In a shift of powers, WPP-owned retail experience agency SET promoted Alasdair Lloyd-Jones, former chief strategy officer and president, to CEO. As part of this move, agency founder Sabina Teshler will step down to take on the chairman role, while COO Kurt Kujovich will also assume the new title of president.
As CEO, Lloyd-Jones will oversee SET’s offices in Portland, Los Angeles, New York and London which service clients Nike, Verizon, Sprite and BMW. The executive rejiggering comes as SET transitions from being a production and execution shop to a full-scale brand strategy, experience ideation and design, and retail agency.
“What clients are seeking is a more holistic view on how their brands can transform into experience-led brands,” Lloyd-Jones said in a statement. “We decided now was a good time to establish a leadership structure that enables us to communicate the power of experiences to propel every part of a brand’s business and drive the development of SET to align to clients’ evolving needs.”
In June 2015, WPP acquired a majority stake in SET, which later won a large share of Verizon‘s retail marketing account without a pitch or formal review. Under WPP’s direction, SET has been focused on becoming a total retail agency, from strategy to design. Even so, the network, founded as an experiential shop, places high priority on targeting consumers through physical activations and events.
“As SET continues to experience exponential growth, we couldn’t be happier to have Alasdair lead the company,” Teshler said in a statement. “With his extensive industry experience, creativity and strategic ingenuity, he is an ideal fit to fill the position of chief executive and guide SET moving forward.”
As it looks to broaden its scope and further its dive in experiential marketing, Lloyd-Jones said SET will come across several challenges, including “the adoption of the language of brand experience by all types of agencies.”
“It reminds me of the early days of the digital era where many costly mistakes were experienced and this slowed the progress of digital adoption among marketers,” Lloyd-Jones noted. “Our job is to ensure clients get the expertise they need when they make the leap into this space. It’s bigger than us alone, so we want to ensure that the category is well-served and its growth is sustained.”
Lloyd-Jones joined SET three years ago because he said he was attracted to the agency’s experiential work, which forced him to “unlearn” all the traditional practices he mastered. Prior to SET, Lloyd-Jones held positions at Big Spaceship, Cutwater, Ogilvy and Publicis.
SET was formed eight years ago to cater to its prime client, Nike. The agency handles such campaigns for Nike as its annual NBA All-Star Weekend, one of the athletic apparel brand’s biggest sales events of the year.