Open Mind Strategy Expands Research/Insight Services, Adds Staff

NEW YORK NY July 17 - To better address the varied strategic needs of a growing client roster, Open Mind Strategy, a New York City-based market research consultancy, has added quantitative research to its' capabilities and expanded its insight development and facilitation toolkit, announced founder and CEO Robin Hafitz.

“Helping clients use both quantitative and qualitative insights to make better marketing decisions has always been at the core of our business. We are best known for our custom qualitative solutions but helping clients understand and simplify their data has been an integral part of our strategic consulting offerings. Adding quantitative tools to our research menu was an obvious next step,” said Hafitz, “and this move has dictated the need to add a senior researcher to our team and to elevate several worthy staffers.”

New Hires, Promotions

Allison O’Keefe Wright has joined Open Mind Strategy as senior vice president, managing director of research and strategy. Allison was most recently vice president, research and strategic planning for Capitol Music Group (formerly EMI Music North America), heading both research and media services for the label. Previously, she served as vice president, strategic insight and research at MTV, where she was responsible for consumer insight and strategy for MTV, MTV2, and mtvU, across all screens.

Prior to MTV, Allison was worked at the strategic consultancy Henley Centre HeadlightVision where she wrote the book “D Code 5,” an investigation of leading edge youth culture and marketing around the world and travelled the globe running innovation workshops for major companies, including Coca-Cola and Unilever.

“Allison, who has the rare ability to humanize data and distill insights will have the opportunity to leverage her diverse agency and ‘client side’ experience as a partner who can approach client business issues and goals with valuable perspective from both sides of the aisle,” Ms. Hafitz

Lianna Willoughby, Open Mind Strategy former brand strategist and project director, has been promoted to the position of vice president, director of research and strategy. Former intern D. Josh Honen has been named assistant for brand strategy.

Founded in 2010 as an independent llc, OpenMind Strategy customizes non-traditional methods of uncovering consumer insights, often using multiple methodologies to bring target audiences alive for clients including: Yahoo!, The Food Network, Travel Channel, VNSNY, PBM, USA Today, non-profits and advertising agencies.

About Robin Hafitz

Robin was raised in an eclectic combination of locations - Nigeria, Washington, D.C., Martha's Vineyard, but mostly Montana. She went east on scholarship, graduated Magna cum Laude from Yale, and headed to New York to try her hand as an artist. There, she found her way into advertising. Soon, a new discipline, Account Planning, presented the opportunity to apply her creative and intellectual talents. As an early American in this British-dominated discipline, Robin had the opportunity to work with some of the best talent in the advertising industry.

After a stint at Chiat/Day, Robin joined Creative star Nick Cohen as Co-Chair of start-up Mad Dogs & Englishmen, in 1992. Under their leadership, this strategically-driven creative boutique won awards for creativity and strategic excellence for clients such as AOL MovieFone, YooHoo Chocolate Drink, Blue Moon Beer, The Village Voice, and The Economist. As a “media neutral” agency, Mad Dogs was a dot-com darling, growing to 70 people.

After the dot-com meltdown, Robin diversified Mad Dogs' offering by opening Mad Logic, a Planning consultancy, which specialized in insights for media companies. Using innovative high-tech / high-touch research techniques, Mad Logic solved challenges for companies like:, Newsweek, Univision, Sirius Satellite Radio, USA Network, SyFy, and Viacom. At Mad Dogs Enterprises, Robin trained many talented planners who work in some of the world’s best agencies.

Robin and Nick closed Mad Dogs Enterprises in 2005 and Robin started Open Mind Strategy, building on the expertise of Mad Logic in the media arena. Open Mind retained clients like USA, SyFy, and MTV Networks, and helped a host of television channels, publishers, and web-based businesses to better connect with their audiences.

Among other achievements, Robin’s team developed the successful “Characters” positioning that helped USA capture the lead in cable. One of the first research companies to consider consumers as co-creators, Open Mind soon expanded beyond media to experience brands, such as travel destinations and retail brands. During this period, OMS teamed with eatbigfish, helping companies like Cole Haan, eBay, Kodak, and Unilever successfully apply “challenger brand” principles to innovating their businesses.

In 2007, Robin joined kb+p as Managing Partner and Chief Strategic Officer, and OMS became one of kb+p’s specialist divisions. Working across all of kb’s disciplines, Robin was instrumental in winning business from: Wendy’s International, Avon Fragrances, Starz, and Bloomberg, and in developing successful insight-driven strategies for clients such as Panasonic, Kao, Diageo, and Mohegan Sun. Meanwhile, Open Mind helped solve problems for Comedy Central, TVLand, Yahoo! and NBC.

Robin is a member of the New York Entrepreneurs Organization. She sits on the National Advertising Review Board, served for five years on the board of the AAAA’s Account Planning Committee, including two years as Co-Chair. She has been a regular teacher of the 4A’s “Quantitative Literacy for Planners” course, was an Executive in Residence at the University of Oregon’s Advertising Program, and has taught at VCU and the Miami Ad School. She has spoken frequently at research and marketing conferences on strategic development, new media, and teens, has judged numerous award shows, and was named America’s “Iron Planner” by the US APG in 2004, a title so far unchallenged.

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