Allen Adamson is a noted industry expert in all disciplines of branding. He has worked with a broad spectrum of consumer and corporate businesses in industries ranging from packaged goods and technology, to health care and financial services, to hospitality and entertainment. Given his broad perspective and depth of experience, Allen is able to help clients see and seize opportunities before the competition, activating solutions that enable them to shift ahead of the market, generating long-term value and increased brand equity. He and his teams help clients identify what truly matters to the audiences they serve – what is relevant to them – and deliver on it brilliantly.

Allen’s newest book, Seeing the How: Achieving Market Advantage by Transforming the Stuff We Do, Not the Stuff We Buy, published in May 2023, focuses on the consumer experience as a competitive advantage, and how this change in perspective has allowed companies to achieve dramatic growth and categorical leadership. The book’s driving idea was sparked by Allen’s recognition that experience transformation has been fast outpacing product transformation as a winning and sustainable marketing strategy.

His previous books, BrandSimple, BrandDigital, The Edge: 50 Tips from Brands that Lead and, Shift Ahead, are used as textbooks in higher education business programs across the country.

Allen’s multifaceted knowledge of all things brand and branding is the result of having worked on both the agency side of the business, and the client side. He spent the earliest part of his career as a marketing executive in packaged goods, at Unilever, one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, where he oversaw a broad range of consumer products. He is proud to acknowledge that he spent a lot of his early business life in supermarket aisles, perusing one aisle or another in order to gain an understanding of the consumers’ outlook– and that of his brands’ competitors.

On the agency side, Allen held senior management positions at iconic advertising firms, including Ogilvy & Mather and DMB&B, before arriving at Landor Associates, a full-spectrum brand consultancy dealing with brand development and the myriad factors that makes one brand more successful than another. He eventually rose to the position of Chairman. Under his leadership, the company partnered with a variety of global brands, including Accenture, GE, Johnson & Johnson, FedEx, HBO, Marriott, MetLife, P&G, Sony, and Verizon. Additionally, he guided non-profit organizations, including the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the Central Park Conservancy, and the Council on Foreign Relations, among others.

For the past several years, Allen has been an Adjunct Professor and frequent guest lecturer at New York University’s Stern School of Business, and the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, where he lectures on the significant and numerous challenges brands are confronting – and overcoming – in a fast-changing marketplace. He also serves as the brand expert-in-residence at the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship at NYU Stern, working with student entrepreneurs from across NYU to help them develop and execute their brand “story,” providing guidance on the many aspects required to launch successful brands.

Given the depth and breadth of his expertise – his perspective of brands from both an academic and a long-standing practitioner’s point of view – Allen has been called on as an expert witness for companies across a number of industries involved in litigation over the protection of their brand assets, the distinguishing characteristics that differentiate one brand from another. His multidimensional experience makes him unparalleled in his ability to offer valuable insight to those defending brands that have come under competitive threat and encroachment of these assets.

 A sought-after industry commentator, Allen has appeared on ABC News, NBC’s Today Show, CNBC’s Squawk Box and Closing Bell, and Fox Business Network. He is often quoted in publications including The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Advertising Age, the Washington Post, and Forbes. He also regularly writes a column on current branding topics. He speaks on branding for a range of professional organizations, corporate events, and industry conferences.

Allen is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Metaforce (www.metaforce.com), a disruptive marketing and brand consultancy which, unlike traditional firms, takes a multi-disciplinary channel-agnostic approach to marketing challenges. It was created to help leaders understand all the forces at work inside and outside their businesses to identify strategies yielding the highest returns. Once determining the best strategy, Metaforce’s consortium of partners, each industry expert in their field, pivots to help clients brilliantly act on and execute customer experiences in the market. Metaforce combines the best aspects of brand management, strategy, and experience consultancies to deliver solutions that ensure its clients shift ahead of the dramatic marketplace changes to meet fast-evolving customer needs.

Allen received his B.S. from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, and an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

We’re speaking with Allen today about the art of pitching and how storytelling, preparation, and agency-client synergy can secure deals. We are treated to his valuable insights from his diverse experiences in filmmaking, advertising, and working with Unilever. He explains the importance of a polished pitch and how a cinematic approach to presenting can captivate clients. We’ll also discuss strategies for differentiation in pitches, the magic of engaging presentations, and the evolving landscape of marketing agencies and client relationships. Looking towards the future, we examine how to navigate the changes with a focus on team chemistry and tailored client strategies.

Topics covered during this episode include:

  • Why preparation and rehearsal are critical for a compelling presentation.
  • The role that having a creative idea plays in differentiating agency pitches.
  • How emotional engagement and surprise factor into crafting an unforgettable pitch.
  • Why team chemistry is essential for a successful pitch.
  • How to navigate the dynamic relationship between agencies and clients.
  • What strategies secure long-term client-agency partnerships.
  • Some personal stores that illustrate the importance of synergy in pitches.
  • What future disruptions in marketing might impact agency-client relations.
  • How thought leadership and authoring a book can enhance your professional status.
  • Why meticulous focus and editing are necessary for pitch presentations.
  • More tips about how agencies can differentiate themselves to stand out to prospects.
  • What interactive strategies can make pitch meetings memorable for clients.
  • How to effectively personalize team introductions during pitches.
  • Why team dynamics during pitches should be likened to casting for a Broadway show.
  • What upcoming challenges traditional marketing agencies may face.
  • How freelancers are increasingly filling expertise gaps in agency pitches.
  • Why it’s crucial to tailor strategies to the client’s specific needs during pitches.
  • How to create a winning pitch by balancing standout ideas with thorough RFP responses.
  • Why it’s beneficial to engage clients in workshops before pitching to them.

Allen Adamson on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/allenadamson