Kara Santiago Dagdag: One Who Believes Team Effort & Collaboration Are Secrets To A Productive Workforce
Kara Santiago Dagdag
Humans are born with some skills while some skills can only be acquired over time. Be it a hard skill or a soft skill, mastering it requires courage, hard work, and determination on the part of an individual. Kara Santiago Dagdag, the Chief Operating Officer at Spark It, a multi-award-winning digital PR and talent representation company is an exceptional example of it. She had to make a life-altering decision to lead a team when she lost Franco Santos, the founderand then CEO of Spark It. She had no idea how she was going to pull it off, but it was her respect and fondness towards her mentor that fueled the fire in her to put up with all the challenges and thrive in her new role as a business leader.
Under her leadership, Spark It has prevailed as a business and has grown to be a well-known brand among consumers. Kara joined Spark It in 2015 after working for one of the Philippines' leading public relations firms and three years as a brand marketer in a multinational FMCG company. Kara says, “I am very blessed to have a solid team of core directors who share the same goals as I do- together we have built what Spark It is today". Let’s hear more from her in this interactive interaction.
Give us a glimpse of the various roles and responsibilities that your current role as the Chief Operating Officer at Spark It entailsand explain the challenges associated with it.
As a Chief Operating Officer, my priorities are set, I constantly try to innovate and find ways to not only retain clients and grow the business but ultimately keep the team in a happy and healthy environment that promotes their career growth. I believe a collaborative team working towards a common goal is far more productive than individuals working separately.
It's challenging to conduct marketing in a quick-moving market, particularly in the Philippines today where audiencesare hypersensitive and more knowledgeable about the media they consume. As a marketing agency, it's our responsibility to make sure the messages we present not only accurately represent our brands but also add value to the consumer. People have a lot of options today to choose from, and that is why any brand needs to find the right tuning with its customers. No matter how many challenges you might face if your customers believe in you, half of the war is already won.
Tell us more about Spark It and the differentiating factors of the company that sets it apart from the different players in the Industry.
As one of the nation's pioneers in influencer marketing, we are thrilled to have supported organizations and causes in their efforts to reach a wider audience online. The pandemic has changed the dynamics of the PR industry and has introduced several innovative promotional strategies in the market such as; influencer marketing, social media promotions, and more.
However, we have been using it as our major promotional tool since the time people didn't even know what it meant or how it can be used for the purpose of promotion. People are only now beginning to implement it, but we have the knowledge, expertise, and experience that other companies lack, making us the market leaders.
“The best teacher we all have is time”
Throw light on some of the most noteworthy milestones you have reached over your career and the factors that helped you achieve that. And, what are your future plans for Spark It?
Life is very unpredictable and full of surprises, I never knew that I had the potential in me to lead a team but after the sudden demise of my mentor; I had to step in, which made me realize that not everything can be planned. I wasn't ready to shoulder such a heavy responsibility, but when I had to, I took it one step at a time.
During my initial days, it was the desire inside me to carry on my mentor's legacy that motivated me to work harder and better, every single day. But now that I have realized the power I hold in my hands, I aim to give back to the people who have supported the Spark It brand and made it one of the best brands available in the nation, and the best way to do that is to acknowledge our customer's needs and provide them with the best-customized solutions, that no one else can.
We have recently launched Spark It Studios, a production, and social media asset arm to further support the marketing we currently carry out for the businesses we oversee. We are also building a worldwide food and distribution brand (Spark Eats), and are very eager to start this new chapter, hopefully, by the first quarter of 2023.
What wisdom would you offer to young women who hope to follow in your footsteps as business leaders?
Anyone who hopes to head a company someday must learn to express her ideas because when you choose to stay silent, you force yourself to stand in the background. Being a leader is to take center stage and command everyone's attention. Don’t let the world intimidate you and use the power you hold in your voice to manifest your dream into reality. And, find a mentor who has acquired enough wisdom to lead you through your career journey.
Kara Santiago Dagdag, Chief Operating Officer, Spark It Kara Santiago Dagdag is a dynamic business leader with expertise in brand communication, brand marketing, and leadership. She believes a people-centric leadership approach is the best way to build a productive workforce.
Awards & Recognition:
. Women to Watch 2020 – Campaign Asia
. Multi-winning campaigns for PR Asia Awards 2017-2022, including Best PR Campaigns, Best Use of Micro Influencers, and Best Digital Campaign