Performance marketing agency Brainlabs is bidding to offer brands more strategic media planning, having appointed Carat’s strategy partner, Venya Wijegoonewardene, to a newly created role.
Wijegoonewardene will join Brainlabs UK in the new year as head of communications strategy and be tasked with leading its existing strategy team.
The independent agency said she will “bring a new dimension” to how Brainlabs connects brands with the right audiences across all media platforms and channels.
Wijegoonewardene has held several high-profile positions, most recently as global strategy partner at Carat, and has worked across brands including Diageo Europe, Coca-Cola, Pandora, Nestlé and O2. She was a Campaign Face to Watch 2019 and holds an IPA Effectiveness award from 2018. Before joining Carat in 2015, Wijegoonewardene was a planner at ZenithOptimiedia (now Zenith) for five years.
In her new role, she will report to Grace Kaye, senior vice-president EMEA. Kaye said: “Venya's passion, energy and expertise in brand strategy, combined with Brainlabs experimentation and data-led approach to marketing, will define the future of how brands engage with their customers.”
Brainlabs is running an investment programme in the agency to build new skills and services for the client base, having last year sold a minority stake to private equity company Livingbridge to fund an accelerated growth strategy. At the time, Brainlabs founder and chief executive Daniel Gilbert announced his ambition to build “the biggest advertising agency in the world”.
Brainlabs has already signalled it intends to take on network media agencies with a series of appointments this year, including Matt Adams, formerly Havas Media Group UK & Ireland's chief executive, as global managing director.
Gilbert founded Brainlabs in 2012 after quitting Google and has built one of London’s most rapidly growing digital agencies, amid a surge in growth in performance media on platforms such as Google Search, Facebook, YouTube and programmatic display ads on the open web.
Brainlabs’ clients now include Which?, TUI and Formula One. It has also helped Vodafone in-house its digital media on a project basis. The company has offices in London, New York, Los Angeles and Austin.