Manifest hires chief technical officer to drive ambitious innovation programme

Manifest has taken the unusual step of hiring a CTO as it aims to invest 15 per cent of its budget on building new marketing tools.

Manifest's new CTO Simon Minton
Manifest's new CTO Simon Minton

Manifest has appointed Simon Minton as chief technical officer to help it build new cross-channel marketing tools and broaden its range of digital services.

The appointment will help underpin Manifest’s plans to invest 15 per cent of its budget on innovation and developing new products.

Manifest said it is one of the first international agencies to create a dedicated CTO role and described Minton’s hire as "a major landmark for Manifest’s own innovation programme". He has worked with Manifest on a consultancy basis for the past five years.

This programme has yielded the creation of proprietary technologies and multidisciplinary marketing tools, including an influencer platform called Roger and news distribution tool called DigitalNewsroom.

The aim of Manifest’s investment into new digital solutions isn’t just about creating a unique selling point. PRWeek understands the agency wants to raise standards across the industry and offer white labelled versions of these products to other agencies and clients, which already happens with its influencer tool.

Minton brings more than a decade of experience building digital platforms from the ground up. He joins from Technical Chops, an enterprise technology and innovation agency he founded in 2015 that will be absorbed into Manifest Group as part of the move. 

In that time, he has worked as a digital consultant for organisations including sex toy manufacturer Hot Octopuss.

Native apps, blockchain & digital consultancy

Working across Manifest’s offices in London, New York and Stockholm, the agency said Minton will add a host of new services to the group’s offering, including native app build, Blockchain development and digital transformation consultancy. He will lead digital development projects for Chivas Brothers, Samsung, WWF and Manifest’s own brand ventures.

He will also work closely with Martin Farrar-Smith, the group’s chief design officer in the building and maintenance of new client-facing proprietary tools.

"One of Manifest’s core values is, ‘don’t simply react to change, drive it,’ and Simon’s appointment is testament to our continued commitment to innovation," Manifest founder and Group CEO Alex Myers said. 

"As well as further expanding our digital services for clients, having a CTO of Simon’s calibre in-house means we can step up our investment in digital innovation, creating new tools and resources for the industry.

He continued: "In five years’ time, it will seem absurd for a creative communications agency to not have a CTO. From AI to Blockchain, there are emerging digital technologies that will transform not just the results our industry is capable of, but how we achieve them – and we want to be at the forefront of that revolution. This isn’t just about expanding our service offering. This is about expanding our horizons. That’s what makes Simon’s appointment such an exciting milestone for us."

Minton said: "There was a natural spark as soon as I started working with Manifest a few years ago – their culture of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurialism is contagious and it wasn’t long before Alex and I began talking about a bigger, more permanent partnership."

Minton said what drew him to Manifest was "bringing down the fences between marketing disciplines, between channels, between technologies, between colleagues and between clients and agencies".

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