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The VP-media services at Sears Holdings Corp., which includes Sears, Roebuck & Co. and Kmart, grew up around the media business and became enamored with its culture. Her father was on the sales side of magazines, she says, and still misses it after 10 years of retirement. The mother of two says she hopes her daughters, ages 16 and 18, will also pursue careers in the media field.
"It offers so much," says Ms. Grignon, 47. "The media field offers the art of the strategy and the science of the measurement, and, therefore, I think it has always attracted a great deal of diverse thinking."
Ms. Grignon certainly embodies those qualities, says Charlie Rutman, CEO of MPG North America, Sears Holdings' media agency of record.
"She may be the best follower of Newton's Law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction," Mr. Rutman says. "No matter what we talk about, bring to her, discuss, recommend, she has a great way of trying to push back to make things bigger, better, more insightful, more imaginative, more creative."
The partnership between Sears and ABC's "Extreme Makeover" is what Ms. Grignon is best known for. "We were on a search for a platform to help ignite our brand positioning," she says. "When this idea was uncovered as a very rough idea for a pilot, both Sears and ABC jumped on it. ... A lot of the decisions were made around that show before Ty [Pennington, the host] had even been signed or anything had been shot. It just felt right for the brand strategy of Sears."
Other notable media deals on Ms. Grignon's watch include the recent "Re-imagine You" program that included a significant partnership with Hearst Corp. Hearst created a site for the campaign and a booklet that was distributed in 13 of its publications. In a similarly broad deal, Sears partnered with an array of youth-focused social, virtual and entertainment networks in a digital back-to-school push this season.
Ms. Grignon joined Sears in 1998, bringing with her a background at AT&T, Nabisco and Bates Worldwide. That varied experience has given her the insight to gradually recast the struggling retailer's programs as the industry has shifted.
"In 10 years we've gone from being pretty dependent on the newspaper insert to broadening the media mix to becoming a very large digital player," Ms. Grignon says. "My belief is that media can solve business problems and can add real value to a brand and to a corporation."
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