebook, buzz monitoring, community development, influencer outreach, social media marketing or even interactive strategy, this agency has got the know-how needed to make any project a success.

Highlighting Apps for Democracy: Just what is it good for?

Perhaps one of the biggest projects that I think of that has contributed to the success of iStrategyLabs is the team’s work with the city government of Washington, DC. I suppose it’s probably because of the sweeping wave of government 2.0 propaganda that helped encourage this movement, but they were contracted with the city’s Chief Technology Officer, Vivek Kundra (who’s now assumed a similar role in the Obama administration), to produce a campaign that encouraged companies to submit applications to the city on how they would use available government data – known as Apps for Democracy.

You can review the entire list of people that have submitted here, but the point here is that given a 30-day period, nearly 47 applications were built that sourced the city’s “data catalog” that would help make the city’s information readily available and useful for its citizens, businesses, visitors and government agencies. Here are the results:

  • 47 applications were built in 30 days.
  • The Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) in DC has estimated the value of these submissions at $2,000,000+ including external contracting costs and internal procurement time.
  • The cost to OCTO was $50,000 including prizes, marketing, management etc. representing an estimated 4,000% return on investment.
  • OCTO has estimated that it would have taken them 1-2 years to complete the procurement process and receive delivery of applications like these under their legacy procurement method
  • iPhone apps, Facebook apps, web apps, mobile apps, maps mash-ups and a wiki were entered

Overall the city and everyone involved was pleased with the results and it looks like the city is coming back for some more as iStrategyLabs is producing yet another edition of Apps for Democracy.

What’s the lesson in Apps for Democracy? I would imagine that information is always around us and seems to me that it’s not that difficult (or expensive) to make it open and available for the people to see and use. Just looking at the applications developed from Apps for Democracy shows that there are very useful tools out there such as parking, violence, where to bike in the city, historic tours you can take, and countless others. Instead of having excessive costs in government coffers, perhaps allowing the technology community create applications for local and state governments may actually make the government work for the people instead of against it.

What does it all boil down to?

I’m highlighting iStrategyLabs here because I’m really impressed by the amount of growth and success that they’ve had. Perhaps that’s the formula that works these days: having a great team of freelancers and a leader with a great vision and recognizes problems and solutions to fix it. With clients such as NASDAQ, Destination DC, the Capital Area Food Bank and American Eagle Outfitters,iStrategyLabs is pretty busy…but I’m sure that they’re really eager for more challenges to help them tackle the world one problem at a time.

DISCLOSURE: I have a working relationship with the team at iStrategyLabs as a Project Manager and have on occasion done some work with the team.

By Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a journalist fascinated with the stories of the tech industry and internet culture. He's currently the Technology Editor at Flipboard, where he observes what's happening in the space while also identifying new topics of interest. In addition, he co-hosts the weekly internet show "The Created Economy," which focuses on what's happening to creators and influencers. Previously, he was a reporter for VentureBeat and The Next Web, covering tech startups, the industry's innovations and funding. Ken also has a newsletter you should also subscribe to called "Filed."