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HLK Hires Two New Strategists

June 30, 2015

HLK welcomes two new strategists to its growing team: Erin Gitau and Luke Yamnitz.

Gitau was last with Geile/Leon Marketing Communications as a Senior Account Executive, where her clients included Manna Pro, Sporlan Valve, Lindenwood University and the Saint Louis Science Center.

New Strategists

Yamnitz is recent graduate of Saint Louis University, where he interned in marketing and communications for the University’s Enrollment and Retention Management program. He also directed tours for Anheuser-Busch.

In their roles as Strategist and Junior Strategist, respectively, Gitau and Yamnitz will report to Director of Strategy Erin Knitter.

"Erin [Gitau] comes from an account background, but from a firm that was deeply rooted in strategy. She wore a lot of hats, but she loved to solve problems for her clients," says Knitter. "Luke’s [Yamnitz] position as Junior Strategist is new to HLK. I was nervous about adding a junior, but it became apparent that there is a lot of young talent, like Luke, that we were missing out on cultivating. Experience doesn't always mean years in an office. And his work as a tour guide at AB means he’s able to translate a brand down to the in-person experience."

HLK’s process involves the Strategy department from problem identification through execution to create detailed plans, set meaningful KPIs, and then measure success and make refinements as necessary. After the planning phase, strategists consistently infuse the strategy into all tactics. "It’s a gut-check for the teams involved to keep strategy in front all the time," says Knitter.

"In a lot of agencies, UX is often separate from planning. At HLK, it is a hybrid role because we believe in a connected customer experience and solving problems for both the business and the user. For us, the two cannot be separated."

What makes a good strategist? Knitter posits that it comes down to the way people are hard-wired. "Strategists are problem-solvers to their core. They want to fix what’s broken. Most strategists also need to be comfortable with the work they do never being seen."

HLK is a full-service digital agency driven to create authentic brand experiences. Active clients include Nestlé Purina, Monsanto, On The Run, Germ-X, the St. Louis Cardinals, MapQuest, SCL Health, Ameren and Webster University. For more information, visit www.hlkagency.com