In the Hot Seat: Peter Noorkiov

The CbH chief executive explains to Pip Brooking why he welcomes change.

It's a crucial time for CbH as it rebrands to Ignito. The agency's name-change follows a lengthy period of re-evaluation in what many see as a time of industry uncertainty.

Chief executive Peter Noorkiov views things differently, however, and is embracing change.

"I'm fed up with hearing that the industry is depressed. Depression is a state of mind," he says. After 25 years in the industry, Noorkiov is the first to admit that promotional marketing has changed markedly.

But he sees this as an exciting and dynamic time, and he believes CbH, founded in 1979, can keep pace.

"If you don't look at yourself on a regular basis, you don't get anywhere," he says. "Our business has woken up, with demonstrable results."

A key factor in the rebranding process has been the injection of fresh blood. Since December 2003, Noorkiov has taken on Darren Keen as marketing director and Brett Salmons as art director, both from Saatchi & Saatchi.

He has also worked closely with students from Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design for the past two years. He says there is much to gain from a generation that is used to change and contemporary demands.

The Ignito approach is grounded in what Noorkiov calls "transactional triggers", which identify the precise mix of emotive factors that "turn people on" at every stage of the consideration-to-purchase process.

"Detail is what makes campaigns work," he says. "Being a successful agency is not about droning on about brand-share figures; it's about people.

"That's the core truth we're trying to build through Ignito. Engagement and interaction is everything."

Noorkiov wants to take a step away from the limelight. After all this time in the industry, a lot of people know him.

"But I want them to know Ignito," he says. "The culture of personality is fine to a degree, but our work is done by a team, not an individual."

Noorkiov hopes to take the company to Europe. One member of his team is going to Paris in May to share ideas with an experiential marketing company. "We've got to get a presence in the different marketplaces in order to have credibility," he argues.

And Noorkiov is not perturbed by the challenge. "If you make it fun, change is a great thing," he says. "It's only when you make it a threat that it's bad. It might mean working that little bit harder, but this is where Ignito wants to be."


1992: Chief executive, CbH

1989: Managing director, CbH

1986: Partner, CbH 1984 Account director, CbH

1982: Marketing controller, Sears Holdings

1979: Account manager, Benton Bowles


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