SVP, Global Digital Director, Starcom USA, New York
Born: Harare, Zimbabwe
Worked in: Warren has been based in Johannesburg and Capetown, South Africa; London and New York
Key Clients include: Samsung
Name an innovative idea or business solution for which you are most proud. SAMSUNG’S FIRST EVER GLOBAL DIGITAL PARTNERSHIPS: Lead the negotiation and agreement for Samsung’s first ever Global Digital Media Upfront Deals with Google, Facebook and Microsoft to enable global scale, efficiencies and exclusive value.
“In mid-year 2011, I presented a vision to Samsung’s senior media team in Seoul, Korea that showed the value of developing long-term strategic partnerships with large global digital publishers. We suggested investigating partnerships that would bring 15%-20% overall extra value to Samsung in their dealings with key global digital publishers. This was a unique concept to Samsung as they historically preferred to work in short or medium term media relationships, based on campaign activity, rather than long term partnerships.
My team and I convinced Samsung to take the leap, and thus ensued 7 months of identifying partners, collating financial commitments across 40+ markets, negotiating terms with potential partners, and contractually securing the terms. When it was all said and done, we achieved the first truly global partnerships across Google, Facebook and Microsoft within the consumer electronics category.
By mid-2012, the value returned back from the partnerships were so well received that Samsung and Starcom have established an annual partnership investigation and negotiation season where potential annual partnerships will be assessed and negotiated.”
Why do people see you as an innovator? “I get things done. I have the ability to identify where gaps and opportunities lie within global digital strategies and methodologies, and put plans in place to take advantage of the opportunities. I bring key people together to ensure effective execution of defined strategies. I collate and refine knowledge/learning, and share insights with my agency teammates and my client through training, summits and electronically.”
What role does innovation play in your marketing strategy today? Innovation is core to all that we do on the Samsung account. In the hyper-fast paced and highly competitive landscape of consumer electronics, we need to continually innovate or we get left behind. This applies not only to product development, but to all aspects of the business, including the media strategies and marketing operations. Starcom is Samsung’s largest global strategic partner in the media and communications space, so we need to be continuously ahead of the innovation curve, and pushing Samsung to plan forward.
What is the biggest challenge you face in applying innovative thinking to international projects? Regions and markets have differing levels of marketing/media maturity, so a big challenge is to ensure we understand what “innovation” means to those regions and markets. By defining the baseline of where they are at a given point, we can then plan innovation strategies, customized for particular regions and markets.
Any other interesting aspects to your international background? I come from a very global family. My father is British (immigrated to South Africa) and my mother is Irish. I started travelling globally at a young age and have always defined myself as more of a global citizen rather than belonging to a single country. My wife is from Dutch and French decent.
I travelled Europe on a “shoe-string” in my mid-20’s for about a year, working odd-jobs, travelling by train and “thumb,” experiencing cultures hands-on in tiny towns as well as iconic cities. This formed a foundation for how I approach global business today.
Any internationalist trivia about yourself? Most “road warriors” are proud of the fact that they can pack lightly (preferably keeping it to carry-on size). I am the opposite and tend to travel heavy – I like choice and to be prepared for any eventuality.