Meet the team: A new Initiative

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 17 July 2017
Initiative CEO Mel Fein

This is a free excerpt from AdNews print magazine July edition. You can download a digital version of AdNews and subscribe to the premium print edition here.

Initiative has a new corporate identity, a new vision and a new leadership team. The 'cultural branding' agency says brand building has given way to short−term performance which is affecting business growth.

Two years after Mediabrands' stablemate UM repositioned to become the 'creative connections' agency under fomer CEO Mat Baxter, Initiative has re−emerged as the 'cultural branding' agency.

Baxter is now global CEO of Initiative and the positioning has his fingerprints all over it, although this is a local articulation of a global play.

The idea is to help clients grow with a media strategy that balances short−term performance and longer−term brand building at culturally relevant moments.

It's the latter part that makes this an intriguing proposition for a function often under pressure to deliver overnight success.

Initiative CEO Melissa Fein told AdNews the concept has been well−received by clients, but it isn't a one−size−fits−all approach.

“Sometimes not all of the positioning will fully resonate with clients in its entirety, but a lot of the new structural change does,” Fein says.

“We have to be the partner for a CMO or a marketing director to help ensure they've got a seat at the boardroom table. This enables them to have the conversation around why marketing expenditure and growing brands long−term is important," she adds. 

“When I asked a few people around the market what their perception was of Initiative, they'd say it was 'a safe pair of hands', but it probably didn't stand for something strong enough. I think it’s important when repositioning to live and breathe it. We can’t just put a new lick of paint on the wall and a new colour scheme and say, ‘this is the new us’'."

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