KidsKnowBest expands senior team with three key hires

The youth-focused creative agency, KidsKnowBest is continuing its plans for expansion with the appointment of three new senior hires across its data, research, and strategy teams.

Thomas Fink has been appointed as Data and AI consultant, while Helen Lockett takes up the role of Associate Research Director. Ed Hallinan Rhodes, a content marketer with ten-plus years’ industry experience, has been named the firm’s new Strategy Director. 

Fink’s appointment is part of KidsKnowBest’s plan to expand Nougat – the firm’s proprietary global research platform that lets brands tap into insight on what kids are thinking and feeling about the things that matter to them, in real time.

Fink joins from Arla Foods, where he held the role of Senior Strategy and Design Consultant, working on projects including an award-winning artificial intelligence solution that made it possible to connect with consumers without cookies.

He also worked on a sustainability initiative that used AI and analytics to identify ways of cutting Arla’s energy consumption. Before joining Arla as Global Digital Media Manager in 2018, Fink worked at Dentsu Aegis Network, initially as Digital Campaign Manager then as Data analyst. He takes up his new role later this month.

Meanwhile, Helen Lockett takes up her role in June after spending three years at Discovery Research. She was a Senior Research Manager, and the quantitative lead for its specialist kids and youth division, The Hub. Among the brands she has consulted for are the BBC and the BookTrust, and she has been published in the Children’s Media Yearbook.

Prior to her work at Discovery Research, she has worked at YouthSight, a youth research agency, and Shift Learning, an agency focused on education.

KidsKnowBest chief strategy officer, Pete Robinson, said: “It is important that we continue to recruit world class research and data experts to support our growth. We look for professionals who are passionate about the world of kids media and entertainment, but also challenge traditional methods in how we speak with and listen to young audiences.

“I’m excited to be welcoming the experience of Helen and Thomas to the KidsKnowBest family and continuing to push boundaries on how kids’ voices inform the industry that serves them.”

Fink said: “I am thrilled to work with the dedicated people at KidsKnowBest. I am joining at a time where the research team is already out talking with kids to learn more about their media behaviour, trending influencers and general interests.

“My job will be to create a data platform that can help turn all the collected data into valuable insights in a scalable manner. I can’t wait to get started.”

Lockett added: “I‘m really excited to be joining the research team at KidsKnowBest. I’ll be bringing my strong research agency experience to the directors’ great brand backgrounds, which feels like a really complementary fit. We’ve all got a passion for the world of kids in common, and bringing their voices to life for clients.”

Meanwhile, Hallinan Rhodes will work on content strategy for KidsKnowBest projects, and will head up a new division launching this year called 9:16, which will facilitate collaboration between brands and the next generation of content creators.

He will support KidsKnowBest’s plan to build an ecosystem of insight and expertise that lives between campaigns. 

Hallinan Rhodes joins KidsKnowBest in May from JUMP, part of Havas Media UK, where he was Business Director working across content-focussed clients to expand and improve existing knowledge and capabilities, with a focus on performance and measurement. 

Hallinan Rhodes has previously worked on strategy and campaigns for O2, Coca-Cola (CCEP), Royal Mail and Huawei. 

Adz Stone, chief creative officer at KidsKnowBest, said: “Ed is the one of the smartest and nicest people you’ll ever meet, and in the cut-throat media industry this is a rare thing indeed. Previously, Ed and I created some genre-bending work for brands such as O2, and it has made my year that we’re re-uniting the dream team. 

“Ed has an incredible strategic mind as well as having a stack of fresh ideas that he constantly surprises everyone with and he will be such an asset to KidsKnowBest as he will bring his big-agency, bigger-client way of thinking.”

Ed Hallinan Rhodes said: “If there was one defining trend I’ve witnessed over the last couple of years working with brands, it’s the need to cut through with a younger audience. It’s easy to see why; from pioneering environmental and cultural activism, broadening youth suffrage, the rise of gaming and the evolution of social media, the next generation has never had a stronger platform.

“KidsKnowBest has a much greater understanding of this audience and habits than I’ve ever seen before. It’s a really exciting time to be joining and creating authentic content with real impact, not just for young people, but inspiring a much wider audience by amplifying their voices.”

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of ToyNews and its sister title, Licensing.biz. He has worked his way from Staff Writer to Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@biz-media.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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