Former MediaCom strategy and innovation leads launch consultancy

Paige Murphy
By Paige Murphy | 25 May 2020

Former MediaCom strategy and innovation leads Mike Deane and Tim Russell have partnered to launch Saintsmiths, a communications consultancy to address the "messiness" of marketing.

The ex-MediaCom chief strategy officer and head of innovation formed Saintsmiths to provide a strategic focus across data, creative and media planning to bridge the divide between agency disciplines.

“Through our long experience working with CEOs and CMOs, we focus on providing the three key things modern marketers are crying out for today: clarity, confidence and creativity," Deane says.

“This is important because it's a confusing world out there with contradictory planning philosophies and conflicting agency agendas - and in lieu of better guidance - clients are panic-buying ‘strategy’ from salespeople."

Collectively Deane and Russell bring over 35 years of global media, digital and creative agency experience to the table.

Deane has spent more than a decade working across the UK and ANZ, including more than two years as MediaCom’s chief strategy officer across Australia and New Zealand, leading the planning, product and team for brands such as Uber, Mars and the Queensland Government.

Russell’s expertise comes from an extensive background in creative and media agencies across the UK and ANZ, specialising in strategy and digital innovation.

Most recently he was consulting with Fonterra’s global team, reviewing and relaunching the company’s planning process across 12 APAC markets.

“Marketers have never had so much evidence of what works available to them, yet most campaigns still remain ineffective, because they lack clarity around the problem and a single minded strategy," Russell says.

“But if you can get this right then no matter what the economic conditions are, clients can have the confidence to move forward. While launching in the middle of a pandemic was not in the original script, the Saintsmiths offering is proving invaluable to clients facing tough decisions.”

Sainstmiths is already working with agencies and clients across APAC and North America, most recently with Lion Nathan in New Zealand and Nestle in Australia.

For Lion, Deane and Russell helped create a long-term strategic recovery program by drawing on their experience in recovery planning, when working with major clients in the UK during the global financial crisis.

"At a time when most businesses, including our own, were focused on short-term stability and reactive work, the Saintsmiths team provided exceptional mid to long-term strategic, analytical and creative guidance, ensuring we never lost sight of what might come next," Lion Nation New Zealand marketing director Rachel Ellerm says.

"Their ability to conduct fast, yet insightful primary research also proved vital in shaping our next wave of communications.”

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