Meet The Team - KINESSO's delivery engine driving data forward

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 9 July 2024
Andy Holford and Jess White.

The recent merging under the KINESSO banner of the IPG Mediabrands companies Kinesso, Reprise, and Matterkind provided a way for the holdco to unify the data derived from a brand's full marketing system into a single capability. 

With offerings spanning across performance marketing and data and technology, the rebranded KINESSO agency is positioning itself as the 'most powerful delivery engine in the industry', covering social platforms, e-commerce, influencers, retail media, martech and more

KINESSO Australia's CEO, Jessica White, said that although it's an old name, it's very much a new brand.

"We didn't do a lot of talking locally in the market [about the rebrand], but Kinesso at the time was more data and tech, Reprise was search and social, and then Matterkind is programmatic, addressable," she said.

"A marketer doesn't care about our separate brands, though - they just want to know that we're delivering an outcome or result.

"We have really deep discipline, and we've got a lot of talent and innovation that has come out of each three of those brands, but I think coming together is enabling us to get that more holistic, performance strategy that we can then give to clients."

White said that the merger of these different specialties came at a good time, as due to there being so much disruption happening in the marketplace, companies have to look at non-media solutions in order to deliver digital in a way that is going to cut through

"That's where the adtech/martech comes in; it's the glue that enables us to have really effective performance outcomes and you can't do that just by looking at things in siloed channels," she told AdNews.

"Gaining trust and getting people to really buy into a brand now is so much harder than it has ever been and that's where influencers become so important. Creators of content is an area that we work really well with our MBCS team with.

"The only way we really get in front of consumers is meeting them where they are, not where we want them to be. We've had a lot of success in talking to clients and flipping the script in talking about performance and outcomes, led with an influencer strategy or retail strategy, because that's really what is going to be the game changer in driving better results or competitive advantage, as opposed to just thinking about things in channels."

Part of how this is enacted is not just through unifying capabilities, but also in upskilling and training staff, with external providers brought in if needed.

KINESSO Australia's chief product officer, Andy Holford, said this has manifested is in something like 'training prescriptions', an initiative the agency is trialling at the moment.

"This is where we go to literally each individual person and ask 'what is it that you need to thrive and succeed? What are your gaps' and we look at what's available internally, what's available externally, and they get a customised plan to be able to try and get them to the next level as well, which is definitely a lot of work but it is something that I think our people have come back so far and said this is hugely beneficial," he said.

"There's been an obsession in the industry, not just with agencies but more broadly, about efficiency and how can we make everything an automation. That's impacting our people, so we need to think about how do we then use that time that they've got back to add value?

"That's the big thing that we're trying to flip - creating more time for play. I think a lot of clients now are asking for more consultation, they want more help, they want more strategy, they want to play with new channels and solutions, and that requires some support as well. It's a new avenue in a new world and it's a very different remit than a typical performance agency has been asked for before."

Holford agrees with White's assessment that the role of channels is changing, saying that now, a lot of the funnels in the marketing world are "almost collapsing".

"That's quite interesting, because it then begins to change the format and what formats are available," he told AdNews.

"What is SEO in 2024? It used to be ranking on Google, but now some searches are starting on TikTok or they're starting on Amazon. What does that mean for how you show up on Amazon or TikTok and your evergreen content and how you use influencers? I think for the future, everything is starting to change from being in neat little boxes to becoming more entwined and that's something that both agencies and clients have to contend with."

White said that despite technological advancements across the industry, the 'magic' that the agency creates is still going to be derived from the ability of KINESSO's people's to leverage that technology.

"We've got the largest data spine, we've got the end-to-end capabilities from planning through to activation generating insights, AI is going to help that even more in terms of assisting us on the way through that workflow, but what is going to be the thing that gives the competitive edge for a marketer is still going to be in how people use those tools and using that time that they now have as a result of automation," she said.

"I think that that's where we're kind of leaning in equally if not more than the technical capability. The future isn't going to be in how our automation systems work; the future of performance is in how we design reaching consumers.

"How are consumer patterns changing? What is the linear TV of the future? If people are sitting in front of TikTok all day and that's a 'lean back' environment, what does that mean? There are really big questions being asked about how we plan and how we look at designing an entire media strategy and the big ideas will still come, but how we connect that and deliver an outcome and performance is going to come from humans."



Benton Goodbrand

Benton Goodbrand - GM Activations, Melbourne & Perth

What's the biggest challenge in your role?

There is a harsh reality to our world of Activations as fees are squeezed, the demands of our people increase, and the landscape continues to diversify and disrupt.  The skills balance of technical depth with soft skills is becoming increasingly a trade-off across SEM and Programmatic traders - with client facing experts very hard to come by.  The tantalizing siren call of social platforms lead many of our youngest and brightest away from the more traditional platforms. This scarcity, coupled with post Covid employee expectations, means some dilution of talent we historically didn't have to face.  It places immense pressure on our senior leaders; to provide the level of communication maturity expected by our clients, the technical expertise from years on the tools, and emotional regulation to nurture our young talent. So, to answer your question of what are the biggest challenges in the role? Do everything in my power to ensure my senior leadership team have the support they need. To lead by example and be an authentic, transparent leader. To provide a framework and environment where all team members can openly ask questions and learn, accelerating their growth. To lean in and add value without stifling the teams' growth.

What attracted you to KINESSO?

I've always had an eye on KINESSO, as Reprise, they were a primary competitor to my previous company. I'd seen many a colleague make their way over to the IPG group and the feedback was always very positive. I always had a feeling that KINESSO was "one to watch" - they had all the ingredients to be great, it was just a matter of them hitting their stride.  With the merger of Reprise and Matterkind, it put the business on a fast track to this happening. Having the opportunity to join at such a pivotal time for the business is an amazing opportunity.  The traditional and digital walls are collapsing and the integration between KINESSO, Initiative and UM unmatched to what I'd seen elsewhere.  On reflection, how could you not be attracted to KINESSO and the opportunity!

What do you love most about your role?

I love that I can make a difference, whether that is with a team member, a client, or our work.  My role spans all three and I have the opportunity to really get stuck in and create change.  With regards to the team, it's the nurturing of our future leaders.  I work with some amazing people, to see them grow into their potential is immensely heart filling. As they step up, you seen a continual improvement in the work, which then impacts the client and the relationship that we can build by helping our clients achieve their goals. Win!


Gipi Gopinath

Gipi Gopinath - Head of Experience and Operations

What do you love most about your role?

As I mentioned above, technology is critical to how we power the work we do, and it's exciting to bring Assisted Intelligence, and soon full Artificial intelligence, into our work. But it's the people that get me out of bed each day. The opportunity to mentor and support an incredibly talented team; to watch them be challenged, to meet challenges head on and come out stronger, and ultimately to excel in their respective areas is immensely fulfilling. Whether it's leading a successful client meeting, receiving positive feedback, or innovating on new product, their achievements drive our collective success.

I also thrive in KINESSO's collaborative environment.  We are a big agency, and so that gives access to a diverse array of skill sets across the company. Digital channels are converging like never before, there are changes in the privacy landscape, there are new social channels still popping up, and retail media and commerce continues to show rapid growth - all this expertise, ideas, debates, and access can only exist in an agency the size of KINESSO, so it's good to be back home.

What does a typical day look like for you?

As the Head of Experience & Operations, my day-to-day schedule is a blend of strategic planning, team collaboration, and client interaction. I try to start most days bringing our many Sydney & Melbourne teams together, even virtually, to ensure we feel connected in our work and culture. I then delve into performance metrics for our clients, looking for key wins and interesting trends that we might want to prioritise. From there, the “typical day” can quickly change to atypical!

Sometimes I lead brainstorming sessions exploring ways to diversify our Experience offerings, or to explore upcoming shifts in how users are interacting with brands and search portals - and what that may mean for clients. Other times, I focus on optimising workflows to ensure the team have the maximum space and time to do great work, and to challenge their current ways of thinking. This involves mentoring team members, developing Personal Development Plans, and fostering cross-client collaboration across patches.

Finally, a big part of my role is in the product marketing of our craft, ensuring teams around Mediabrands understand and are inspired by what we do, for their clients. So, I always make space for researching the changing nature of search, user journeys, algorithms, and website best practice.

What attracted you to KINESSO?

What attracted me back to KINESSO, making me a proud member of the "boomerang team," was the compelling culture and the inspiring vision of our senior leadership. I genuinely believe the collaborative and innovative environment at KINESSO is unmatched - the agency provides a sense of belonging and continuous growth, and in a world of technology, it's important to me that it cares about people. There is also a forward-thinking approach and commitment to excellence demonstrated by our leadership team that reaffirmed my decision to return. So, in short, it is a culture of passion, innovation, and strategic vision as to what makes KINESSO truly exceptional, and why I am excited to contribute to our shared success once again.

What are you focused on for 2024?

Two things - first that search, and what search and SEO mean, is being challenged more than ever. Search is no longer just Google, but it is anywhere a consumer or audience can begin their journey of discovery - and that's increasingly social, visual search, AI driven chatbots and more. Whilst the core basics of SEO apply to all, where our team experiments, where clients need to play, and the tools that we now need to consider are growing rapidly. That's an exciting direction for how I breathe life into a craft that many still pass off as technical and transactional!

The second area is how I develop and build the future talent. The Experience team has a variety of cultural backgrounds, people who started their careers remotely during COVID, and those that see the workplace as a different destination than maybe my generation are used to. Understanding how I can continue to build a high-performance culture, foster collaboration at scale, enable work-life flexibility and embrace the continued feeling of 'change' is critical for ensuring I build the leaders of tomorrow.


Hope Williams

Hope Williams - Head of Commerce

What are you focused on for 2024?

Firstly, it's around building robust systems and standardising our workflows to maximise output and minimise inefficiencies. Secondly, education is a key focus. We aim to infuse commerce thinking into all opportunities to give our clients a competitive advantage. For us, every increment counts - if we inspire one person or client to learn more, that's a win! Lastly, I am working to diversify our offering by developing new products and strengthening the partnerships we have with our Commerce and Retail vendors in the market, so we can deliver exceptional work for our brands. We hustle, we're not afraid to get our hands dirty, and every day brings something new. It's been a wild and rewarding year so far!

What do you love most about your role?

Commerce is evolving at breakneck speed; driven by new technologies, shifting consumer behaviours, and escalating brand expectations. This rapid evolution makes it a hotbed for innovation and disruption. It means I'm playing analyst, builder but also consultant, as brands want to understand how to monetise their own data, and new ecosystems are opening up that collapse the funnel and drive purchase at all stages. We are developing new global products from Australia, and I get to be surrounded by intelligent minds across product, engineering and technology. I might be biased, but I'm leading the most exciting area of marketing today.

What's the biggest challenge in your role?

Being in hot demand can definitely be challenging with marketers! First is education - commerce spans marketplaces, retail media, social commerce and D2C. The space was given a shot of adrenaline through COVID, and so there are industry-wide knowledge gaps across the technology stacks, the partners and the commercial opportunities. For inhouse teams, they are often faced with a wave of possibility but no time to strategise and plan where to place their big bets. So in short, my role is to remain the most educated and connected asset for our teams and our clients. Secondly, it's also an area that has converged into many other channels and capabilities - we are working with teams across influencer, programmatic, experience, search advertising and more. My team and I need to ensure we are connected into the full marketing ecosystem, as Commerce is so much more than just one channel!

What does a typical day look like for you?

It's a while since I had a typical day in adland! But often I'm focused on client consultations, internal training, working with our global teams and supporting my own team's growth. We are currently building an industry first product which means we are working with a number of key innovation partners, clients and internal teams - something I'm super proud of to ensure Australia is always on the map as a global powerhouse.


Kellyn Coetzee

Kellyn Coetzee - Head of AI & Insights

What does a typical day look like for you?

Starts with coffee, because media, right?

It's a whirlwind of research, distilling the latest announcements, and developments into departmental impacts, digestible insights & actions. My role needs to make sure I'm quickly building the expertise of all our teams internally, with also turning that into client-facing advice and considerations. I'm constantly honing my critical thinking skills - is this new tech something worthwhile for investment, what are the guardrails for this new capability, is this opinion in market something that holds truth - and how do I employ storytelling so it doesn't just sound like a sentence of jargon and hieroglyphics. We also have a large investment globally in AI, so much of my time is working closely with New York to democratise our propriety tech across the teams.

What's the biggest challenge in your role?

The genie is out of the bottle, it won't be going back in, and everyone is coming forward with their wishes! I'm lucky to be one of the few agency roles dedicated to AI in Australia, and so being an expert with this much change, but with a minimal peer group from which to discuss and learn from has its challenges for sure. It's also a technology that touches on everyone's lives, personally and professionally, so everyone has an opinion! It truly is the cliché of building the plane... and so I focus on learning as I educate others, and building as I design

What do you love most about your role?

Being at the forefront of this technological revolution is exhilarating! It's like having a front-row seat at the most exciting show in town. It's not just about the tech - it's about the people. I love getting to work across all departments and client brands. AI is a tool that will shape the future of our work, and I get to be a part of that. It's an immense privilege and a responsibility I don't take lightly.

What are you focused on for 2024?

2024 is all about 'democratising AI and increasing AI literacy' by spreading the knowledge, building the skills, and making our tools accessible to all. We're focusing on embedding AI into our company's DNA, creating a culture beyond competency and driving innovation, experimentation from very department. Futureproofing our people and their careers, whether they are in KINESSO or outside the business is something we are all passionate about.

What attracted you to KINESSO?

As far as performance excellence goes, in the market, KINESSO (or Reprise back when I joined) had a formidable reputation and I wanted to work for the best. There was a perfect role that opened up and even though it was a contract role, I couldn't say no.  Since then, I've been able to do work that complements my skillset and passions and even though the company has gone through significant change, KINESSO has been as adaptable to me as I have been to KINESSO. I very grateful to continue doing work that motivates, inspires, and challenges me in all the right ways.

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

Read more about these related brands, agencies and people

comments powered by Disqus