Golin picks Paul Parton as group chief strategy officer

Parton has been leading Brooklyn Brothers as president since Golin acquired it in 2016.

Paul Parton
Paul Parton

NEW YORK: Golin has named Paul Parton to the newly created role of group chief strategy officer. 

Parton is reporting to Golin co-CEO Matt Neale and working with agency leaders at Golin, Virgo Health and Brooklyn Brothers to manage 30 to 40 planning and strategy staffers. Other details about how many direct reports he will have are being determined. 

In the job, Parton oversees strategic operations for Interpublic Group companies Golin, Virgo Health and The Brooklyn Brothers, the creative shop he co-founded in 2005. Parton has been leading Brooklyn Brothers as president since Golin acquired it in 2016. 

His duties as president of Brooklyn Brothers will be assumed by Dawn Langeland, who was named president of Golin New York in May. She will manage operations at Golin and the Brooklyn Brothers.

Parton is tasked with counselling the strategy leads for Golin, Virgo Health and Brooklyn Brothers and driving the planning efforts of the creative and strategic teams. He is also charged with growing the practice and delivering lead insights on some of the agency’s largest client and prospect assignments, according to a release.

In addition, Parton will lead strategy for The Table, an IPG consultancy that works for clients that have engaged multiple IPG agencies. 

Parton’s official first day on the job is Wednesday. However, he has been working partially in his new role for the past few months.

"[Neale] and I have been talking on and off about the need and opportunity [for this role] for some time," Parton said.

One of Parton’s first tasks is developing the new strategic system to be used by all three agencies. 

While still in its early stages, Parton said the system includes four main approaches: using client briefs to understand and align objectives against the client journey; using research in a structured fashion; developing focused messaging aligned with the company’s brand and values; and developing a structured method of channel planning.

Parton said the focus on channels is probably the biggest difference between what he’s trying to implement at Golin and other approaches. 

"When we’re developing this strategic system, we’re thinking about messaging and the media at the same time," Parton said. "In the paid disciplines or traditional advertising, the strategic systems are not like that." 

It’s an approach, he said, more familiar to PR firms than creative shops. 

"It’s not something I’ve seen in the industry," he said. "It may exist somewhere, but if it does, it’s well hidden. Though elements of it do exist within the paid disciplines more than in the earned."

The strategy includes a strong emphasis on earned media, Parton said, something that should fit well at Golin. Neale made a point of re-emphasizing the importance of PR at the agency in an editorial he wrote last year.

"If you think about the insurgent new economy business changing the face of the consumer landscape, like Warby Parker, Dollar Shave Club, Uber and Airbnb, they are not building their brands with traditional advertising or with traditional paid memes," said Parton. "But they are absolutely relying on earned, on media relations, on great investor relations, on employee comms, content marketing, community management and experiential."

Prior to founding Brooklyn Brothers, Parton worked for DDB New York and DDB Singapore, according to his LinkedIn profile.

According to the PRWeek Agency Business Report 2019, revenue at Golin grew 5% to $218 million in 2018 compared to $208 million in 2017.

Golin is part of IPG’s Constituency Management Group. In July, newly minted CMG chairman and CEO Andy Polansky said the PR firms in CMG saw low-single-digit as-reported and organic revenue growth in Q2.

This story was updated on August 8 to clarify the reporting structure below Parton

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