What do they do all day? Ogilvy’s José Juarez on the role of an integration lead
José Juarez is the executive group director and integration lead on Ogilvy’s Coca-Cola account. As part of our series demystifying the many job titles that make up adland, he explains how he earns his keep.
José Juarez, executive group director and integration lead at Ogilvy / Ogilvy
I’ve been at Ogilvy for almost five months now. Originally I was in Chicago on the client side at Kraft Heinz, but my career started at agencies. I was in Chicago for 14 years but I moved to New York two months ago. When the opportunity came up, I wanted to immerse myself in the agency.
Originally, I was working on multiple clients but now I’m focused primarily on Coca-Cola. And right now, I’m focused on sparkling flavors for North America – so Sprite and Fanta.
I was brought in as an executive group director and then had the opportunity to become an integration lead later. An integration lead is kind of a guiding light to help find a destination for both clients and internal teams.
Our account teams are well equipped, but my time at Kraft helped prepare me for this kind of role. I believe in the power of creativity; I wanted to join an iconic company and I did that. Now I’ve joined another to help bridge and understand what’s going on inside the client.
I have around four direct reports. But as integration lead, there’s a massive team across media, PR, retail, creative strategy – the whole gamut. It’s an amazing team that works hard to bring this to life for clients.
Twice a week I meet with Coca-Cola’s cross-functional team at their offices. There are 10 of them and I sit in on their internal team meetings. I’m viewed as a trusted partner to help identify challenges, timelines, etc – we’re talking from retail all the way down to the project manager on a specific team to understand what’s really going on. And we work together to really identify new challenges. I love these face-to-face interactions with our clients. It’s a great way to bond and get to know them. We have our own little OpenX [WPP’s Coca-Cola agency] headquarters there too.
The best way to look at it is we’re actual partners with our clients. We’re helping them understand what’s on the horizon and beyond. As a business, Coca-Cola is complex. There are so many things that have different stakeholders. Day-to-day I’m working with them, working on strategy or looking at creative.
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As the integration lead, I’m the open door for clients, either to assess a challenge or an opportunity that we can work together toward. The most recent example would be Twitter’s change to X. That was something we had to quickly adapt to to understand our plan for ongoing development.
We had a quick regroup to make sure that our strategy still made sense and was still relevant and to work out what we had to optimize or tweak to adapt to the evolving nature and climate. That involved our social team, our strategists, our clients – everybody was there.
My role is to simply help put everybody together, as a glue or connective tissue, and let them make the best work of their lives. Since the pandemic, we’ve known that leading with empathy is so vital and important. It’s about understanding each other on a human level. At its core, that’s what our relationships with clients are about.
As told to Sam Bradley.