Spark hires Toby Trevarthen as first chief narrative officer

The Northern California-based firm has put an emphasis on narrative with two appointments.

SAN FRANCISCO: Spark has hired Toby Trevarthen as its first chief narrative officer, effective October 1. It also named Tim Donovan to the newly created role of executive narrative strategist.

The firm created the roles in an effort to establish and shape clients’ narratives, it said in a statement. Spark wants to formalize and scale its strategic services for a broader market, CEO Alan Soucy said in a statement.

Trevarthen will be responsible for a suite of "agile narrative" service offerings, while Donovan will oversee Spark’s strategic services, quality assurance, and San Francisco office team mentorship.

Donovan, who joined Spark in 2013 as MD and head of its global enterprise practice, will continue to lead that group. Donovan and Trevarthen both report to Soucy. Donovan entered his new role last week.

Donovan is the co-creator of the agency’s Narrative Whitespace methodology, a process that it says helps brands accelerate their market relevance through narrative creation. Before joining Spark, Donovan was a strategy adviser at Ponga, a platform that helps users put content and applications into images.

Previously, he founded strategic communications consultancy Industrious Kid and cofounded Imbee.com, a social network for children.

Before that, he served as director of international marketing for UTStarcom and director of corporate communications and PR for Zhone Technologies.

A brand’s narrative has never been more important, Donovan told PRWeek.

"We think narratives as a topic and a focus are highly strategic and extremely important to our industry, our business, and our clients," Donovan said. "These roles are our commitment to focus on narratives and to help our clients increase their relevance in their various market segments and categories." 

Trevarthen worked with Spark over the past year as a strategic business consultant, on behalf of his firm Spatial Shift.

Earlier this year, Spark appointed Tim Turpin as GM of its San Francisco headquarters, a newly created role at the firm.

This story was updated on August 25.

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