Isobar

Isobar

 

In my role as the Executive Creative Director at Isobar, I was responsible for the overall development and quality of the Creative department for the North American headquarters of a global ad agency. During my time with the organization, Isobar employed over 3,500 people in 54 offices across 32 countries, and has grown even further, since then.

I was hired during Year One of Isobar’s expansion into North America; Boston was the beachhead, followed quickly by San Francisco. We were 150 people in Boston, 50 people in San Francisco. When I left Isobar in 2013, the organization boasted over 400 employees, with offices in Chicago, New York, Boston, and LA, with satellites in Denver and Atlanta.

In my three years with Isobar we grew from $35mm in annual revenue to over $100mm in annual revenue, with margins heading up nearly eight points in the same time frame. The credit of that accomplishment lies roughly in halves, with a portion going to those of us who came on board to launch the brand in the states, and the remainder being owed to strategic acquisitions.

I was able to install my own vision of what a modern creative department should be and how it should operate: from strategy, to creative, to technology. As a result, unlike most creative groups, mine includes the Visual Design, Copywriting, and Experience Design disciplines, with a very tight connection to front-end developers and technologists. This requires a very unique blend of skills from my role, and a new way of thinking about how creative teams are structured and the methodologies they employ to succeed. One of the most challenging, and rewarding, parts of my job was describing and teaching this way of operating to my cohorts and getting their buy-in on trying things a different way.

My job involved curating the staff, helping to drive the strategy and vision for all the work that came out of the agency, running our largest global client initiatives and relationships, overseeing the payroll for the creative department and national creative staffing process, and working with the rest of the executive team to create new business opportunities and improve service for the jobs we’ve already won.

Every day, I worked side-by-side with my cohorts on the Sr. Leadership Team to create and sustain office culture and morale and set the strategic vision for our positioning in the marketplace. Our “people first” approach—championed by our fantastic Managing Director, Dan Beder—enabled me to maintain an open and collaborative environment in which multidisciplinary teams worked together enthusiastically and invented absolutely incredible stuff—from that sprung our positioning in the marketplace as the only agency that does technically innovative digital right.

 

Specific Things That I Did At Isobar of Which I Am Proud, In No Particular Order:

Retained, retrained, and grew our talent at all levels in new directions to create a truly powerful offering that is unique in the advertising agency space: we could build anything, and tell stories about it to the right audience(s)—soup to nuts modern digital advertising

Stabilized a department that had gone rudderless for over twelve months by providing leadership, vision, and transparency

Played a lead role in completely restructuring a tech fulfillment company into a working creative agency

Played a key role in doubling the size of the agency in under three years

Oversaw a department that won over a dozen awards in 2012, was short-listed for a 2013 Cannes Cyber Lion, and took home five gold medals in the 2013 Hatch Awards.

Invented, documented, and installed a comprehensive, modular, collaborative, and multidisciplinary creative process. Worked to help other department heads do the same for Production, Account, and Technology services, and created overarching structures that bring all the services together into a unified language and methodology

Played a lead role in completely restructuring a tech fulfillment company into a working creative agency

Played a key role in doubling the size of the agency in under three years

Oversaw a department that won over a dozen awards in 2012, was short-listed for a 2013 Cannes Cyber Lion, and took home five gold medals in the 2013 Hatch Awards.

Invented, documented, and installed a comprehensive, modular, collaborative, and multidisciplinary creative process. Worked to help other department heads do the same for Production, Account, and Technology services, and created overarching structures that bring all the services together into a unified language and methodology

Developed training and education programs for my staff, and initiated cross- department peer-to-peer presentations designed to foster collaboration and understanding between disparate skill sets

Retained and reorganized the talent from Molecular, recruited and retained talent from other agencies; grew my department by over 50 bodies in under three years

Worked closely with our President and Chief Strategy Officer to develop Isobar Create, a series of hackathons held every two-to-three months, which are open to the public and help to find new and brilliant talent and ideas

Worked with other members of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) on the evolution of relationships from one-off projects to Agency of Record (AoR) relationships with some of the largest brands in our North American portfolio (Motorola, Adidas, Samsung, Coca-Cola, Disney, et al.)