In sales, they talk about the “it” factor — well, Macleod & Co.’s new Business Development Director has got “it” and then some. Mike Kennedy has 10+ years of experience in creative services sales and an impressive client roster, boasting brands like the Minnesota Twins, Securian Financial, and the Colorado Rockies. He’s obviously cool, but it doesn’t stop there. He’s genuine, passionate (particularly about growing local businesses), witty, and chock-full of creativity.
I recently sat down with Mike to learn more about him and his plans for the agency’s future growth.
AW: What’s your background, where do you come from, what makes you tick?
MK: My background is in the intersection of communications and design. I have always been a communicator — marketing, public relations, storytelling — it just makes sense to me. I also have a strong creative background. My mother was a graphic designer and instilled in me a deep appreciation for the discipline. I’ve actually had my own freelance business for years!
Professionally, I regard my time at my college’s athletic department as my starting point. From there, I went on to lead the campus newspaper, driving both content and sales — these together led to a role in professional sports.
I spent ten years doing a little bit of everything within the pro sports arena. I dabbled in PR, community relations, player relations, but worked primarily in communications. Within this industry I was always drawn to the creative, from print to digital — using design to help grow an audience remains very interesting to me.
At my core I’m a relationship guy. I get a lot of satisfaction from facilitating connection and building relationships. I’ve built relationships between national media and the team, between the team and the fans, between the fans and local media. My wife jokes that when people say, “I know a guy” I’m always that guy.
AW: Tell me more about making the move from sports to agency life.
MK: When I worked for the Colorado Rockies I helped create all the team’s social media accounts. It was really powerful to see firsthand how new digital mediums, like social media, can transform the fan’s relationship with the team and the team’s relationship with the community. That’s a big part of what motivated me to move — I realized that at an agency I could have an even bigger impact: touch more people and partner with more companies.
People are very passionate about the brands they follow, whether it’s a baseball team, apparel brand, or a gym. And that’s what’s fun about taking this step into agency marketing. It’s about helping brands and businesses hone in on their identity to appeal to their fans and get new fans. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing in baseball for the last 10 years.
AW: What drew you to Macleod & Co.?
MK: Over my career I’ve worked with a lot of different agencies, and one of the things that really stood out to me about Macleod was the potential for growth. Here is this young, smart agency embracing their millennial chops and leaning into that as a growth strategy. “We build and grow brands targeting millennials,” makes sense to me, I get it, and I see a need for that in the market.
I think the future is bright for agencies. The old model of AoR is shifting, allowing agencies to collaborate with one another, and businesses to use agencies in new ways. Organizations are turning to agencies as partners, and working collaboratively to drive business goals.
I’m excited to get in at this stage. Start-up energy is intoxicating. I’m excited to help craft the strategic direction of the business and to be in a position where I can leverage my relationships to make an impact.
AW: What do have in mind for the next 6 months at Macleod & Co.?
MK: Over the next 6 months we’re going to be honing our identity and seeking like-minded companies who’ll benefit from partnering with us; companies that are looking to take the next step to grow their businesses.
We are a purposefully small agency, which allows us to be flexible in who we work with. We want to continue to work with great people, and to us “great” doesn’t equate to having a certain sum in the bank.
Part of what I’m most excited about are the connections made just being out in this community. From industry events like MIMA to striking up a conversation at my son’s basketball game (I use the term “game” loosely, he’s three years old, everything is a game). Marketing is a service that drives revenue growth, and I dare you to find me a business that wouldn’t benefit from revenue growth.
AW: You’re a creative — where do you go for inspiration?
MK: I’m a big photography guy. I like looking at what people can do with photography, lighting, and colors — it’s such a powerful medium for storytelling. I love getting lost in stock photography sites and Behance, though it’s a luxury these days (again, I have a three-year-old son).
I also like looking at designers’ portfolio sites. Usually people highlight what they’re most proud of in that moment, but they don’t take things down. So you can do a deep dive and see their evolution and that’s really fun for me.
AW: What brands do you like?
MK: I like brands that take a new approach to the basics. Apparel companies like Sota Clothing, SotaStick Co., and Pick and Shovel Wear — these are small companies going toe-to-toe with giants. I also have an affinity for local brands. I’m a Minnesota native and I like to support the community.
Mike Kennedy is such a perfect biz dev dude you’d think I’d made him up! Well, I assure you I didn’t, and I can prove it — call him up, let him take you to coffee and talk shop. You’ll be glad you did!
About the Author: Agency Director Allison Wasz is a holistic thinker and digital marketing expert through and through. She lives and breathes digital — strategy, social media, paid search, user experience, and content generation are part of her day-to-day. Allison’s drive to understand the ‘why’ behind every action makes her well-suited to helping businesses of all sizes and across all industries develop and implement their digital marketing strategies. She believes in an educational approach to digital strategy, empowering clients to grasp how digital works in tandem with traditional marketing. Allison is a coffee drinker, part-time yogi, and red wine aficionado who spends her free time eating guacamole and patiently waiting for the next George R.R. Martin book.