Jessica Goodfellow
Apr 26, 2021

UK digital agency Brainlabs bets on APAC

EXCLUSIVE: Agency has hired iProspect's Mark Fagan to lead its ambitious Asia-Pacific plans as it targets seven offices within four years.

Mark Fagan
Mark Fagan

UK-headquartered digital marketing agency Brainlabs is betting on Asia-Pacific for its future growth, believing that in a region that "is currently fragmented with no standout players", it can be a market leader within five years.

Brainlabs has hired iProspect's global chief operating officer Mark Fagan to facilitate this vision. He joins as APAC CEO and will relocate to Singapore, which has been chosen as the site of the agency's first APAC office.

Fagan previously led iProspect's business in APAC for three years, where he was responsible for growing the business from approximately 400 people to over 1,000 across 18 offices. In 2017 he relocated back to Dublin to lead EMEA, and was promoted to a global leadership role in 2019. Fagan served with the Dentsu performance agency for nearly 10 years.

The digital agency veteran has been tasked with rapidly growing Brainlabs' APAC footprint. A spokesperson for the agency told Campaign Asia-Pacific Brainlabs wants APAC to outgrow its Europe and North American businesses within four years, with plans to open six more offices after Singapore. It wants to be the number one digital agency in APAC within five years.

It said that its 'Test & Earn' approach, using experimentation-led marketing to drive more profit for clients, is "in high demand in APAC".

Fagan said: "I’m excited to replicate Brainlabs’ people and proposition-led success in a region that is a true growth engine of digital and will be for many years to come."

Fagan reports to global managing director Matt Adams, who called Fagan a "skilled and proven operator who has built fast growth cultures with incredible results".

"His digital marketing prowess and regional knowledge is going to supercharge our business in APAC," Adams noted.

Brainlabs founder Daniel Gilbert added that Fagan brings with him an "amazing" combination of digital expertise, track record and knowledge of the APAC market".

The digital agency has been on an expansion spree since it sold a minority stake of its business to private equity company Livingbridge in 2019. Since then it has acquired US paid search shop Hanapin Marketing, SEO specialist Distilled and CRO experts User Conversion.

Earlier this year it hired another iProspect alumni, Jeremy Cornfeldt, as its first US CEO, and appointed former Mindshare MD Jo Lyall as its UK CEO.

Former Googler Gilbert founded Brainlabs in 2012 after identifying an opportunity to build a more scientific, experimentation-led approach to digital marketing. It now employs around 400 staff and scored eight out of 10 in Campaign UK's School Reports 2021. Brainlabs' key clients include FormulaOne,  American Express, Samsung and Ebay.

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