Untitled.png
Untitled.png

ABOUT ME


SCROLL DOWN

ABOUT ME


I AM A NEW YORK-BASED INDEPENDENT STRATEGIST.

There are lots of great agencies in New York City. And I've worked for a fair few of them.

 

SO WHY AM I FREELANCING?

Right now, the world is just too damn exciting to be working for just one company.

What brands can do for people and what people can do with brands is wide open. And the journey to get to those ideas is usually bumpy, often off-road, and always lots of fun. It's the best time ever to be in this business.

My way of understanding this wild and wondrous new world is to work with those who are driving the change. And I've been lucky enough to work with some of the most interesting companies out there - speed-learning, risk taking, experimenting, making and taking, and generally having a blast.

So it's a two-way deal: I'll bring you everything I've learned in this crazy, shifting world out there, and I'll learn from you what makes you great.

And because R&D is important, not just for corporations but for people, I only work eight months a year. The other four months are 'lab time' - time to experiment with life itself, make stuff, volunteer and learn new skills.

 


 

I'VE BEEN WORKING WITH SOME INTERESTING COMPANIES

Droga5, co:collective, Google, Airbnb, Pearlfisher, Vice, YouTube, A+E, Redscout, Headmint, BBDO, Havas, Publicis, Cooke & Co, Trollbäck, The Coca-Cola Company, Constellation Brands, Special Forces NY, Project WorldWide. 

 

STUFF I LOVE

Projects where the solution goes beyond communications, coming to life in a product, a tool, a provocative action or an idea the brand can give away. 

Tough cases: brands facing big challenges who have yet to tap into opportunities created by changes in culture.

Supposed low interest categories - born from the belief that any category can and should be interesting.

 

WHAT I’M GOOD AT

Defining a brand's cause, its fight, its story, based on not only on its role in people's lives but in culture at large.

Finding the big idea fast. I distrust insights that need six weeks of research to get uncovered.

Using human language to get at human truths - I hate marketing jargon and business-speak.

Tracking down interesting stories within big piles of supposedly boring data and information.

 

WHAT I'M NOT GOOD AT

Working as part of a large team 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' - aargh! I've found that broad 'higher order benefits' often become the enemy of doing something bold and interesting.

All-day meetings. Does anyone enjoy them?

 


RECENT STUFF


SCROLL DOWN

RECENT STUFF


WHAT I'VE BEEN UP TO (LAST 18 MONTHS)

  • Brand and product development for a new kind of lifestyle brand (client: strategic boutique)
  • Strategy and creative development for a financial services brand (client: creative boutique)
  • Consultancy on new wellness chain targeting a health-conscious audience (client: startup)
  • Strategy and creative development for a healthy living/wellness brand (client: creative boutique)
  • Brand positioning for an upmarket water brand (client: creative boutique)
  • Brand repositioning for a upmarket travel company (client: creative boutique)
  • Strategy and creative development for a luxury cruise brand (client: PR agency)
  • Brand positioning for a new kind of agency network (client: agency holding company)
  • Audience definition and positioning work for a jewelry company (creative boutique)
  • Strategy development for a TV channel and lifestyle brand (client: boutique design agency)

and a couple of projects that are so thoroughly covered by NDAs I can't even begin to describe them them.

 

PROJECT TYPES

Positioning work, new business pitches, creative development, cultural audits, audience deep dives, new product development and workshops.

AUDIENCES

Millennials, high income, creative class and other experience-driven audiences; health & wellness seekers, business owners entrepreneurs & creators.

 

AND BEFORE THAT ...

  • Positioning work, cultural audit and portfolio analysis iced tea brand (client: global beverage company)
  • Audience deep dive and positioning work for international car launch to Millennials (client: media company/boutique agency)
  • Cultural audit and positioning work for a sparkling wine brand (client: creative boutique)
  • Deep dive into the social and psychological basis of storytelling, its best practitioners and its future (client: global beverage company)
  • Internal positioning and rollout plan to bring to life financial services brand through employees (client: branding company)
  • Positioning and marketing plan to position new travel destination  (client: global tourist attraction)
  •  Flavor development work for a vodka to capitalize on flavor trends (client: large spirits company)
  • Creative workshop for a new kind of sweetener (client: large creative agency)
  • Brand and product development for global e-commerce platform (client: startup)
  • Strategy and research for a multi-agency new business pitch for a new live-saving drug (client: advertising holding company)

RESUME


SCROLL DOWN

RESUME


EDUCATION

SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS (New York)Master of Fine Arts in photography 

OXFORD UNIVERSITY (Oxford, UK) - BA/MA in philosophy, psychology and physiology 

 

JOBS

JWT (New York) - Group Planning Director 

BERLIN CAMERON UNITED (New York) - Founding Partner/Senior Planner/Planning Director

FALLON MCELLIGOTT BERLIN (New York) -  Senior Planner

BARTLE BOGLE HEGARTY (London) - Planner 

 

AWARDS

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.

 


MY STORY


SCROLL DOWN

MY STORY


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 popular German game show, made some money and ran away to London - note on the 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 joints and cafeterias for a couple of years, then decided to step up my game by learning typing and shorthand. I was a secretary for an additional few years, which gave me the confidence to think about continuing 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 including. I’ve learned a lot in those poverty years, the years of doing menial jobs, where I was just another 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

 


INTERESTS


SCROLL DOWN

INTERESTS


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 love looking at and talking about art. 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, Jim Goldberg and tons more.

Health, nutrition and public health issues - I care a lot about how we can solve our public health crises through changing our behavior patterns. I'm not only a voracious reader of the latest science research news but a skeptical self-tracker and experimenter. And I lift heavy weights. It's why I am proud to be a permanent advisor for Activate! Brain and Body Fitness. It's also why I won't work on processed foods, snacks and drinks anymore. Apologies - I'm not judging you, just found it hard to square with my personal beliefs and actions.

I've also volunteered as a Caregiver Ambassador for New York Methodist Hospital. If you have a project that is in the health/nutrition/ exercise/aging/behavioral economics field I would love to talk to you. 

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. Favorite designers are Gareth Pugh, Josephus Thimister, Haider Ackerman, Rick Owens and and Nicolas Taralis. I know how to draft and drape my own patterns and continue to take classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology.  I love making my own clothes and fabrics.


SAY HELLO


SCROLL DOWN

SAY HELLO


Let's talk - whether it's about a specific project or just because.

sigridjakob at gmail.com