CHICAGO — Golin has restructured its G4 leadership, nine months after hiring Caroline Dettman from Edelman to bring more “structure and accountability” to the initiative that was introduced in 2011.
G4 divides Golin's staffers into four groups — strategists, creatives, connectors and catalysts — dispensing with the traditional account handling structure that is common at PR agencies. Golin has now appointed five chairs across its four G4 communities who are incentivized around growing and integrating the G4 communities.
“The best analogy to describe the way [G4 was managed prior to the change] was a volunteer fire department,” Dettman told the Holmes Report. “People were working on it on their own time, after their ‘day jobs.’ As much passion as people had, it was the easiest thing to fall down. We’re now making these roles as empowered as the managing directors and global practice heads.”
The G4 chairs will join the agency’s strategic leadership team, comprised of the executive board and leaders of Golin’s largest wholly owned offices in each region, regional practices and largest clients.
Neal Flieger, managing director of Golin’s Washington DC office and executive director of client strategy, now leads the strategist community responsible for insights and measurement. Charlie Coney, head of creative for EMEA, leads the creators community focused on ideas and stories for creative content. Executive director of engagement Stephanie Matthews leads the connectors — the group who focuses on audiences across earned, owned, shared and paid media. Meanwhile, the catalyst community — comprised of account managers — is being co-led by Carey Beck, executive director of consumer marketing in Chicago, and Corey Langworthy, executive director of Golin’s Los Angeles office.
The leaders report into Dettman for their G4 duties, while still reporting into others for additional roles they hold at the firm. The new G4 leadership has been in place for three months under a pilot program. The plan is for the chairs to change every few years amongst those who sit on the newly-created G4 Council overseen by Dettman, director of marketing for Golin Erin Gallagher and Matt West, executive director of learning and development.
Dettman adds, the previous structure focused more on the individual communities and the revamp is designed to bring the four divisions together to work in a more integrated way.
“For example, we’re doing a lot of work around awards for the Cannes Lions,” Dettman explains. “But winning is something that can’t achieve if only the creators are working on it.”
In addition to this change, Golin’s management is reviewing the firm’s job levels and plan to roll out new career paths in January.
“Most of our managing directors have traditionally come through the catalyst path as account managers,” Dettman said. “But you’ll see that’s changing — you’ll see non-traditional people on the leadership board.”