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January 14, 2021   |   3 min read

Our New VP of Strategy Talks Leaving New York, Human-Centered Approaches and More

When we met Greg Eckelman, we knew his approach to strategy — one he says is “less academic and more an inward-looking exercise” — was perfectly aligned with our views as an innovative customer-experience agency. Afterall, our research has shown that success in advertising is becoming increasingly dependent on personalization

Eckelman, a Kenyon College graduate, previously held high-ranking roles at IBM iX (formerly Resource/Ammirati) in Columbus and New York agencies that include We Are Social, Big Fuel and Grey Group. His past clients read like a laundry list of household names, including Albertsons, AT&T, CarMax, Hyatt, Kraft, LEGO, U.S. Army, Walmart, White Castle and more. 

To help you get to know this charismatic addition to the Mindstream Interactive team, we asked some simple questions that brought about some compelling answers.

Why is Mindstream Interactive the logical next step for your career?

I am incredibly honored and humbled to join the uniquely and extremely talented Mindstream Interactive team and to be tasked with continuing to evolve the innovative foundation and approach they have built as a truly results-driven and customer-first experience agency. 

Describe some of the personal high points you’ve reached to date.

  • Joining Mindstream Interactive as a VP of Strategy, leading a team of amazing marketing experts. 
  • Achieving the highest available Enterprise Design Thinking badge and co-leading the Central Ohio Design Thinking Chapter at IBM iX. 
  • Supporting a global Telcom company with actionable and winning strategies for their customer and employee experiences, before and including the increased challenges brought on by the global pandemic.
  • Flying to London to pitch a leading global electronics brand and have it result in the most disastrous meeting I’ve ever been involved in—teaching me a massive lesson on how NOT to win by witnessing, firsthand, an epic fail. 
  • Working onsite at Walmart’s headquarters in Arkansas on innovative digital solutions and introducing new digital platforms to one of the world’s biggest brands.
  • Having the U.S. Army as a client and the Major League Soccer as their advertising partner—literally supporting country and my favorite sport at the same time.
  • Receiving a Platinum Record sales award from the RIAA for having marketed “Who Let The Dogs Out” by Baha Men while at Artemis Records. I still have it hanging in my basement at Artemis Records.
  • Working for artists at two different record labels, ranging from Morrissey to Warren Zevon to De La Soul to Steve Earle to Space hog to The Pretenders, and many, many others.

How does your strategic approach differ from others in the industry?

For me, it’s about the sheer joy of finding authentic insights. I have a passion for cracking brand-to-people relationship codes, which allows me to approach strategy from a people-first—and almost entertainment-like—angle. I have carried through those sparks from my early marketing days at music labels into my work today to deliver fully differentiated, unique and sustainable strategies.

For a time it was New York, but now Columbus is home again—what makes this city so special to you?

After relocating from New York three and a half year ago, living on a cobblestone street in a historic neighborhood and having a backyard and a basement makes for an extra special home to me. Plus, Columbus has a rich diversity of people and businesses and restaurants that give it a definitive character.

When you’re not working, what are you most likely doing? 

Playing: bass, guitar, PS4, with my dogs or on my Robinhood investing account.

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