In six months at the top of Mediabrands' Ansible, Angela Steele has put the mobile agency once rumored to be closing back on the map.
When parent company Interpublic Group of Cos. dissolved the agency's relationship with technology vendor Velti, which powered all its mobile campaigns, Ansible was left with an uncertain future and no technology of its own.
Ms. Steele, brought on board to revive the mobile agency, hired a technology expert to get started on building the agency's own platform even before she had started the job at Ansible. When she officially joined this past spring, Ms. Steele's first order of business was to develop a three-year plan for the agency, which included transitioning Ansible from one-off project work for clients to longer-term retainer relationships. Since coming on board, the agency has secured two such accounts, she said, but declined to name specific clients. Ansible clients today include Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Intel and Timberland.
Ms. Steele comes to the tough job of making mobile matter within a big media agency, having spent her entire career working with a wide range of media from digital to TV. She acknowledges that her biggest challenge is to build services and products that the agency can sell at scale for its clients, especially since Ansible has grown up around custom mobile work.
Scale is nothing new to Ms. Steele, who learned media from big clients at big, global agencies. She came to Ansible after 10 years at Publicis Groupe 's Starcom Mediavest Group, where she most recently served as global account management for Procter & Gamble, with a focus on search, social media and online display advertising.
In 2006, she made her first moves into mobile, which initially was only supposed to occupy 10% of her time. Within 18 months, it became a full-time job and she was later named a regional director for Publicis' mobile agency Phonevalley.
Ms. Steele started her career in media at Starcom's digital specialty shop, Starcom IP , in 2001. Later she served as the director for Nintendo's account with Starcom, among the agency's first to combine planning for both online and offline, where she had to manage even TV for the client.
"My media fundamentals are based in digital," she said. "Once you have those fundamentals, even with all the changes, it comes back to those basics."