Called SPARC (Strategy, Planning, Analytics, Research + Creative), Portland said the division will sit across all parts of the business, with the team working with existing consultants on all new business and major client campaigns.
SPARC will be headed by Portland partner Gregor Poynton, who has led the agency’s digital and content production arms since 2015. The division will incorporate its existing Research & Insights team under associate director Eleanor Dickinson.
The five appointments for the SPARC team, who have all joined Portland between January and June this year, are:
• Emma Ballantine-Dykes, former associate creative director at Bell Pottinger Engage, who is now senior creative strategist
• Kristin Philbin, formerly head of research, analytics and insights at FleishmanHillard Fishburn, who has joined as a director
• Teodore Coste, ex-strategy & analytics manager at Burson-Marsteller EMEA, and now senior strategic planner at SPARC
• Genna Micheli-Osborne, formerly a senior analyst at Hall & Partners – a brand strategy consultancy that, like Portland, is part of the Omnicom network – who is now a senior account executive
• Tanya Lacey-Solymar, also a senior account executive, has joined from the DAS Accelerate graduate programme at Omnicom.
Mark Flanagan, Portland UK MD, said: "Portland has always been well known for its strategic work, but the expertise within SPARC will ensure great thinking is underpinned by data and analytics. This new unit puts strategy and creativity right at the heart of Portland and ensures we continue to stay ahead of the competition."
Poynton added: "SPARC has been designed to ensure we continue providing impactful strategies based on insight and measurement through research, analytics, planning and creative execution. By combining the know-how, instinct and experience of our account teams with data, analytics, and research leading to insight, I truly believe we are in a position to offer clients the best thinking the agency has to offer."