Joel R. Johnson

Joel R. Johnson

Chief Marketing Officer at Trout Unlimited

Washington D.C. Metro Area
Marketing and Advertising

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Joel R. Johnson's Overview

  • Chief Marketing Officer at Trout Unlimited
  • Principal Consultant at Shared Value Strategy
  • SVP Director of Account Planning at GMMB
  • EVP Planning Director at Porter Novelli
  • Director of Digital Strategy at Sapient Nitro

500+ connections


Joel R. Johnson's Summary

Working to protect, reconnect, restore and sustain our nation's coldwater fisheries as Chief Marketing Officer of Trout Unlimited.

Former SVP Planning Director at GMMB (DC). Former Planning Director/Global Head at Porter Novelli. Former Head of Digital Strategy at Sapient Nitro. Previously lead Spike DDB. Various stints in account planning at US & UK agencies. Board member, Flow Nonfiction (branded documentary).

Writer, passionate conservationist, and fly fisherman. You can see my angling and conservation writing on my personal blog, DEADBAIT.

You can find my professional writing on my marketing blog, THINK SEE DO DIFFERENTLY.

Specialties: Account/Brand Planning, Business Development, Branded Content, Quant/Qual Research, Advocacy, Digital Strategy, Social Media, Advertising & PR, Client Services, P&L Management, Management

Joel R. Johnson's Experience

Chief Marketing Officer

Trout Unlimited

Nonprofit; 51-200 employees; Nonprofit Organization Management industry

March 2014Present (7 months) Arlington, VA

Leading a diverse and talented marketing and communications team for the most effective coldwater fisheries conservation organization in the US.

Focused on growth. Responsible for setting brand and marketing strategy, driving results for membership, CRM, customer service, partnership and corporate marketing, communications, and advertising.

Principal Consultant

Shared Value Strategy

September 2011Present (3 years 1 month) NYC

As a veteran brand strategist/account planner, I now bring years of experience in digital, advertising and social marketing to agencies, non-profits/NGOs, CSR executives and corporations to solve tough communications challenges. My proprietary planning approach is based in providing "shared value" between consumers, brands/corporations/nonprofits, and society at-large.

The result--a social marketing PATH TO ADVOCACY that drives deeper engagement and connection with the goals of every stakeholder. The PATH TO ADVOCACY can be easily overlaid existing marketing plans, or drive a new plan across integrated media for effective and measurable campaigns.

Client brands include Flow Nonfiction (FORD Warriors in Pink), Kaplow Communications (SKYPE-in-the Classroom, TARGET), Pulsar Advertising (business development), Karen Kline Anti-Bullying Foundation (consultant).

SVP Director of Account Planning


Public Company; 51-200 employees; Public Relations and Communications industry

August 2012March 2014 (1 year 8 months) Washington D.C.

As Head of Planning at progressive integrated advocacy ad agency, I had hands-on planning leadership for agency clients and coalitions. Lead planner for initiatives under Corporate Coalition to Fight Hunger, KaBoom!, Gill Foundation, Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association, American Beverage Association, NCTA, WA + VA Health Exchanges among others.

Lead a team of 5 marketing professionals. Developed training, productizing planning verticals.
Lead strategist for Business Development team. Work directly with a wide-range of clients at NGOs, trade associations on promoting social change agendas to end hunger, increase play in children's lives, reduce obesity, expand health care coverage and protect the environment.

Executed over a dozen planning initiatives, including, copy-testing, message development and framing, brand identity development and integrated advertising testing.

Full engagement and campaign management with digital tools, including analytics and social media monitoring.

Lead planner on over a dozen new business initiatives leading to wins for agency including, Corporate Coalition to Fight Hunger, Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association, KaBoom!

Recent Speaking Engagements: SXSW 2013, Do Good Better Conference/Talkforum NYC,
Communications Network Conference Fall 2013

EVP Planning Director

Porter Novelli

Public Company; 1001-5000 employees; OMC; Public Relations and Communications industry

December 2009June 2011 (1 year 7 months) New York, NY

Lead an integrated team of digital strategists and planners across the US and Europe to develop holistic PR campaigns based on insightful strategies and relevant channel selection across several enterprise-level clients, McDonalds (health initiatives), Pepsico (health initiatives), HP, and P&G (Gillette). Developed Gillette’s global Purpose-Driven cause marketing platform, and Gillette 2012 Olympic platform under the global CSR P&G Thanks Mom campaign.

As SVP, lead integration of digital into planning process. Evangelized digital to clients/agency and developed PR 2.0 practices. High-lights include award-winning campaign for the NA launch of Gillette Fusion “ProGlide Challenge.” Strategist and Executive Producer of HP “ePrint Live!”, the first ever live-streamed improve comedy show on YouTube featuring the Upright Citizens Brigade.

Lead strategist for several new business wins including Pepsico/Tropicana nutrition engagement, Merck among others.

Director of Digital Strategy

Sapient Nitro

Public Company; 10,001+ employees; SAPE; Information Technology and Services industry

August 2008December 2009 (1 year 5 months) New York, NY

NY digital strategy practice leader (social media, strategy, account planning) at top 5 independent interactive agency. Developed Sapient Brand Planning discipline—“Brand Tools”. Projects include eCRM, segmentation, integrated digital campaigns including direct mail, email, emerging and social media, data and analytics monitoring. Key clients include Citi (CBNA Online, Cards Online, Mobile), Travelers Insurance (direct response, email), Unilever, MetLife, Sony, and Merck.

Highlights include multi-brand digital strategy development for Unilever (brands included Axe, Dove, Lever, Klondike, Ragu). Close collaboration and stakeholder research with Unilever media agency, brand managers lead to integrated media platform. Strategic lead on Citibank’s "Promises" retail, direct mail campaign.

Managing Director, Strategy

Spike DDB

Public Company; 11-50 employees; Marketing and Advertising industry

January 2007August 2008 (1 year 8 months) New York, NY

Lead profitable turn-around of Spike Lee’s advertising agency by adding new and organic business. Key wins Magic Johnson Foundation, American Stroke Association, Topps, New Era, VH-1, NY Daily News, Lexus. Retained key clients Pepsi, Johnson & Johnson. Projects ranged from traditional to digital and advocacy.

Lead staff through agency re-branding. Introduced new services including branded entertainment and event promotion. Projects included branded content online, media program integration, and digital video for Johnson & Johnson, Turner Networks, Royal Caribbean.

Highlights include developing award-winning campaign for American Stroke Association, and Magic Johnson Foundation (HIV/AIDs Prevention).

Director of Strategy/Brand Planning

Spike DDB

Public Company; 11-50 employees; Marketing and Advertising industry

April 2005January 2007 (1 year 10 months)

Founded brand planning dept, implemented proprietary research tools (Mintel, DDB LifeStyle), responsible for agency brand planning process, managed planning and consumer insight research staff, implemented all client research, developed successful strategies for new business wins, tested all advertising campaigns. Clients included Turner Networks, Pepsi, Frito-Lay, State Farm Insurance, Royal Caribbean Intl, Acuvue, Johnson & Johnson (AMBI).

Highlights include growing viewership of fans of NBA on TNT for two consecutive years in infamous campaign featuring Ali-G and numerous NBA players, also, design and co-authorship of Mintel Study on African American Consumer Market.

Senior Strategic Planner


Public Company; 10,001+ employees; OMC; Marketing and Advertising industry

September 2003November 2004 (1 year 3 months)

In Burkitt DDB (London), managed team of brand planners, lead international new business development on several brands, responsible for agency brand planning process, developed and tested international campaigns. Clients included John Lewis dept. stores, Energizer, and Drambuie (Bacardi).

Highlights include developing pan-European consumer campaigns across EMEA markets for Energizer following qualitative and quantitative research in over a dozen countries.

Public Company; 10,001+ employees; OMC; Marketing and Advertising industry

January 2001September 2003 (2 years 9 months)

Founded Influencer Marketing agency to connect brands to trendsetting youth markets. Clients included several ad agencies and Sony PlayStation, MTV, New Era Cap Co, Coors, Guinness. Methodologies included Dial Testing, Focus Groups, Ethnographies, and online Research.

Highlights include audience research w/urban youth on comedy programming across several new shows for MTV (dial testing/focus groups), and uncovering a new role for Coors (Zima) as the “pre-going out” drink after conducting national ethnographies with urban males.

Highlights include co-developing, testing and launching a local On Demand model for Scripps Networks (Food Network, HGTV, DIY TV) and brand strategies for the advertising campaign.

Agency clients included: Red Tettemer, WestWayne, Insight Research Group, DDB, Spike DDB among others.

Strategic Planner


Public Company; 10,001+ employees; OMC; Marketing and Advertising industry

September 1999August 2001 (2 years)

Implemented user behavior research in brand planning. Co-managed DDB LifeStyle, an annual qualitative national consumer study. Co-managed SiteMuse, DDB’s first interactive advertising usability lab. Interactive clients include,, and

Highlights include developing winning pitch strategies for Dell (Enterprise),, Knorr, and Philips Electronics. Designed and managed ethnography for Anheuser Busch.

Joel R. Johnson's Volunteer Experience & Causes

  • Volunteer Interests

    • Causes I care about:

      • Children
      • Education
      • Environment
    • Organizations I support:

      • Trout Unlimited
      • Stripers Forever
      • Chester WYCA
      • Advertising Educational Foundation
      • KaBOOM!

Joel R. Johnson's Skills & Expertise

  1. Social Media Marketing
  2. Cause Marketing
  3. Digital Marketing
  4. Digital Strategy
  5. Social Media
  6. Business Development
  7. Social Marketing
  8. Integrated Marketing
  9. New Media
  10. Creative Strategy
  11. Market Research
  12. Strategy
  13. Branded Entertainment
  14. Creative Direction
  15. Public Relations
  16. Digital Media
  17. Brand Management
  18. Social Media Measurement
  19. Analytics
  20. Strategic Planning
  21. Advertising
  22. Strategic Communications
  23. Online Advertising
  24. Marketing Strategy
  25. Brand Architecture
  26. Blogging
  27. Brand Development
  28. Content Strategy
  29. Marketing
  30. Leadership

View All (30) Skills View Fewer Skills

Joel R. Johnson's Education

Northwestern University

MA, Performance Studies, Cultural Anthropology, Ethnography, Marketing


Graduate Fellowship

Activities and Societies: School of Communication, Kellogg School of Management (courses), Museum Studies

Swarthmore College

BA, Theater


Activities and Societies: National Endowment of Humanities Younger Scholar Andrew Mellon Scholar Mari S. Michener Fellow

Goldsmiths College, U. of London



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