ABIGAIL HIRSCHHORN, DDB NEEDHAM WORLDWIDE

Planner 'Puts Clients in Touch With Soul of Brands'

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Abigail Hirschhorn was hired as an account planner by DDB Needham Worldwide, New York, in 1992 when the agency put together its new account planning department.

Today, Ms. Hirschhorn, 32, is the executive director of planning and chief strategic officer in charge of the 20-person brand consultancy group.

She also was an integral member of the team that won the global creative and brand work for Compaq Computer Corp. Prior to that significant win, the agency had been handling Digital Equipment Corp. before it was acquired by Compaq.

Ms. Hirschhorn says she has been involved in several new-business pitches, including Amana Appliances.

She thinks of her job as in-house brand consulting that helps client/agency teams shape big ideas about brands.

"My department is made up of people who come from many walks of life, who can express themselves in unique, original ways," she says. "I believe that's where great insight is born. Our work puts our clients in touch with the souls of their brands, their companies, which becomes a powerful competitive advantage as they go to market. Their brands can be expressed to their full potential with more consistency, more integrity which in the end inspires more loyalty from customers as well as employees."

A Harvard University graduate, she chose a career in advertising over medicine or art history after spending a year in account management for then-New York agency Levine, Huntley, Schmidt & Beaver.

Her rise includes stops in account management and account planning for various New York agencies until she landed at DDB Needham.

"I'm passionate about new brand challenges, whether it's a new opportunity from an existing client or a new business effort," she says, "and the work that we do in the field, with the brand and consumer is critical to how we're going to come up with the next 'big idea' for our clients. It's an essential first step towards great marketing communications."

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