Essence has made another key hire from the Razorfish talent pool with its appointment of Christian Juhl as the digital agency’s CEO of North America.
Juhl arrives from his former post as president, West, at Razorfish, where he managed four offices with a focus on integrated media, creative and technology lines of business. Essence, in August, snapped up Brian Krick, Razorfish’s senior director of SEM operations, who leads search and biddable in North America for Essence.
Rounding out Essence’s C-suite, all reporting to founding partner and global CEO Matt Isaacs, is Richard Mooney, who has been promoted to COO of North American operations from his prior position as managing director. He will retain a role as partner of the agency.
Mooney will be responsible for scaling the reach of Essence’s San Francisco, Seattle and New York offices alongside the agency’s international expansion through its London and Singapore offices. The global team now sits at 350 and has a “wide variety of open positions right now,” per Juhl.
He added, “As digital and platforms integrate with different types of content and creative and technology, being around a group of people that share that belief was invigorating.”
Although Juhl did not disclose total client numbers, he did acknowledge that the base is “growing.” Essence works with the likes of eBay, Expedia, Google and Walgreens across myriad campaigns. There’s an ever-growing focus on data on all fronts, he said.
“I think as we look at different lines of service, whether it’s media or analytics or creative or technology, I see us taking a data-first approach because that’s the organizing principle in digital marketing,” he said. “It’s no secret that many clients are still struggling to get their hands on all the first-party data available to them. People are talking about third-party data and what we’ve always said is, ‘Get your first-party data organized and impactful before you try to move forward.'”
Programmatic media buying, he added, “plays a huge role in any plan right now.” An agency that understands “the critical equation” of input vs. expected output has formed the basis of many of the data-related client conversations the agency is having, he said. Over the next few months, his focus will be on familiarizing with the Essence talent and client roster while enabling new structures and processes to enable future growth.