Smit has big plans for Invoke Media

February 08, 2013  |  Chris Powell  |  Comments

Michael Smit, a veteran of the digital marketing space whose career has included stops at Blast Radius and Modem Media in the U.K., has taken over as CEO of Vancouver-based Invoke Media.

Smit had spent the previous five years as vice-president, managing director of the interactive agency Academy, which he also founded. He also serves on the advisory board of TEDx Vancouver.

He has more than 15 years of experience in both Europe and North America, working as a strategist and creative leader of integrated digital marketing, interactive TV, mobile, social media and retail campaigns for numerous global brands including Nike, Unilever, Microsoft and Starbucks.

He was familiar with Invoke after using the Vancouver-based shop for what he described as “SWAT team missions” while working with Blast Radius from 2002 to 2007. “I’ve been really impressed with the innovation that’s happening here, especially when you look at its track record in social media,” he said.

Smit’s arrival at Invoke coincides with the company’s recent launch of Invoke Labs, an incubation company dedicated to building products such as the social media management platform HootSuite. Invoke’s most recent products include a social network for military veterans called POS-REP and a social engagement platform called Memelabs.

“There are a lot of good things going on here, and they’re embracing this notion of rapid prototyping and product development, which is really fascinating,” he said. Smit described Invoke’s ability to build HootSuite – which now operates as a separate company with more than 200 employees – a “huge success story.”

Invoke is also active in what Smit called the “second screen” space. Its Facebook-based “5th Coach Game,” which enabled viewers to play along with the NBC show The Voice, won the Best Social TV Integration of Facebook award at the 2012 Social TV Awards last year.

Smit said that he is working on an “enhanced positioning” for the Invoke brand that will be a blend of traditional marketing strategy with the so-called “new world order.”

Smit said he wants to harness Invoke’s proclivity for product innovation, using his 15 years of experience in areas such as brand strategy and storytelling to push the business forward. “You could almost make the accusation they’ve been a little too innovative,” he said. “Clients only have so much special projects budget.”

Invoke is a 50-person company with offices in Los Angeles and New York. The company is a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer and has worked with marquee clients including AOL, NBC, The Walt Disney Company, Dove, EA and Wells Fargo.

Its products include the Eat St. app, which garnered more than 100,000 downloads in its first three weeks, and Sprout at Work, enterprise software that works to integrate wellness into the workplace. The company is also planning launches in the real estate and social marketplace spaces.

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