Media All-StarsA dozen of the most talented, innovative media point people for leading brands
Michael Hayes, President, Digital Communications, Initiative
It’s not every day that an agency firmly rooted in television ad buys makes the seamless transition to digital. But under the leadership of digital communications president Michael Hayes, one agency, Initiative, did just that.
Capitalizing on the explosive digital marketplace, Hayes oversees Initiative’s digital practice both in the U.S. and globally, growing the fledgling side of the business into a robust, 200-person team. Since 2004, Hayes has helped secure blue-chip clients such as Lionsgate, Hyundai/Kia and MillerCoors. He’s also beefed up Initiative’s social media unit while infusing an innovative culture into Initiative’s day-to-day operations.
Hayes has also been integral in the launch and growth of Prophesee, a Web platform that monitors brand perception across social media. Incubated at Initiative, Prophesee is now a stand-alone unit overseen by Hayes that provides social and Web monitoring for tracking brand sentiment and analytics.
At Initiative, Hayes’ digital focus has increased YOY digital revenue by better than 500 percent. Significantly, it has also positioned Initiative for a future that is sure to be dominated by digital and mobile sales. (The market research firm Mintel projects online ad revenue will surpass television by 2017.)
For Hayes, the agency’s transition to a digital focus has been daunting but essential in a changing media environment. “The world of media and marketing has gotten so complex that there is no better time than now for agencies to understand and help brands seeking a strategy to navigate this digital world,” he explains.
Going forward, Hayes plans to evolve Initiative’s digital imprint across the agency.
As he sees it, “I would argue as a whole that there needs to be more digital focus and also more of a switch from the traditional ‘buy agency’ to a more holistic marketing firm where ideas are generated and brands are built.” —Charlie Warzel