Media All Star: Colin Kinsella

What do you do after a career making and shaping some of the most innovative and distinctive digital agencies in the world — companies like Razorfish and Digitas? If you’re Colin Kinsella, you take on the task of transforming one of the biggest traditional media services agencies into the best of all media worlds: traditional, digital, content, analytics and practices yet to be defined.

Kinsella, who is still only a couple of years into his role as CEO of Mindshare North America, has already had a profound effect, reimagining the modern day media shop around the concept of “adaptive marketing” — a world in which nothing is constant, everything changes constantly, and each one of those developments is a potential challenge or opportunity for traditional brand marketers and their agencies.

Two years after taking that challenge on, Kinsella’s vision is becoming a reality, as he has transformed Mindshare’s leadership teams — and its rank-and-file — to begin thinking iteratively, and the mantra of adaptive marketing now permeates everything the agency does, with a focus on speed, data science and creativity.

The centerpiece of his strategy was to invest in the resources necessary to give Mindshare a competitive advantage in seeing — and thinking about — the next adaptation in media. He conceived and backed Mindshare Labs, a skunkworks team conducting R&D and creating new product offerings for Mindshare and its clients covering the gamut of next generation media technologies — and consumer experiences — including a new dedicated wearables unit, that develops and integrates biometrics and wearable data from technology and media partners to Mindshare’s clients.

It’s not all bright, shiny things for Kinsella who is also rooted in a performance marketing past, and that was reflected in his formation of “Shop+,” a new retail and e-commerce unit at Mindshare leveraging a seamless approach to online and offline marketing for the agency’s brands.

Kinsella also keeps an eye on the bright, shiny future, and conceived “Sensory+,” a new Mindshare unit dedicated to sensory experiences like audio and virtual reality.

But perhaps the most significant innovation of his first two years at Mindshare was the development of the agency’s “Invention Studio,” a hub for developing and testing creativity in media, as well as its Marketing Sciences group, which is the yin to the studio’s yang, providing a disciplined, scientific approach to data, modeling and analytics.

One of the best manifestations of that has been the creation of Loop, a powerful social analytics platform that is differentiated from those of other shops, because it doesn’t just look at the impact of so-called “earned” or “owned” media, but explicitly focuses on how it can be leveraged via “paid,” which after all, is the lifeblood of any good media agency.

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