Sharp and fearless thinking for messy business and marketing problems.
A long track record of working independently with companies that are redefining what’s possible.
A background in clear-eyed, evidence-based, no bullshit, British-trained strategic thinking.
Big messes: muddled thinking, too much information, not enough insight.
Tough cases: brands under attack, categories is turmoil.
Low interest categories: any category can and should be interesting.
Beyond communications: fixing upstream problems upstream.
Defining a brand's cause, fight, story with a sharp, provocative edge.
Getting to ideas fast. I distrust insights that need six weeks of research to get uncovered.
Using human language to get at human truths, not marketing jargon or business-speak.
Uncovering interesting stories hiding in spreadsheets or stacks of folders.
Large teams where everyone has a say. I go quiet in rooms with 20 people talking over each other. Maybe because I grew up in a large family?
Standard brand templates with their endless tweaking of words. Trying to decide between 'refresh your life, every day' or 'refreshing vitality, daily' - shoot me.
All-day meetings. Does anyone enjoy them?
Working all the time. R&D is important, not just for corporations but for people. That’s why I only work eight months a year. The other four months are 'lab time' - time to make stuff, volunteer and learn new skills.
Brand positioning work
Business + innovation strategy
New business pitches
Communications strategy + creative briefs
Audience deep dives
SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS (New York) - Master of Fine Arts in photography
OXFORD UNIVERSITY (Oxford, UK) - BA/MA in philosophy, psychology and physiology
JWT (New York) - Group Strategy Director
BERLIN CAMERON UNITED (New York) - Partner/Chief Strategy Officer
FALLON MCELLIGOTT BERLIN (New York) - Senior Strategist
BARTLE BOGLE HEGARTY (London) - Planner
Three gold Effies, one silver and one bronze Effie, one silver Jay Chiat award, a bronze IPA Effectiveness award and a silver APG/UK award.
I grew up in a large family in a small village in the South of Germany. It’s lovely there, but I knew early on that I had to get out. I was punk, I was goth, I was shy, I was weird, I dropped out of high school. Working in a pants factory got old really fast, so I went on a German game show, made some money and ran away to London - note on pillow, early morning train, that kind of departure.
With no qualifications, no connections and dodgy English my career prospects were limited. I worked in fast food places and cafeterias for a couple of years, then decided to step up my game by learning to type and do shorthand. Working as secretary for a few years gave me the confidence to think about picking up my education. I took evening classes for a year and did my A-levels (SATs). I did pretty well, and got accepted by Oxford University, where I studied psychology and philosophy.
And then BBH London offered me the only trainee planner spot for the year. Which takes us to the beginning of my official résumé.
It’s a bit of an unusual bio, I’ll admit, but I thought it’s worth mentioning. I’ve learned a lot in those poverty years, the years of doing minimum wage jobs, where I was just another inarticulate foreigner.
Empathy - if you're forever on the outside you're forced to figure out how the rest of the world thinks and feels
Fearlessness - realizing that the only way to create change is to make big bets
Humility - respecting people from every walk of life, because they could be me, and I could be them
Gratitude - even when things are bad, it's not scrubbing toilets for three dollars an hour
Optimism - dreaming big has yet to let me down
Resourcefulness - good with spit and duct tape
In no particular order
Art - Did I mention I have a master's degree in fine art, specialization photography (done at SVA a few years ago)? That means I'm usually pretty up to date what's in New York's galleries, museums and alternative spaces. I also make art - I've had group and solo shows of my work in galleries here and in Europe. Favorite artists: Gillian Wearing, Darren Almond, Peter Hujar, Boris Mikhailov, Sophie Calle, Stephen Gill and tons more.
Health, nutrition and public health issues - I care a lot about how we can solve our public health crises through changing behavior patterns and policies. I'm not only a voracious reader of the latest science research news but a conflicted self-tracker and experimenter.
History - I'm a bit obsessed with 20th Century history, especially the World Wars and the post-war period. I have read endlessly about it and done personal research and a photographic project. It's also the reason I'm a volunteer for Selfhelp, an organization that takes care of Nazi victims living in the New York City area.
Fashion - I am interested in the intellectual, technical and creative aspects of fashion design. I know how to draft and drape my own patterns, make clothes and love designing my own fabrics.
I love Georgian music and culture and am currently trying to learn the panduri.
And I generally spend far too much time out hiking and IDing rare fungi.
Let's talk - whether it's about a specific project or just because.
sigridjakob at gmail.com