Born: I was born in Madrid, although neither
of my parents is Spanish; my father is American and my mother is Swedish. They met
in Spain while my father was living there for work and my mother was visiting on holiday
when she lived in Paris – and they’ve been there ever since! (So I speak Spanish, English, Swedish and French.)
Worked in: Spain, the US, and the UK. Travels extensively across MPG’s global network.
Name an innovative idea or business solution for which you are most proud. There are two recent business achievements of which I am incredibly proud. First, I led the global team that won Hyundai-Kia’s global media business this past spring. This is now the most important account for our international business and the largest in terms of billings. It also has great potential to continue to grow. We won this account in large part due to the client’s desire for innovation and our ability to demonstrate our capabilities to make it a reality.
Secondly, I am proud of my lead role in the global launch of MPG International (MPGi), in effect turning one of our company’s “hidden gems”—excellent local market expertise—into its own global powerhouse and standalone business unit. Now present in eight countries around the world, including the US, Germany, Italy, Brazil,
Singapore, France, Spain and the UK, MPGi is one of the shining points of our global agency network, and is the hub of international strategic coordination + client innovation. In support of this mission, we established MPGi’s first Executive Committee, which was charged with developing a common global strategy for the brand. Under careful stewardship, MPGi continues to expand into other global markets.
What role does innovation play in your marketing strategy today? Innovation is critical to our marketing strategy. If we don’t innovate in the way we go to market, we don’t stand out, and thus we can’t make our clients stand out.
Our challenge every day is to first facilitate an agency environment that fosters innovation and creative thinking, and then to translate and execute the best ideas across markets. Only through successful execution can we really demonstrate the value of innovation in marketing strategy.
What is the biggest challenge you face in applying innovative thinking to international projects? Implementation. Often, clients say they want new thinking and innovative ideas, but when the time comes to sign off on these ideas, the client instead opts for a safe option. Some clients want to be
innovative but really only want basic planning & buying. Our challenge is to deliver on these immediate needs, while also demonstrating the value and ROI of innovation – this idea proves that you cannot solve old marketing problems with the same old solutions, and that fresh thinking is needed.
Another challenge that we have addressed is ensuring consistency and understanding of ideas and implantation across regional markets. New concepts often require additional briefing and local customization to ensure that the idea is implemented strategically and effectively across various global markets.
Dictionary definitions aside, how would you characterize innovation in the work you do? Innovation can take on many forms. Innovation means not making the obvious choice. It means taking risks and not being afraid to fail. Innovation is savoring change and feeling empowered by evolution. This means negotiating contracts differently, interacting with clients differently,
structuring deals with media owners differently and motivating teams/talent
Any other interesting aspects to your international background? I love to travel off the beaten path—and have visited all seven continents. One of my most interesting experiences was in Bhutan in Southeast Asia. Bhutan’s leadership charts the country’s success through a Gross Happiness Index, a systemic recognition of the importance of each citizen’s well-being as it relates to the nation’s overall health – a good lesson for all of us..