BCH expands leadership

New partner Allison Pitman and new creative director Brian Garr cap agency changes to meet challenges of changing marketplace

BCH has added a partner and a new creative director as part of a broader shift in strategy to respond to an increasingly digital and consumer-driven marketplace.

Allison Pitman, with the agency for nine years, has been named partner, joining owners Susan Bandy, Mark Carroll, Tim Hellige, Gary Sloboda and Matt Kamer. Brian Garr, formerly creative director for Atria Senior Living, has rejoined BCH as creative director.

“Allison and Brian round out a number of changes we’ve made to rethink the way we work,” said Kamer, partner and director of public relations. “We’ve structured our teams and workflow in a way that eliminates the blurry lines between marketing and public relations and social media and instead lets real consumer insights drive all of our strategy for clients.”

With Garr’s addition, agency partner Gary Sloboda will add account planning to his role as executive creative director. As lead planner, Sloboda will direct the agency’s work in analyzing consumer research and data to develop insights that drive creative campaigns. BCH is the only agency in the region with an in-house focus group facility and regularly conducts its own consumer research.

Pitman serves as account group director and will oversee the agency’s new Brand Management team, comprised of the agency’s previous advertising account manager and public relations manager roles. In addition, the agency formed a Brand Experience team comprised of the agency’s media, digital and social media teams.

“Account planning—and finding that golden nugget of an insight that really helps a message click with the consumer—is going to be at the center of all we do,” Pitman said. “Then, rather than just creating an ad, our teams create experiences at each touchpoint where a consumer engages with a brand, whether that’s in paid media, owned media, earned media or the shared, social media space.”

Other recent hires, including Abby Varner, Sarah Bhatia and Danielle McKenzie as brand managers, and Nick Wunderlin as digital strategist, have expanded the agency’s depth in digital media and storytelling.

“We’re approaching things very differently from when I was here previously, but it’s the right direction because of how the marketplace and the media have changed so much in just a few short years,” Garr said.

Garr has extensive experience in the entertainment, healthcare, retail, tourism, agriculture, food and beverage and several other industries, and his campaigns have won a number of local, regional and national Addy awards and been published in Graphis, a top national graphic design professional publication. He first joined BCH’s creative department in 1998 and departed in 2015 to take a position as creative director with Atria Senior Living. Garr also is an accomplished stand-up comic, improv actor and director.

Pitman was part of BCH’s internship program during her senior year at the University of Louisville and was hired in 2009 and grew quickly with the company. She has strategic planning and marketing communications experience in the tourism, spirits, utility, healthcare and gaming sectors and has led a number of rebranding initiatives for clients.