Q: What are the varied duties of a chief connections officer?
A: The first is the media aspect, rounding out the sophistication level of the media services offering of Engauge. The second part is connections, which is the idea of the integrated part of what we do — how do you take what you know about consumers and truly marry all disciplines together to find the right points of where to reach them?
Q: Why did you decide to move from Coca-Cola to Engauge?
A: The premise of what Engauge does is fundamentally what I’ve been trying to do at past roles, this idea of connecting consumers with brands and having a true marriage between creative insights and strategy and media so that any one thing can‘t stand alone. It’s harder to do that on large iconic brands with so many stakeholders, so I wanted to take my vision and bring it to life in a way that I could actually drive and have come through in the way the agency works and the way we work with our clients. This is an opportunity to support iconic brands from a different lens.
Q: You’re tasked with “extracting more measurability and accountability from client media budgets” — why is that so important right now?
A: Over the past several years, we’ve been seeing a move towards accountable marketing. Clients have been increasingly trying to push to understand the value of the dollar, and digital is the spark that accelerated the market towards that. If you can measure digital, why not have similar thinking on all elements? In 2008, the cost of doing business increased, and with this economy we don’t have a choice. Clients’ budgets are cut or held flat, and it’s important to do great work and demonstrate the value of that. You have to show them results and show them that you’re delivering the absolute best media program they can afford.
Q: How will you accomplish that?
A: Other agencies may focus on delivery or impressions, but we take it a step further by truly digging into qualitative and quantitative impacts on the business: how it drove results, and which specific aspects of the campaign drove the most cost-effective acquisitions into your program. We look at things like ROI and attitudinal measures. Engauge also goes online and looks at the social world and understands the starting place where consumers were thinking about the brand or product and how that evolved over time as the campaign was being delivered.
Q: What is your best advice for peers?
A: I think the thing that has allowed me to achieve what I have professionally is having great mentors that continued to push me outside of my comfort zone and see things beyond the obvious. I grew up in a lower-middle-income household, and I expected to go into a career path and go up the ladder and reach the ceiling and that would be it. But identifying great mentors that saw my potential even when I didn’t see it forced me to step outside that comfort zone and help me gain confidence in things that I perhaps would have never tried before. When you think about this opportunity with Engauge, the reason I could move outside the corporate ladder comfort zone is because great mentors helped me think about my career path and gave me other ways to achieve my endgame at the right pace.