Digital Strategy Leader Bryan Jones Clicks with Stone Ward

by Kyle Massey  on Monday, Mar. 13, 2017 12:00 am  

Bryan Jones of Stone Ward

What could possibly beat being your own boss at a place called Extra Awesome? Getting a text from Millie Ward to lead digital strategy and planning at Stone Ward.

Bryan Jones was settled in self-employed awesomeness after more than a decade at Little Rock advertising agencies CJRW and Eric Rob & Isaac. Then Ward gave him the summons he wanted.

“I felt like I was getting a call from the other team’s coach,” Jones said. “I had been in competition with Stone Ward for about 11 years, and I had always admired their creative work.”

In fact, he had applied for a job there in 2006, but the timing wasn’t right, and an offer came from CJRW instead.

He enjoyed the job, and his next one at ERI, but he was clearly at home in Stone Ward’s gleaming conference room on his first day of work. “I won’t be figuring out how to make things work, but how to make them better — to devise an overall plan for clients,” he said.

Abbi Siler, Stone Ward’s digital strategy and social media manager for more than a year, is sticking around to show him the ropes before leaving the firm next month for personal reasons.

A Texan from San Antonio, Jones graduated from Baylor University but found no jobs to suit his training as a teacher and coach. So he became a youth pastor at Fellowship North, a North Little Rock church where his wife, Sarabeth Jones, still works in communications. At one time, she had co-workers named Keith Richards and George Harrison.

“We used to laugh about that; we had both the Rolling Stones and the Beatles represented,” said Bryan, whose name is one letter off from that of original Stone Brian Jones. Sarabeth and Bryan, who is 44 but looks younger, have three children, one already in college. “Forty-four sounds pretty old in the digital world. I guess it’s good that I started young and now have some maturity to bring to it.”

Jones left youth pastoring in 2001, joining “the client side” as director of marketing communications in Little Rock for Carlton-Bates, the diversified supplier of electric equipment. “I felt like a soccer player on a basketball court,” he said. “I wanted agency work.”

As CJRW’s director of interactive services, he worked to match clients’ business objectives with their efforts online. Later, as engagement planning director, he saw himself as a creative architect building marketing strategies over all sorts of media.

At CJRW and in his two years working with the “great guys” at ERI, Jones says he gained an important perspective.

“Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should,” he said. “Innovation in the digital world and elsewhere has to serve the client, has to get results. A high click rate doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting genuine interaction. You have to chart results that translate into gains for your client’s business goals.”



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