"Conversation is the new brand currency," asserts Kenwood Experiences president Daniel Pinkham. "Brands can't afford to just talk at consumers. They need to engage them in a personal, ongoing conversation, which means changing the rules of engagement."
In a nod to this shifting reality, The Kenwood Group in San Francisco has reorganized, adding new people and capabilities, and rebranded to become Kenwood Experiences.
Says CEO Christina Crowley, "Over 30 years, Kenwood built its reputation as a highly creative agency." Explaining the shift to a comprehensive, brand experience agency, Crowley says, "Recently we took a step back, looked critically at the marketplace, and saw a huge need for more targeted, personalized, and multi-channel approaches to engaging with customers. Traditional agencies aren't structured to think this way. For us, it plays right to our strengths. So we've invested in new staff and expertise to seize this opportunity."
Kenwood's rebrand is indeed substantial. The agency has built a highly capable executive team and brought in new talent across a range of disciplines.
Brand strategist Nico van Praag is now Chief Strategy Officer. Nico's resume includes notable branding work at agencies such as Sterling Brands, Venables Bell, Goodby Silverstein & Partners and AKQA, developing strategy for marquee clients including Audi, Xbox, Nike and Visa. "You can't create impactful creative experiences without laying the strategic foundation," says van Praag. "If you're not advancing a clear, relevant brand message, you're just throwing money away."
Jim Samalis, Executive Creative Director, brings wide-ranging experience including creative leadership assignments for advertising and communication agencies as well as an ECD role for the Robin Hood Foundation in New York. "My goal has been to build a creative team of talented individuals with incredibly diverse creative backgrounds. Kenwood can now develop great creative in a variety of media and expand our live events expertise into new realms."
A dedicated and bigger Client Services department is led by Peter Weiss, who brings more than 25 years of experience at Grey, Havas and other notable agencies. Among the many B2B and B2C accounts he has overseen globally are P&G, Dell, Agilent, Mattel, Glaxo SmithKline, and American Express.
Director of Production, John Emmaneel, brings extensive brand marketing experience to Kenwood. Building on the talent of staffers who helped build the agency's reputation, John has added new talent and expertise to the production department.
"As a result of all these changes," says agency president Pinkham, "look for groundbreaking brand experiences coming from Kenwood across a range of verticals; work that spans traditional, live, and digital channels to trigger ongoing conversations with consumers."