Redscout Welcomes Jules McKeen as Chief Revenue Officer in London

Today at Redscout, we welcome Jules McKeen as our first Chief Revenue Officer. Based in London, Jules is tasked with ramping up business development and marketing in the UK and globally, as we continue to grow our reputation as a leader in brand-driven innovation, an “Agency to Watch” and one of the “Best Places to Work” in marketing and media.  She joins Redscout from The Talent Business in London, where she was managing partner and head of the marketing practice.
 
“We see continued opportunity to expand our offering to clients in Europe and beyond, helping brands to grow through smart thinking and design, as well as product and service invention,” said Jason Cobbold, Managing Director, Redscout London.  “Jules is a remarkable talent in our industry who can help us scout these new opportunities, and get us to the next stage of our growth.”
 
At The Talent Business, Jules led the marketing and media practice, working to place marketing leaders with businesses that are driven by creativity and innovation for commercial growth and consumer brand value.  Previously, she was founding partner and managing director of Peaks of London, a company she founded to bring stylish fashion to breastfeeding women, and then sold in 2014.  An avid writer, Jules has also served as a columnist for Smallish Magazine, and she frequently contributes guest columns to a host of different outlets.  She launched her diverse career in marketing and advertising in account management, growing her skills across positions at Grey, DDB, Lowe and Partners and TBWA, where she worked in the agencies’ London offices. 
 
“Now more than ever, brands and companies need to innovate to grow, and no other company in the European market offers the ingenuity and expertise Redscout brings to its clients,” said Jules. “I'm excited to join such a high calibre, high integrity group of people at an exciting stage in their ongoing growth.”
 
Outside the office, Jules serves as a mentor for TechStars and is an advisor to tech-driven start-ups. 
 
We are excited to have her join the Redscout team!

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Why Innovation is the Most Powerful Form of Marketing

Jason Cobbold, managing director of Redscout, argues that brands should let their business innovations do the talking

Innovation is a hallowed word. It implies the future, firsts. It defines our era’s leaders and visionaries. It promises start-up success stories and exponential business growth. And so it is no surprise that innovation is high up on most CEO’s agendas. In fact, a study by PwC found that innovation is a priority for 61% of CEOs, and that 75% of executives are concerned with not having enough ideas. 

But whilst innovation is largely seen as a growth tool, it is less commonly talked about as a brand-building tool. That’s the domain of big advertising campaigns that land enduring brand values over time, isn’t it? But what if the CMO were as concerned with innovation as their counterparts? What if the best form of marketing wasn’t, in fact, marketing? 

At Redscout we’re obsessed with how action, rather than artful rhetoric, can really change the fortunes of a brand. That’s because we believe the best way to transform people’s perceptions of a brand is to change the way they experience it. So whilst we understand the stopping power of the billboard, we believe in the lasting power of innovation. 

Service brands get this most intuitively, particularly in high-engagement categories like travel, media and hospitality. Their customers are naturally most exposed to the brand when they are actively using and experiencing it. When Norwegian Air enabled free Wi-Fi on its planes, Spotify launched its running feature and Westin Hotels introduced its Sleep Well menu, they knew improving the experience would create better perceptions of their brands. 

But what does brand-led innovation look like? And how does it differ from other innovation? To be successful, it calls for the creation of products and services through the lens of brand, focusing on innovation that delivers against the core promise. Take EE’s Juice Tubes at Glastonbury Festival, for example. The telecoms company solved for a common annoyance at festivals – losing battery, and friends because of it. Juice Tube mobile phone batteries could be bought, along with a wristband that permitted wearers to swap one dead tube for a recharged one every day. No more dead phone, no more long charge waits, all adding up to a better festival experience. A successful innovation no doubt (and one that brought in revenue through battery sales), but what elevated it to a brand-building innovation was the way it reinforced EE’s ultimate promise – to connect people. 

If it sounds limiting, brand-led innovation doesn’t have to be. In fact it can often push brands to interesting new spaces outside of the natural plays in adjacent categories. Grindr, the dating app, just launched a 29-piece collection for ‘the guy who likes to break a sweat’, full of short shorts, barely-there trunks, mesh shirts and bandanas. By recognising that the app has become a way of life for users looking to meet like-minded people, it saw an opportunity to transform a popular dating platform into a lifestyle brand. Its clothes, badged with the distinctive Grindr logo and advertised by athletic young models, reinforce that Grindr represents the lifestyle of the beautiful, body-honed and well dressed, and the app is the place to find them.

Brand-led innovation can also powerfully differentiate a brand from the competition. High-end gym Equinox has brought its expertise on high performance living to the fore by expanding into other services for the professional class. It proved out its promise within the fitness category with features such as connected cycling, mood-based class recommendations, an Apple Watch-compatible fitness app and roaming trainers on-hand for advice. And in recent years Equinox has launched a lifestyle management program, a digital magazine on fashion, food and fitness, a hotel chain, and are even set to launch a suite of nurseries in New York. By successfully bringing a unique perspective on high performance living to new categories, Equinox has created a brand that packs a punch few other gyms can.

Innovation not only has the power to reinforce perceptions of a brand, but to also evolve them. Gatorade, the sports drinks company, had become a product associated as much with hangovers as health, when they partnered with Redscout to drive growth from a brand-shifting innovation strategy. We conducted in-depth research with athletes on playing fields, at gyms and in locker rooms, discovering that no brand was holistically providing athletes with the support needed for optimal performance before, during and after sport. We helped Gatorade create a system that could cater to the bodies of athletes throughout their regimes, and the result was the G Series: Prime, Perform and Recover. By understanding the needs of athletes, Gatorade made the shift from a sports drink company to a sports fuel company, regaining their scientific and athletic credibility, while driving the bottom line. 

When companies innovate through the lens of brand, success both builds the brand and drives growth. That’s why at Redscout we believe innovation is the most powerful form of marketing. In fact we’ve had a great many brands ask us to prove that bold statement, and 16 years on, it’s still holding up. 

This article was originally published on Contagious on August 24, 2016.

Jason Cobbold is the Managing Director of Redscout's London office.

Jason Cobbold is the Managing Director of Redscout's London office.

Scout Profiles: Ivan Kayser, Head of Strategy, New York

Ivan Kayser

Who: Ivan Kayser

Position: Head of Strategy

Where: New York

Congrats Ivan!

Ivan Kayser has been promoted as Redscout’s Head of Strategy in New York. In his new role, he will lead our strategy team in New York to invent, prototype and commercialize new products, services and experiences that help the brands we partner with achieve their potential in profound new ways. Ivan is a proven leader and innovator who has sharpened Redscout’s focus though his strategic leadership on brand partnerships like Google. He has also been a force behind helping entertainment brands like A+E and Freeform gain a deeper understanding of their audiences and unlock new revenue streams, and working with ADP to create new platforms and offerings that align with the future of work. 

“Technology, and the speed of innovation it enables, is changing the way organizations are led," said Ivan. “Understanding emerging trends, capturing patterns and identifying consumer and market insights is not just good strategy, it is critical to leading modern organizations.”

He added, “Redscout is uniquely poised to guide ambitious organizations in a challenging landscape. Our ability to capture the future in a brand idea is powerful, and our passion for inventing the future of a business or category is a superpower.”

#ScoutFacts: Ivan moved to New York 10 years ago from Paris, and he went to 13 different schools growing up.

New In Town: Empathic Design

Following is an excerpt from “New In Town: Empathic Design,” an article published in Issue No. 469 of The Journal of the London Society by Milly Derbyshire, Associate Strategist at Redscout.

The full article and issue are available to members, by signing up here.

Even in a city steeped in design history, methods are evolving that reconceive the approach to making. Originating in America, so-called "empathic" design is gaining momentum [in the United Kingdom], and changing the way companies, from start-ups to global corporations, think - not only about how they innovate, but how they relate to consumers. 

Empathic design is a way of approaching design that takes humans as its starting point, and creates solutions in response to their needs. At its core is the ability to build empathy with an individual or group of people. At its best it has the power to change the way people think, or even act. 

This approach is affecting design in London, with more and more empathic design firms setting up in Shoreditch and Clerkenwell. Many, such as SmartDesign, IDEO and Redscout, began in the U.S., and have made London their second home. They are breaking ground with innovations for today's world. Through understanding the motivations of consumers, brands are producing products intended to make life more comfortable, interesting and enjoyable. 

For Example: Redscout has worked closely with Harry's, a razor business that has embraced empathic design. Its subscription service for shaving broke into a market dominated by brands competing to provide the most technologically advanced razor, with features such as more blades, a closer shave, and a professional finish. Harry's understood that a key point about razors was not using them, but buying and replacing them. With a pared­ back but high-quality razor, and replacement ­head delivery as often as users need, Harry's has undercut its competition while creating a business model that fits users' lives. 

The London Society is for those who love London. It was founded in 1912 by a group of eminent Londoners to bring people together to debate key issues about the future of the capital - housing, roads, railways, the channel tunnel, bridges and even airports. Now over 100 years old, its journal is published twice a year. It looks at what is happening in contemporary London with features on interesting contributions to the development of the city.