Initiative, the Interpublic Group media agency, has appointed Kendra Hatcher King to the newly created role of worldwide director of insight and innovation. She starts the new job this month.
King (pictured) will focus on helping a number of the shop’s big network clients such as Unilever develop marketing programs to grow their brands. She will report directly to Richard Beaven, global CEO at Initiative.
Previously, King has served as svp and director of contextual planning at Publicis Groupe’s Starcom MediaVest Group, where she was a planning leader on the Coca-Cola North America account. The move to Initiative reunites her with Beaven, who hired her at SMG before he left in 2006. Earlier, she was an account planning director at Don Coleman Advertising (now GlobalHue).
While Initiative’s planners all focus on human insights to some degree, King will focus on the discipline full time, working closely with other members of the worldwide management team including chief strategy officer Eric Bader, Sarah Ivey, director of communications planning, and Erin Flaxman, director of marketing and business development.
“What we do is fundamentally rooted in human behavior and trying to understand it and change it,” said Beaven. The addition of King, he added, is designed to “elevate our game in terms of human insights.” He describes King as a “culture vulture,” who will be a “catalyst for innovation across the company. She brings a particularly intuitive and creative approach.”
King said she sees her role as “unleashing the power of an insight and helping organizations learn to transform insights into innovations.”
In addition to her planning role, King played a key role in shaping the SMG’ss diversity initiative and she will continue to provide input on diversity and multicultural issues at Initiative, the shop said. She is a member of the American Advertising Federation’s Mosaic Council, an industry think tank on diversity.