Byravee Iyer
Sep 16, 2014

SapientNitro expands strategy team with unlikely hires

SINGAPORE – Claiming it is reinventing the strategy role to meet client demands, SapientNitro has made a trio of new appointments in Singapore.

L-R: Trimboli, Widjanarko, Cook, Collins
L-R: Trimboli, Widjanarko, Cook, Collins

The new appointees are Simon Collins, Andrew Trimboli and Ari Widjanarko, all of whom will report to Melanie Cook, head of strategy. What’s unique about these appointments is that none of the new people have traditional agency experience.

Ex-journalist Trimboli has spent the last 15 years creating content for the likes of The Sydney Morning Herald, Vogue, SingTel and Orbitz Worldwide. His role is to find the stories brands should become part of and what content it will take to get them there. Widjanarko is a design expert and has worked for Lane Crawford, Citibank and Richemont. Finally, Collins has a business consultancy background with Accenture and Asia Rooms; he will work to ensure the people, processes and technology are in place to deliver business results, according to the agency.

Cook said the move isn’t a sudden revolution, but a realisation that the agency needed new skillsets. Most of the strategy written today uses the Internet as a new place to disseminate old 360 thinking, she said. “A pre-roll is a TV ad online,” Cook said. “A banner is a rotating press ad and social media is the new competition response mechanism. To transform a business, you need the skills of a brand planner, a journalist, an architect and a business consultant.”

Cook said the trio will be able to reinvent the traditional strategy job by “democratising the role and becoming a part of the consumer community”. “It’s about shared value, purpose and ensuring the brand is delivering to you at a higher level,” she said. The ultimate hope is to build a team that is able to transform a business, she added.

Cook said there are plans to expand the strategy team, but did not elaborate further.

“If brands really want to transform their business they need to use technology and the internet to productise their service or augment their products with services,” Kim Douglas, MD, SapientNitro said about the new appointment. “Think Google and Google Glass. Think Nike and Nike+”.


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