Let’s be honest, the whole industry would not exist if it was not for strategists driving campaigns forward and spearheading the industry’s ideas into existence.
They are the crucial point between creative ideas and business. The multi-talented, creative leaders that bring it all together and get things across the line.
With an intuitive sense of the cultural trends shaping the world today, they ensure brands stay relevant and continue to stay connected to their customers, no matter the environment.
It is only right, therefore, that they get the recognition they so rightly deserve. Here we have 10 of the best strategists in the industry (creative).
If you liked this – you might like to see our top data scientists!
Dom Hickey, Chief Strategy Officer, Howatson+Company
Before joining Howatson + Company, Hickey was head of planning at DDB for 6 years where she worked across brands including Coles, Unilever, J&J and Westpac. She led the strategy for award-winning campaigns including Matriarch’s campaign for Carefree.
She loves to give back to the industry and help junior talent. As well as teaching at Ad School, she co-hosts a podcast – The Junior Mafia – which gives young people in the industry a voice.
Olly Taylor, Chief Strategy Officer, Havas Creative Group Australia
Taylor joined Host Sydney as its first planning director in 2003 and the rest, as they say, is history. Since then, he has flown up through the ranks and last year was promoted to chief strategy officer for the Havas Group Australia (Havas and Host merged in 2017).
Havas Group ANZ chairman Anthony Freedman said of Taylor “he joined Host as a young, but precociously talented brand planner and immediately made an impact, playing a key role in the agency’s success and long list of effectiveness awards”.
Fran Clayton, Chief Strategy Officer, DDB Sydney
Clayton first joined DDB back in 2013, starting as a planning partner from Mojo New Zealand. She was later promoted to chief strategy officer where she spearheaded a number of multi-award winning campaigns for huge brands including McDonald’s and Volkswagen Commercial.
After a stint at McCann Worldgroup in 2018, Clayton returned to DDB in 2020, where she continues to drive growth and promote the importance of creativity when budgets are under pressure.
Chris Colter, Chief Strategy & Product Officer at Initiative
Colter has more than a decade of media experience across Australia and APAC, and has been a key mover in bringing some of the most famous (and awarded) campaigns to market.
He won the IAA Big Idea competition while still at university, brought home gold at the Global Cannes Young Lions Competition and has won over eight Cannes Lions (including a Titanium for Tourism Australia’s Dundee). More importantly, he has also won a B&T 30 under 30 award!
Sophie Price, Chief Strategy Officer at essencemediacom
Price is one of Australia’s most experienced and awarded planners and is a proven strategic leader both here and overseas.
Prior to joining essencemediacom, she was head of integrated strategy at Bohemia (part of M&C Saatchi) and has also led strategy in creative agencies at the country’s top agencies including UM Australia, The Campaign Palace and The Monkeys.
David Halter, Chief Strategy & Growth Officer at Dentsu International
Halter has more than 20 years of experience in leading creative and digital strategy. He joined Dentsu in 2022 from Clemenger Group where he was chief strategy officer and Sydney managing director of CHE Proximity.
There he partnered with a number of household brands including eBay, Ikea, Virgin Australia, Samsung and more.
A former 30 under 30 winner, Halter loves how vibrant adland had become “It’s no longer just adland. It’s techland, productland, experienceland, contentland, socialgoodland, dataprivacyland. A whole bunch of new people and perspectives have entered the industry’”.
Craig Page, Chief Strategy Officer at CX Lavender
Page joined CX Lavender from VMLY&R, where he was head of strategy, leading the agency’s Sydney strategy team and heading up strategy for the Melbourne-based Defence Force Recruiting account.
Prior to VMLY&R, Page was executive strategy director at R/GA, working on clients including Telstra, Samsung, Toyota, Google and NRL. He has also spent time at Ogilvy PR, Havas Worldwide, M&C Saatchi and Foxtel, and his diverse skill set spans digital and brand strategy.
Catherine King, Chief Strategy Officer, Leo Burnett Australia
After training as a journalist, King moved into the world of communications and has held senior management positions in creative, strategic, PR and digital agencies. She has worked with brands including Royal Caribbean, Sony, Microsoft, Nestle, Tourism Australia and Foster’s.
Aside from all this King has also been a writer and regional facilitator for the World Economic Forum, a judge at the New York Festival’s World Best Advertising Awards and a Sydney Founder of Good For Nothing – hackathons that unite creatives to propel the potential of social enterprises.
Matt Springate, Chief Strategy Officer, TBWA
Springate has worked in lead strategic roles in the most respected creative agencies in Australia, the UK and the US.
Prior to joining TBWA he worked at Grey London, and was previously group strategy director at Droga5 New York where he led strategy on American Express, Diet Coke, Quilted Northern and Mondelēz (Honey Maid and belVita).
His awards include (but are not limited to) 3x Australian Effies (1x Gold & 2x Bronze), Cannes Creative Effectiveness Lion (Gold) and 2x Euro Effies (Grand Prix & Gold).
Emily Taylor , Chief Strategy Officer at M&C Saatchi Group AUNZ
Taylor has more than 20 year’s experience in consulting, digital and creative agencies and has worked with some of the world’s most innovative brands, including Samsung, Xbox, Expedia, Tourism NT, Sweat.
Her career has spanned a number of countries and touched almost every industry, with her work recognised by numerous effectiveness awards over the years.
As well as leading strategy at M&C Saatchi she is also a panellist on ABC’s Gruen.