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Portfolio du KzA
Transcript of Portfolio du KzA
Bertlesmann Music Group (BMG)
While studying Computer Science at the University of North Carolina, I wrote a business plan for a music-focused community project that landed me an internship with BMG. I thought that I was going to be hawking "12 CDs For a Penny" on campuses in the Southeast like the town crier, but I very quickly went from geek to 'BMOC' when the real job description came through.
After designing a breakthrough promotion for an A Tribe Called Quest album release and the ensuing Smokin' Grooves Tour, I was promoted to national College Marketing Coordinator and NE Field Marketing Manager at the request of the band and their label. These were all firsts for the BMG College Marketing Rep programs. Tribe was my absolute favorite Hip Hop group at the time; so, I was out of my mind excited about all of that.
national college marketing coordinator
NE Field Marketing Manager
After several successful BMG+Nike cross promotions I had initiated gained traction and exposure amongst Nike brand teams, Brand Jordan approached me with an opportunity. This was the year Brand Jordan would launch officially and entertainment marketing would be a huge part of the plan. I went independent, continuing to work with BMG's grassroots programs while building an entertainment marketing strategy and plan for the man, the myth, the legend. I also landed a contract with Marithe+Francois Girbaud after laying out a strategy for them that would enhance their domestic push.
In 1999 I was recruited to Edelman Public Relations Worldwide by the former Director of Corporate Communications at Brand Jordan. Seizing the opportunity to learn another facet of an industry that has treated me so well to this point, I joined as an Account Executive and Inter-agency Marketing Manager, helping to build, brand and socialize the new Edelman Diversity Solutions practice throughout the agency.
Early in 2001, shortly after winning my first PRSA award for my work on the BN.com launch, I fielded a new business inquiry from an upstart athletic shoe company that was looking to turn one of its multimedia promotional properties into a full-fledged branded entertainment experience. Edelman was on the list because of its global heft and PR expertise. Edelman typically would have turned down an opportunity like this - urban, production heavy, challenger brand - not really the agency's modus operandi. Lucky for AND1, I took that call. I knew the brand, knew the property and loved their gumption. After working with my boss to convince the powers-that-be to take this one on, I developed and led the winning pitch, and went on to create the AND1 Mix Tape Tour.
I worked tirelessly to build relationships between account, media, engagement and creative, to bring truly integrated creative community there that would develop and take holistic ideas to the agency's clients. I created new ways to engage media partners around a client's strategic goals. I inspired creative team partnership with media to make sure the client's dollars stretched further and that the ideas worked harder in the media outlets in which they are placed. I partnered with account planning and account service to lubricate the way for new presentation methods and tools that helped creative teams stretch their minds. This all paved the way for my practice, Engagement Marketing, to play a much bigger role, and even lead strategic and creative development at Burrell. A change that was more than welcome in the client's halls and led to more opportunity for the practice, fueling 180% growth in revenues during my time there.
Cadbury Schweppes (CSAB) recruits me into their Americas Beverages sponsorship marketing division in 2005 to help bring some of the partnership acumen I had developed into their lexicon. As enthusiastic as all parties are, this is not a great fit on either side. I learned a lot that year, namely that there are some environments where innovation is a department and not a culture, and rightfully so. The experience made me much more discerning when it comes to approaching partnerships. I also learned more about listening at CSAB than I had at any other point in my career.
I left Cadbury to join Momentum Worldwide after emerging as a final candidate for a position with one of the agency's premier clients. My seamless (and rogue) integration of new media and social interaction tools into client relations raises a flag with global management that I'm not the average account guy. As a result, I am quickly transitioned from Global Account Director to a role integrating the agency's digital practice and a newly acquired creative arm with the traditional departments (biz dev, account, sponsorship strategy and live event production).
This effort evolves into the crafting of an integrated operations ideal that would soon become the lighthouse strategic identity for the entire agency. PHYGITAL is a term coined by the CCO at Momentum to define the Physical+Digital-ness of the ideas my partner and I were developing for a soon-to-be-won global pitch. The term was then turned over to us by the CCO and Chairman to imbue with substance and to make it a strategic cornerstone for the agency—a rallying cry and identifier for the way Momentum will work, create and produce moving forward.
To fuel the manifestation and integration of that ideal into the everyday lexicon of Momentum's workflow, I built and took on global leadership of Phygital R+D—a practice that partners, consults and invents with clients, internal creative and production teams. Phygital R+D was about setting the pace and helping its partners understand what is possible when innovation, ingenuity, and resource intersect with-and create opportunity. The tools, products and demos the practice developed and sold were some of the most forward-thinking and inventive solutions ever seen coming from a marketing services firm. I teamed with global training and development leadership to integrate the Phygital Ideal into agency orientation, built a stand-alone training unit, and also crafted the masthead dialogue that would live at the updated momentumww.com - exposing Phygital to the world.
OK, seriously. This guy just fell into marketing. First he's touring with and promoting the likes of Outkast, Dave Matthews Band, Toni Braxton and Yanni (oh yes). His favorite band literally demands he gets a promotion based on one seriously slick campaign...and then within 3 years he’s consulting with Nike, strategizing for the hottest sneaker brand to EVER hit the streets and running in the shadow of the "Black Cat." I'm just sayin'...
You do remember this dude was a computer geek not so long ago. I mean, he wanted to design video games and do animated movies like 'Finding Nemo!' And now he's at THE PR shop. We didn't even know he could write—beyond ASCII code, that is...Seriously!
HOLD ON ONE SEC! The AND1 Mix Tape Tour?! The one that ran for 6 successful seasons as a reality show on ESPN2? The one that Mountain Dew and TRUTH and Activision sponsored for multiple years to reach the moving target that is urban youth? The tour that went global, hit 5 different continents and was also turned into 2 different video games by two different developers? Do you know how much it costs to create a video game? And AND1 didn't even have to pay for it! That's how powerful a property the Mix Tape Tour was. Mountain Dew was even doing national advertising and merchandising campaigns featuring tour talent. It was crazy success!
I mean, has there ever been anything like that?
I didn't even mention that simultaneous to the 2001 Summer Tour, Kamau also stewarded AND1's first international effort taking athlete Kevin Garnett to 5 cities in Europe and the UK to help build the brand overseas. Nor did I mention that he wore [this] suit in Madrid!
Are you following this? Promotions and Entertainment wunderkind turns Public Relations and Brand Experience maven. And then he tackles advertising and turns a traditional shop into an integrated communications dynamo. Oh, and his strategic leadership led to the creation of another reality show while he was there. One that the network decided to invest in and develop themselves in partnership with Kamau's team to help attract the client to the idea. It only aired for one season, but some shows don't even make it that long...
OK, ok. You can't win them all...
(but when you talk to Kamau's former CSAB colleagues, you'll think he did.)
So it all comes full circle. You knew the geek would be back, didn't you. Finding a beautiful blend of passions and experience as he blends his love of technology with his zest for solutioneering. Changing an agency culture, and building a catalyst practice to back up the big words.
I like this guy a lot, and I think you will too...
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Happy zooming! -KzA
Kamau Akabueze is a Collaboration Catalyst.
Throughout a career spent predominantly in strategic communications and experience design (within and beyond the browser), Kamau has consistently expanded the boundaries of what his clients and his teams thought they could accomplish because he looks through a lens and lives in a world where the possibilities are boundless.
Kamau’s insightful perspective, keen ear, and analytic DNA have led to the development of breakthrough ideas, strategic partnerships and properties that have always exceeded expectations and broadened points of view. His dynamic breadth of agency and corporate experience have helped shape him into an innovative problem solver, creative catalyst, and staunch advocate for collaborative design.
Kamau has led strategy, creative and campaign development as an agent for or employee of American Express, Toyota, AND1, Nike/Brand Jordan, Verizon, Microsoft, General Mills, P&G, Coca-Cola, BMG, Edelman PR Worldwide, GMR Marketing, Cadbury Schweppes, Burrell Communications, Momentum Worldwide and more.
2003 finds me being recruited to Burrell Communications group in Chicago. The AND1 Mix Tape Tour had become a fairly self-sustaining licensing bonanza, so I took what I learned to the ad world. I was brought into Burrell to run their engagement marketing practice by a former Edelman colleague. However, after coming off building one of the most successful integrated marketing properties of all time, it stood out immediately that Burrell was not as integrated as it could be amongst the agency's internal practices.
-download my traditional resume-
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-SEE THROUGH MY LENS-