Rachel Mercer

Digital / Brand / Innovation

Hi there

I am a Full Stack Strategist that strives to change the way that individuals observe and interact with brands. I work to proactively change how brands, advertisers, and startups alike can develop a more productive and positive experience for their consumer.

I currently live abroad working with the Made by Many London team to help our clients find stability in a constantly shifting marketplace.

Previously, I worked under Bud Caddell to develop the Invention and Digital Strategy disciplines at Deutsch LA, designed and developed products at companies such as Crispin Porter + Bogusky and Mobelux, and have consulted brands including Coca-Cola, Target, Volkswagen, Expedia, Esurance, and Nintendo.

I was named one of Business Insider's 30 Most Creative Under 30, and have been a product and marketing professional since 2008 - with work featured in The New York Times, Wired, Fast Company, Creativity Magazine, Digiday, AdAge and more.

My boundless enthusiasm for the internet lead me to work with amazing, equally nerdy people at ROFLCon, Tumblr, and Gawker Media. I am always eager for more internet-y friends. You can find me most easily on Twitter, occasionally writing on Medium, documenting on VSCOcam, and being a fangirl on Tumblr or Pinterest.

Work History

EARNING

Senior Strategist

Made by Many

Leading development, user insights, strategy, and multi-partner relationships to bring new digital and physical products to market. Working with our clients to create new products and business models which transform their organisations and customer relationships.

2014 ~ Present

Senior Strategist, Digital + Invention

Deutsch LA

Led engagements to develop digital strategies for Fortune 500 Brands. Founding member of a product development team inside Deutsch LA dedicated to helping organizations of all sizes experiment with new ideas, technologies, and behaviors. Managed and worked with small multi-disciplinary teams to build products and digital solutions as lean and mean as possible. Developed curricula for ongoing digital education and process workshops for management teams across clients.

2012 ~ 2014

Co-Founder, COO

Pullist

Side project co-developing the "Birchbox for Comics" - a subscription service which delivered a hand-picked graphic novel to your door every month. Notable industry experts (from comic book authors, to artists, to YouTube stars, to critics) helped us to curate each month's selection.

2012 ~ 2014

LEARNING

M.S Business Creative Technology and Mass Communications

VCU Brandcenter

Learning how to sit at the intersection of technology, strategy, and design. Developed concepts, strategies, engagements, and campaigns for live clients such as Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Lexus, The Ritz-Carlton, Mars Incorporated, Barnes & Noble, and Macy's.

2010 ~ 2012

B.S. Dual Degree Interactive Media + Graphic Design

Northeastern University

Served as a T.A for introductory design and multimedia courses. Co-developed and managed the university's first rapid prototyping studio.

CATEGORY EXPERIENCE

Retail

Led and managed digital and social strategies across Target's product lines and category verticals. Helped to launch new digital and physical products and develop new in-store engagement opportunities.

Insurance

Worked with Esurance (Allstate) and Answer Financial clients to help them navigate an environment where user churn and product parity are a constant threat.

Gaming

Worked with challenger brand Nintendo to strategize organisational and brand opportunities in a market currently being disrupted by smartphones and new consoles.

Automotive

Developed strategies and positioning for new cars for VW. Worked in tandem with the larger team to develop the first car website with linked to real-time-inventory.

Travel

Tackled organizational, positioning, and brand challenges to develop workable frameworks for the world's largest online travel booking company.

CPG

Helped Coca-Cola engage their most important market (teens) in new and meaningful ways. Led social media engagements for Kraft, Jell-O, Pop-Secret, and Real California Milk.

Hackaball

Worked with an amazing collective of teams from Made by Many and MAP Project office to bring Hackaball (a connected toy which teaches kids the principles of programming through play) from a concept prototype to the market. In a product management and strategy capacity, I worked with all parties to not only make sure that we were aligned in terms of development, production, and design but also deliver a product that resonated with customers. Responsibilities ranged from interviewing parents and children about desired ball features, to handling manufacturing orders from China, to performing price and messaging analyses around how to best introduce the product to both consumer and educational markets.

In order to fund a full production run, we're taking Hackaball to Kickstarter in February of 2015. Hackaball was also an IXDA finalist in the "Engaging" category.

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Esurance Fuelcaster

After discovering a market gap for useful products for Insurance companies, we worked with Esurance to develop a product that would help consumers make smart decisions through data in order to reinforce their brand promise (the insurance of the future).

Once we developed and tested 68 original concepts, we settled on one which was both immediately feasible and fulfilled user needs. Fuelcaster. Working with a small, interdisciplinary team, we went from concept to launch in just 8 weeks.

After the initial launch, Fuelcaster was featured in Fast Company, NPR, Complex, Conde Nast Traveller, and the International Business Times. AdAge said it was one of the 'Innovators of 2015'. The desktop version of the site was shortlisted by the FWA.

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Target Bullseye University Live

Target is a brand that historically never has an opportunity to engage with teenagers, only Mom. By creating an opportunity for a two-way relationship, we exceeded both our business and creative goals for the campaign. Online sales increased 37% from the year before, the average viewer session was over 11 minutes, and by the end of the four days teens had spent a total of 17 years watching. Beyond the data was the cultural impact, fans created gifs for Tumblr, pins for Pinterest, and recorded and posted the live feed to YouTube.

Twitter played a massive role in engaging the audience, during the 90 hours we were live we got over 90,000,000 earned media impressions from all of the #BullseyeU tweets. It gave fans a way to communicate with the influencers, and for us on the team to get realtime feedback on the programming. All of the influencers did live Q&A's via Twitter, some wrote songs with tweets, others drew portraits of fans who tweeted in a photo.

My satisfaction as a digital strategist primarily came out of watching these two-way interactions happening between our Youtube stars and the teens themselves - something that otherwise doesn't happen much online. I think the Tumblr user above is my favorite capture from the event.

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Deutsch LA Emerging Bets Volume II

Invention began at Deutsch LA with the mission to solve complex business problems through means that fall outside the comfortable mold of advertising deliverables. Our team was charged with developing disruptive offerings, relationships, and business models for our clients. With that in mind, we attended two of the leading conferences relevant to our industry – CES and SXSWi – to examine startups and products that build on or extend emerging behaviors and technologies.

Startups and burgeoning products represent emerging bets at the intersection of technology and culture. Any product that a company produces is inherently a prediction for the future. CES and SXSWi represent a rare opportunity to view hundreds of those predictions in a single location, all vying for attention and adoption. From these bets, we collected an overall view of rising trends and what brands and marketers can learn from those trends in this 10 page report.

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PRESS & PUNDITRY

Recent Articles and Features

Quotes & Mentions

2014 ~ Present

Business Insider: These Are The 30 Most Creative People In Advertising Under 30
Agency Post: 16 Products Launched by Ad Agencies
Fast Company: Esurance promises to tell you tomorrow's gas price today
ADC Global: Who are the top graduates to have come out of the Brandcenter?

Guest Lecturer

VCU Brandcenter, MASC 674: Applied Creative Technology

Designed a month-long course assignment based on real-world and client challenges for second-year students. Provided an introductory market assessment of the role of a creative technologist, and challenged students to deliver across strategic, creative, and technological thinking.

Spring 2014

Featured Interviewee

'Everything by Everyone' Documentary

Discussing the role of the internet as a creative medium, the proliferation of memes in popular culture, and the evolution of internet culture.

Winter 2010

Guest Lecturer

University of Michigan, SWC 200: The Rhetoric of Blogging

Curation vs. Creation in Blogging

Winter 2009