PeopleDKC’s Javid Louis talks about unconventional success and why he returned to agency life

Carla EllisonFebruary 8, 2021

It’s often said that a setback is a key ingredient for a great success story. For Javid Louis, senior vice president, digital strategy at DKC, no phrase is a better summary when looking back at his career trajectory.

Mentored by arguably one of the most influential marketers of today, Steve Stoute, Louis quickly found early success. Upon graduating from Rutgers University, Louis joined Interscope Records as an intern where he met Stoute who served as executive vice president at the time.

Stoute became a trusted mentor to Louis who found Stoute’s role of connecting artists to brands an interesting coupling of both Louis’ background in business and interest in music and entertainment. When Stoute left Interscope to launch his own advertising firm, Translation, Louis joined on to continue to shadow Stoute for two years. Soon after, Louis started his own marketing consultancy and pop culture news website.

Louis shared with Marcom Weekly that his consultancy was designed to “help music artists get into the business world through video and online content,” which would then be distributed on his website. Over the course of five years, Louis made connections with well-known artists such as Beyonce, Jay-Z, Rihanna and many others who would share exclusive content with him for exposure. It was a successful business model at the time that predated the paid and sponsored content model seen today on many social networks.

However, as soon as social networks such as Instagram started to rise, Louis saw that many of the artists that he would previously get content from would post their content directly on their own Instagram accounts.

Not to be discouraged, Javid decided to re-enter the agency world, but came across a startling realization – agencies weren’t sure how to define or correctly title the work he had done over the past five years and were only able to offer him a senior account executive level title which was only one title above where he had been before he left to start his own business.

Almost eight years later and Javid Louis proudly holds his position as senior vice president at DKC and head of digital strategy at HangarFour, DKC’s creative division. When asked about his biggest goals, he summarized the two that were most important.

“[First], when we talk about social media, we’re talking [about it] to the CEO, we’re talking to tech companies, we’re talking to hospitals, we’re talking to all types of different industries that people don’t think of when they think about social media.”

He continues with his second biggest goal which is to “make sure that that I have a diverse team of professionals and that, as I move up, I make sure that everyone who deserves a chance is getting one too.” He later adds, “personally, the legacy that I want to leave is that a young, black man who is given opportunities can excel.”

Top of mind for Louis during his conversation with Marcom Weekly was how his family and upbringing continue to shape his humility. Reigning from the island of St. Lucia, Javid Louis reminisces about his younger family members back home of whom he wants to set an example.

“I like being able to talk to [my younger relatives] and know that I’m showing them it’s possible to get this type of job and to lead a digital team. To know that one day they’ll probably be better than I am and that I’m inspiring [them] to do what they need to do to get there.”

Mentorship is also something that Louis enjoys doing in his free time as well. He has often served as a guest lecturer at both Rutgers University and Baruch College where he shares his knowledge of digital and social media.

When asked about the legacy he wishes to leave behind, Louis simply says, “I want people to say that I created opportunities for others and that I was a good person to work with.”

One of the values that Louis shares as being important to him throughout his journey has been the value of being nice to people.

“Part of my journey and being able to move up and do certain things is because I genuinely try to be nice to people. When you find like-minded people, you’re able to grow because no one can do this by themselves.”

Since meeting with Marcom Weekly, it was announced in January 2021 that Javid Louis would help lead a new division at DKC called DKCulture, aimed at bridging the gap between brands and Black culture in the digital and media space.

Photo by Cornelius Rosenbaum/House of Baum.

Carla Ellison

Carla is a correspondent covering people and news features and digital content.

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