Independent agency Rauxa found its new creative leader at WPP’s Wunderman.
Lincoln Bjorkman joins Rauxa today as its CCO, tasked with leading creative across Rauxa’s network. He will be based out of the agency’s New York office and report directly to Rauxa president and CEO Gina Alshuler.
“Lincoln brings a very unique set of leadership qualities that are important to us right now as we go through rapid growth,” Alshuler told Adweek. “He inspires fresh thinking. You bring a leader like Lincoln in, with all of his experience, he brings a new perspective, he’s worked on global campaigns … that inspires something different from the team.”
“He’s going to attract talent, people want to work for him,” she added.
Alshuler explained that Bjorkman interviewed a senior creative at Rauxa for a position years ago. Even though he didn’t get the job, Bjorkman kept in touch and has acted as a something of a “career coach” in the years since.
“I think that goes to show his character. I put a lot of trust in him to help our leadership team build this business,” she said.
The agency’s recent growth—including winning the Alaska Airlines Loyalty account, Amazon Audible and an undisclosed client, as well as expanding its relationship with TGI Fridays and others—led to the search for a chief creative, she explained: “It was both a mutual colleague and a client who brought up Lincoln’s name.”
Bjorkman previously served as global CCO at WPP agency Wunderman for over four years. Daniel Bonner replaced him in that role in February, when it was announced that Bjorkman was leaving for a then-unspecified new opportunity.
“Wunderman has a special place in my heart,” Bjorkman said. “I have great affection for that organization. It has taught me a lot.”
He added that he intends to import the “global perspective” he picked up in his previous role to Rauxa.
“A lot of times, brands come to Rauxa and hire us for what I like to call the ‘sexy data work’ that happens behind the curtains,” Alshuler explained. “Once we have a deep understanding of our client’s target audiences and their motivation … it’s what enables us to leap into the bigger creative assignments.”
Alshuler said such data and analytics offerings are becoming increasingly important to brands. “CMOs are getting squeezed more and more to produce business results with tighter budgets, and so they have to look at refining their target audience and being smarter about how they spend every dollar,” she said.
She explained that investing in analytics, data-mining tools, AI and others “to inform those decisions” and “make it happen faster than ever before” is what she thinks “led a lot of them to turn to Rauxa.”
The agency’s commitment to data-informed work was also a factor in attracting its new chief creative.
“Like any creative, you want to always aspire to work in an environment where you can do great stuff that wins for clients,” Bjorkman said. He added that Rauxa gives him “a lot of independence” and “great people,” but doesn’t force him to sacrifice “something I very much believe in and I spent my career being deeply involved in, which is the power of data and strategy to propel creative forward.”
“Rauxa is all about that. It felt like home right away,” he added, also citing the agency’s democratic approach and “complete lack of hierarchy and pretense.”
Looking ahead, Rauxa has plans for “aggressive growth” and is in the process of building an unspecified proprietary tool, Alshuler said.
“Rauxa is going to ask for a seat at the table pitching bigger work, different kind of work than we have traditionally, and Lincoln is going to be a big part of that.”
Bjorkman sees his role, in part, as helping the creative team stay true to the agency’s roots while helping to facilitate that growth.
“As Rauxa grows and continues to be successful, I don’t want to lose the ability to add value quickly [or] do brilliant creative in a way that has significant value, and I don’t want to lose the spirit of the culture,” he said.