Mindshare Canada CEO Karen Nayler compares modern-day marketing to war, and has appointed three new generals to aid in the ongoing battle for consumers’ attention.
The GroupM network recently announced three internal promotions that bolster its senior leadership team and advance its so-called “Adaptive Marketing” ethos, which requires marketing to reflect real-time market conditions.
“That’s the foundation of me making some of these appointments,” said Nayler. “It [is designed] to enable our client teams to be in the trenches with our clients’ business on a day-to-day basis. To do that, we need to be able to have discipline and strategic leaders fueling their ability.”
Among the promotions, Sheri Cooper has been named to the newly created role of chief client operations officer, responsible for optimizing the agency’s internal operations. In conjunction with her global and U.S. counterparts, Cooper will also develop tools and systems capable of delivering the Adaptive Marketing approach.
Cooper will also manage a client team that includes Air Canada and Walmart. She has spent the past two years leading Mindshare’s Unilever assignment, with Nayler saying she demonstrated an “incredible skillset” that produced award-winning work while attracting top-flight talent to the agency.
“Because of her long history of leading clients’ businesses, she’s really skilled at being able to say ‘Here’s the stuff that matters and I’m going to get rid of all the barriers in your way’” said Nayler.
Armin Huska, who Nayler described as a “bright light” in the digital world, has also been named the agency’s first-ever chief digital officer, responsible for delivering best-in-class digital solutions for Mindshare clients while developing its digital talent and products.
“It’s far more than just being the digital expert,” said Nayler. “It’s about setting culture [and] pushing forward, whether it’s tools, thought leadership or how we organize the operation.”
Huska will also deploy the network’s proprietary operating system, “The Loop,” which allows for fully adaptive marketing campaigns across digital channels. The system is currently being beta-tested with two undisclosed clients (one is an international company; the other is Canadian), with the two-month test expected to conclude in the next month.
Nayler said The Loop enables Mindshare to react to data from several different inputs, making changes almost instantaneously. “It’s a brainstorm with actual feeds of really important data to make decisions on,” she said. “I think it will really frame major changes in how we work.”
Lina Alles, who has been with Mindshare since its 2000 arrival in Canada, has been promoted to chief trading officer, aggregating the agency’s trading capabilities under a single umbrella. Alles will also work with Huska to create a digital trading team, as well as with GroupM’s chief commercial officer, Stuart Garvie.
The role is an evolution of Alles’ original role as a broadcast buyer, said Nayler. “Gone are the days where it’s just a TV deal, it’s an owner deal. And it’s not just a cost deal, it’s how are we doing learning initiatives and beta tests. She’s leading a team that can look at it beyond just going to market and buying spots and dots.”
Canada’s fourth-largest agency by billings, according to French research firm RECMA, Mindshare added several pieces of new business last year. While Air Canada was the biggest win, new accounts also include the Ontario Power Authority, Dyson and Premiere Tech.
“We had a pretty good new business year last year, and the momentum is continuing,” said Nayler, whose day-to-day duties with the agency are largely focused around new business. She also sits on the network’s North American management team.
The latest moves, she said, are intended to position Mindshare in real-time, acting on data that can fuel insights on a real-time basis. “That’s where we really think it’s going to be important. You win in increments these days; there’s no longer the big home run for our clients, every little bit is going to count,” she said.