MARNIX and ALLY announces associate partner to grow the strategy department
The MARNIX and ALLY team keeps on growing. Today, we’re introducing Katherina Kitsinis, new associate partner and head of strategy at MARNIX and ALLY. During the past year Katherina has successfully built the foundation of the strategy department and now she’s taking her commitment to M and A to the next level. With her in-depth knowledge of brand development and growth and her entrepreneurial background, she fits the bill. The right person on the right spot. We are happy to introduce our newest asset.
Hi Katherina, could you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about what it is you do at MARNIX & ALLY?
Of course! Hi, I’m Katherina. Mom of Elena (9) and Aldo (4) and married to my high school sweetheart. I have Greek roots but was born and raised in Genk. People often describe me as a positive, calm and cheerful person. Besides work, I also really enjoy the little things in life: wild flowers, home-grown vegetables, slow food, sunsets,… just to name a few. Even though I am an enthusiastic creative thinker, I tend to work in an organised and efficient manner in order to see the bigger picture. Although I try to live mindfully, here and now, I also love to plan ahead and search for future challenges and new experiences. At M and A I use my experience as an entrepreneur and brand strategist to challenge clients to re-evaluate their brand and to help them see new possibilities. I work with and for clients, creating all kinds of strategies (growth, marketing, brand…). On top of that I coach brands in order to clarify their needs and set new goals. The aim always is to specify the core of the brand so it keeps on blooming.
What defines you as a brand strategist? When is a brand strategy successful, according to you?
I aim pretty high and always start from the consumer’s point of view. In branding, I think it is of the utmost importance to strike the right chord, to tell the right story. In order to do so, you don’t only need a clear insight in consumer behaviour and market strategies but also the so-called human touch is important. A branding strategy is a success when we are able to recreate possibilities and enable the brand to grow into the future.
Which part of your job is the most fulfilling?
We grow brands from bud to bloom. Since we’re intensively involved in the strategic growth process of our brands, we inevitably take up a crucial role along the way. I immediately think of in-depth collaboration like coaching projects. We are there every step of the way, to guide them in all important phases of growth. This might involve guidance in evolving from a one-man show to a professional brand, or the switch from a core offline brand to a more digital one or shaping the brand’s value. Seeing them grow, really offers me a great feeling of satisfaction. That’s why I’m so grateful, I get to work with clients whose personal values are that close to mine. I literally would have a hard time being passionate about brands I’ don’t really believe in.
How did you get in touch with An-Katrien and MARNIX and ALLY?
We have the same roots, we are both born and raised in Genk. However, our paths only crossed later on, in a professional atmosphere. I have to admit I already followed MARNIX and ALLY for long time because of their inspirational approach. And then I met An-Katrien in real life during a network event just before the corona epidemic shed a whole new light on everyday life. However, we immediately felt that ‘click’. When we started working together, we quickly realised that our thoughts and approaches are very complementary. In fact, I think we might call this a ‘match made in heaven’. We share a profound interest in the brands we believe in, things we value and the aesthetics of certain aspects. We have been working together for quite some time now and got to know one another pretty well along the way. That’s why, this partnership just feels right, like the next logical step to take for both of us.
Can you tell us about your background and education? How did these prepare you for your job at MARNIX and ALLY?
I used to work in product and brand development for different lifestyle and design brands ànd I was founder of a former trend forecasting bureau. Being a ‘futurist’, I always have one eye fixed on the future. This comes in handy, in the ever-evolving branding universe. Basically, I use my years of experience in all facets of a brand, on a daily basis. I apply a strategic approach, which is to the point and carefully substantiated. I think of it as my duty to enable a brand to grow, using their full potential and with a clear view on the world around them and the particular and changing customer needs.
You are now an associate partner at Marnix & Ally. How does your role differentiate from the role of An-Katrien?
An-Katrien is the founder and managing partner of MARNIX and ALLY. Due to her years of experience she knows exactly what works and what doesn’t work for M and A, and this given is just priceless. Our complementarity arises from the two main pillars M and A stands for. We build brands and we thoughtfully spread their stories. I fit the first pillar, in which I focus on strategically buiding brands. Furthermore, An-Katrien and I carefully work together on the company’s strategy and I try to support her in as many ways as possible on the different aspects of entrepreneurship. We both share a high level of professional as well as personal affinity for meaningful/aesthetic brands. We are both passionate about our jobs and as an agency we consider it our privilege and duty to give something back to society.
What distinguishes Marnix and Ally from other agencies, according to you?
We, at M and A, have a clear vision; we only work with fashion, design or lifestyle brands that have a sustainable and/or innovative background. We know this a bold choice, but up till now, we only reap the benefits. The right clients find their way to our agency and positively pick us because of our approach. On top of that we get to work with clients whose story we fully believe in and that simply is our goal - our dream - the reason why we do this. We don’t opt for the quick wins but for collabs ‘on the long run’. This fully reflects our corporate culture which we really want to transfer to our clients but also to our own passionate M and A team.
In what way do you see Marnix and Ally evolve in 5 to 10 years? And what will be your contribution?
What can I say, we really believe in the brands we work with, so the ones who aim for the greater good and therefore are sustainable. Because of their authenticity and credibility they’ll be able to use their acquired potency in a very helpful way. For instance, by easily transferring some difficult social and sustainable issues to the public. The ultimate challenge for most companies will be to successfully implement this conscious awareness in a commercial way. We do believe that the future lies in these successful links. A future challenge I accept and one which I would love to guide and inspire you in.
In 5 years’ time, I reckon and hope M and A has grown into a strong, international brand that is a reference in designing and spreading conscious brand stories. An agency that next to its services and inspiring role is also fully committed to provide education and information by means of sustainability panels, labs and in-house experts.