Brand planning platform Yes& has named Megan Towers, former chief strategy officer at John Street, as its chief collaboration officer. She replaces Yes& founder Trent Fulton, who is stepping away from the two-year-old company.
While the departure of its founder typically means the end for a business, Fulton said he was keen for Yes& to continue operating because it satisfies a “huge need” in Canada—connecting clients in need of strategy and planning services with a growing freelance community.
Yes& provides on-demand brand planning using a network of freelance brand strategists who have experience in both agency and client roles. They work with clients on a project basis, matched with clients on the basis of their skillset and experience, as well as cultural fit.
“The market is there and [Yes&] is filling a great need, so I didn’t just want it to disappear,” said Fulton (right). “It was just a matter of finding the right person, which Megan is.”
Fulton estimated that Yes&’s freelance roster has grown to about 40-45 “brand collaborators,” evenly divided between ex-marketers and ex-agency employees. About half of these collaborators have worked on multiple projects, said Fulton.
“The repeat purchase rate is super-high,” he said. “They always nail it, because these are experienced people who add value straight away.” He estimates that the company has completed in excess of 100 projects since its 2021 debut.
Fulton, though, said that he was keen to return to an in-office working environment after working remotely for more than two years. “Working from home was wearing thin,” he explained. “I missed the energy, the collaboration and creativity that comes from working in an office with smart, creative people. It’s been a part of my entire career.”
Towers, who left John Street last year after nearly 15 years with the agency, has amassed considerable client and agency experience, including senior roles on Leo Burnett’s account service team and the Labatt Breweries marketing team. At John Street, she provided strategic planning services for brands including President’s Choice, No Frills, No Name, Home Hardware and DoorDash.
Fulton said that he considered a handful of people for the chief collaborator role, but that Towers boasted credibility with both the freelance strategy and brand communities vital to Yes&’s business. “She checks both of those boxes in spades,” he said. “I’ve been slowly breaking her down and selling her on the opportunity here.
“I think it’s the perfect model for her, because on one hand she can manage the community and connect them to projects, and on the other hand, if there’s a project she thinks she’s a perfect fit for, based on her experience and skillset, she can jump into that. It allows her to control how much she wants to lean into it.”