Allen & Gerritsen (A&G) is creating a new Engagement & Innovation practice and has named George Ward to spearhead it. He's been promoted to Chief Engagement and Innovation Officer.
In his new role, Ward will work with all agency departments to boost consumer engagement with clients’ brands in the marketplace.
In addition to leading engagement strategy Ward will now oversee A&G’s social strategy, user experience, media, production, development and technology departments while continuing his work on clients such as XFINITY and Sunoco. Ward also leads the shop’s A&G Labs, a think tank unit.
Ward will also work closely with A&G's new chief creative officer Jen Putnam to insure that experimentation is a more widespread part of the agency’s culture.
"I think that marketing as an industry is too siloed and overly concerned with trying to label where work comes from and where it best fits in an org chart," says Ward. "Our clients were once CMOs but now they’re also CTOs, and COOs, and folks in charge of physical spaces."
His vision is for the agency and its clients to "be comfortable with the gray area that defines your role versus mine. I’m okay with it being a little weird as we blend, so long as we have talented people, with amazing tools at their disposal, collaborating to come up with the best possible solutions for our clients."
Ward has recruited Timothy Parcell from SapientNitro to become VP Experience Planning. Parcell will work out of the agency's Boston office. "My main responsibility is playing the role of the customer voice in a room," says Parcell. "Really that means I am here to partner across all the disciplines within the agency to fan our obsession with brand audiences and synthesize it in a way that makes customers take action."
One of Parcell's first projects is an initiative called AMPERSLAM (playing off the ampersand in A&G), which is a "cross-office ideation session that broadens how we collaborate," says Parcell. "When there is a need for an AMPERSLAM, I send out an agency-wide email with the name of the client, the problem we want to solve, the date and the time, and the first 20 people to respond lock in a seat. By agency-wide – I mean it. Every discipline. Every department. Every level. Every location. This enables us to get to ideas that are creative, diverse, and oftentimes unexpected."