Chief Executive Officer
Born: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Worked in: Chicago, Miami and Latin America
Key Clients include: Works across all of Spark’s clients including Harpo Studios, E*TRADE, ConAgra Foods and many more.
Why do people see you as an innovator? From his first day at Leo Burnett Media nearly 25 years ago, Chris quickly became known as “one to watch.” His drive and dedication is unmatched and he brings forth those same qualities in those who work with him. What makes him so incredibly innovative is his ability to lead a large organization – setting (and reaching) big picture goals – yet still remaining close and relevant to the day-to-day that is so vital to our clients’ business goals and our team’s growth and success. He understands that our industry is one that must constantly re-invent itself. Gone are the days of simply buying media space for a brand, Chris is paving the way for Spark to truly create brand experiences that will not only captivate people, but allow them to opt in to brands that inspire them.
Where Chris goes, people follow. People who have worked for Chris in the past always want to join him in whatever new venture he is pursuing. From media strategy and investment, to business development, to leading operations in both the U.S. and Latin America, Chris is always putting himself in new, often challenging situations, where he must adapt and innovate. Although he has worked for the same company for his entire career, his role (and business card) has gone through several iterations.
Name an innovative idea or business solution for which you are most proud. Chris has contributed to numerous, highly-successful business solutions on behalf of clients throughout his career, but one of the most unique (and recent) examples is how his team took a “people” approach to search marketing for a hotel client. They studied peoples’ search behaviors versus clicks and realigned their search strategy with real life habits. It made sense and made a real difference to the client’s bottom line in a positive way.
What role does innovation play in your marketing strategy today? As the CEO of a company whose star is on the rise, Chris’ main focus is fostering growth in every sense of the word. Whether he’s working to welcome new clients to our roster, supporting individual and team growth, growing Spark’s global capabilities or taking the company softball team out for drinks, Chris is invested in building a solid team with the most talented people in the business.
He has great passion for unconventional thinking and surrounds himself with those who challenge the standard as well. By focusing on team development and the unique perspective they bring to the mix, Chris is adept in helping Spark become a major power-brand within SMG.
What is the biggest challenge you face in applying innovative thinking to international projects?
As Chris works to develop and grow Spark’s global presence, he faces new challenges each day. Ensuring that our company’s client service and reputation are consistent among markets is top priority. His reputation for challenging convention precedes him, and often draws several opportunities his way. Perhaps the greatest challenge he faces is that he doesn’t have enough hours in the day to pursue every project in which he’s passionate about. Chris was appointed to the SMG Global Management Group where his 25-year tenure in the business is relied upon to help contribute to major decisions and initiatives that affect the global operation.
Dictionary definitions aside, how would you characterize innovation in the work you do? As the media landscape evolves, Chris knows his approach in leading a cutting-edge company must change as well. He doesn’t necessarily set out to be innovative; rather it is something innate within in. He is never satisfied with “good enough.” He truly wants to create what’s next whether it’s new, digital offerings that directly change the way our clients approach their business, to investing in untraditional talent, beyond advertising and media, which can help propel Spark into a company that clients look to partner with versus one that simply places ads.
Any internationalist trivia about yourself? Chris was a character on NBC’s daytime drama Passions. Well, to clarify, “Chris Boothe” was. A friend of his was a writer for the program and he created the character Chris Boothe – an advertising executive who left his job in Chicago, Illinois to move to Port Charles (the fictional town in which Passions was based.)