PLAYER PROFILE: BATES GRIGNON WILL ALIGN MEDIA WITH POSITIONING: BATES N.A. EXEC LINKS MEDIA, TECH

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For Perianne Grignon, the week between leaving AT&T Corp. and joining Bates North America was the first time in years she wasn't hooked up to a single communications device.

Beepers and cellular phones were par for the course at AT&T's sprawling headquarters, where Ms. Grignon was media director-marketing communications.

And they will be a necessity at Bates, where she started last week as director of media and new technologies, overseeing all Bates' media operations in the U.S. and Canada.

After three years at AT&T, where she directed strategic development of media plans and buys, Ms. Grignon is comfortable with technology.

NEW MEDIA BECOME OLD

It shouldn't be so unusual to see new technologies and media under the same roof, said Ms. Grignon, who believes the media community has segmented new media because they're still in their infancy and need more focus and attention.

"New media become old media very quickly these days," she said.

Right now, new media should be treated separately when it comes to pricing and measuring reach, but that, too, is changing, she said, noting other technology is helping to change the landscape for traditional media planning.

A BIGGER TOOLBOX

"The toolbox is getting much bigger and much better," she said, adding technological tools allow media to be more efficient and diverse.

"Media [planning] is getting to be like the syrup on the waffle. You pour it on and it goes into every nook and cranny," she said.

Meanwhile, media departments have to create new thinking for media planning, instead of starting with a budget and moving on to choosing media based on geography, seasonality and creative needs, she said.

Her mission: Making sure the media aspect is aligned with all brand positioning, not just the brand's marketing program, guaranteeing its relevance to the target group and then creating a media-investment strategy that fits.

INVERTED PARADIGM

"I've kind of turned the paradigm upside down," said Ms. Grignon.

Such a reversal can cause creative tension among the staff, but that's not a bad thing, she said, noting creative tension can be productive. Applying that thinking at AT&T helped drive down costs per thousand by allowing choices that made media plans more efficient, she added.

Those ideas were a big factor in bringing Ms. Grignon to Bates, said CEO Bill Whitehead.

"I really wanted someone out of the box," said Mr. Whitehead, someone who had the perspective of having worked on both the agency and client side.

LIKE COMING HOME

Joining Bates is like coming home, said Ms. Grignon, who has spent most of her career as an agency media planner. She began as a media planner at William Esty Co., New York, then spent 10 years as group media planning director at Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York.

She worked at Nabisco as media director-special products group before moving to AT&T in 1994.

Going back to an agency will be an adjustment, she conceded, but added that even becoming a client, she remained close to the agency side and never stopped paying attention to changes among the agencies she worked with.

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