As chief strategy officer, Kristen Cavallo leads planning, analytics and business development for Mullen (www.mullen.com), an agency built to work with ambitious thought leaders like JetBlue, Google, NOOK by Barnes & Noble, Zappos, iRobot, and LivingSocial. In 2011, Mullen was named an Advertising Age A-List agency, as well as a Fast Company Most Innovative Company.
A strategic storyteller, Kristen spent 15 years planning strategy for Volkswagen, NASCAR, Coca-Cola, Hanes, Kohler, Charles Schwab, and Miller Brewing. For her work on VW’s “Drivers Wanted” campaign, she was awarded the 4A’s Jay Chiat Award for Strategic Excellence. She won a second Jay Chiat Award for the launch of Vanilla Coke, which also had the distinction of being named the Best New Product Launch of the Year. That same year, the Hanes Tagless T-shirt was ranked in the Top 10 Best Product Launches. While on Miller Brewing, Time magazine complimented the brand for “perhaps the best turnaround in American business history.”
As growth officer for The Martin Agency, Kristen focused on repositioning and differentiating the agency utilizing her planning background. During her six-year tenure, Martin experienced the best growth years in the agency’s history. One of the fastest-growing agencies in the country, Martin was named to Advertising Age’s A-List five consecutive years, and in 2010, Adweek named it Agency of the Year. Kristen helped diversify their client portfolio with brands like Wal-Mart, Pizza Hut, Expedia, Microsoft, ESPN, Mentos, BFGoodrich, FreeCreditReport.com, The American Cancer Society, Kraft, and Johnson & Johnson.
Please enjoy the following excerpt from my interview with Kristen Cavallo for Advertisers at Work:
Tuten: Think back to when you were just getting started in the business. What do you wish you had known then that you know now?
Cavallo: Something I wish I had realized is that one’s inclination early on is either to pick the one agency that you admire or to pick the account that you want to work on that you love. What I have found in my twenty years of being in the business is that neither is the best way to go. Work for somebody who inspires you and pushes you every day to be more. Don’t worry about the brand or agency name on your resume. Follow amazing people.
I wish I had known this. My focus should have been on what I could learn from the people I would work with. I always learned the most when I worked for someone I admired. When I worked for somebody who pushed me regardless of what agency I was at or what account I was on.