Global creative leaders endorsing new social network

Purpose-built for marketers, Shocase combines features of LinkedIn and Behance

A new social network designed specifically for marketing industry professionals has attracted some to the world’s top creative talent.

Ron Young

Ron Young

Shocase blends the resume-building aspects of LinkedIn with the portfolio sharing and curation of Behance, but with a focus on collaborative projects rather than individual artwork. Its raison d’etre is to answer a common complaint among marketers and creatives — that LinkedIn doesn’t provide a lot of options to display their portfolio.

The network has just ended a months-long beta test, and it has already attracted some legendary marketing influencers. TBWA global director and chairman Lee Clow has a profile with 50 projects on display. Cutwater founder Chuck McBride, Wieden + Kennedy ECD Susan Hoffman and Droga5 founder David Droga are also all currently members, with their own galleries and newsfeeds where they can post work that they like.

The service was created by Ron Young, a former marketer and Silicon Valley IT entrepreneur who spent much of the ’70s and ’80s working for Levi’s and Electronic Arts. He went on to found a series of hardware and IT infrastructure startups that he successfully sold.

Returning to his marketing roots, he founded Shocase two years ago in San Francisco, and since then has built a team of 44 staff, filed 8 patents and raised $17 million in funding from more than 100 individual investors.

“We’re designed exclusively for the marketing world. We are the place for the 100 million folks in marketing,” Young told Marketing. “We recognize that there’s great value in creating a tool to help you find exactly the right marketing person – and if you are the right marketing person, to feature your skills, not just by what you can say you can do, but by demonstrating it.”

Shocase doubles as a professional network for clients and agencies to connect with talent, and a global gallery of inspirational creative work. One view provides a traditional LinkedIn-style newsfeed where users can follow what marketers in given personal network are doing. But a second “Discover” view looks more like an art gallery on Behance or DeviantArt, with dozens of filters and categories for browsing.

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The site provides a LinkedIn import option to make profile creation faster (and it’s surprisingly error-free). Members can identify themselves as specializing in a number of fields such as branding, creative, PR, media or account management. Users can flip between an algorithmically curated social feed, featuring content posted by influencers they follow, and a gallery they can browse through. And, of course, users can like and share the work they see. Award-winning work is even tagged with a little trophy in the corner.

Shocase’s big differentiator is the way uploaded projects are handled. Rather than being owned by any one person, like a Behance portfolio item, each project page has a list of collaborators and the roles they played in the project (art director, strategist, account executive, etc). Anyone can upload campaign material that they’ve worked on and name their collaborators, and the project will automatically appear in each collaborator’s personal gallery.

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Shared projects are not just useful for marketing professionals looking to network, they’re part of Young’s strategy to drive adoption. Anyone who gets tagged on a project gets an e-mail invitation to the site, asking them to claim credit for their work.

It’s not just the early adopters tagging people — Shocase’s algorithms are at this moment crawling the web for ads and the names of people who’ve worked on them. The idea is that when marketers join the site, much of their work will already be uploaded and tagged with their names, waiting for them to hit publish. According to Pando Daily, 50,000 pieces of content have been pre-tagged already.

Young said he eventually plans to monetize Shocase with tiered subscriptions, target advertising, and job boards, much like LinkedIn. In the next phase, agencies and brands will be encouraged to adopt their own company pages where they can manage their own reputations and moderate who’s tagged on campaigns they created. There will be analytics, better gallery browsing options and lots of other goodies, Young said. But for the time being, Shocase is fully focused on getting marketers on board. As with any social network, its success depends on whether it can get people interested.

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