An inside look into S4 Capital's IMA Los Angeles operation

    Left to right, Maddie Raedts, CCO and co-founder at IMA, Olivier Koelemij, managing director, MediaMonks LA, and IMA co-founder Emilie Tabor, on the rooftop of their new LA office.
Left to right, Maddie Raedts, CCO and co-founder at IMA, Olivier Koelemij, managing director, MediaMonks LA, and IMA co-founder Emilie Tabor, on the rooftop of their new LA office.

IMA - part of Martin Sorrell's digital ad and marketing services company - is planting its West Coast flag.

Two of the founders of Amsterdam-based IMA, the Influencer Marketing Agency, have been spending a lot of time in Los Angeles recently as they connect with new clients and secure the company’s West Coast outpost.

Maddie Raedts and Emilie Tabor, two-thirds of IMA’s founding partnership, opened shop inside of MediaMonks’ office, on Venice’s hip Abbot Kinney Boulevard in November. IMA and MediaMonks are both part of S4 Capital, Martin Sorrell’s digital advertising and marketing services company.

A key client focus will be tech companies, said Raedts, who also is IMA’s chief creative officer. IMA is already working for HP and Amazon. "Influencer marketing is so rooted in fashion and beauty and it is fast moving" said Raedts. "Silicon Valley companies tend to be bigger and do social later, as an add-on. What we want to do here is create integration from a much earlier standpoint."

Bouncing off of the Sorrell/S4 mantra of "faster, better, cheaper," Raedts and IMA are leveraging sister company MediaMonks’ resources as much as possible, but dedicated, new business hires are first up.

For MediaMonks, the new acquisition "marks the next step in our end-to-end production offering and capacity to our shared U.S. clients," said Olivier Koelemij, managing director at MediaMonks LA. "It adds a great amount of value through integrated strategy, production, execution and reporting and with that allows for us to provide smarter and better solutions to our clients modern and very often fragmented customer decision journey."

Both MediaMonks and IMA are very focused on reaching the highly fragmented Gen Z market. With internet access since day one, Gen Z has developed highly personalized viewing habits that have lead to the rise of micro-influencers and the decline of mega-wat global stars.

"They have completely new idols, it is much more about real content," said Raedts. "Boomers had one main idol, one actor or musician at a time was the most popular star, the main idol who provided the stereotype that everyone wanted to look like."

Not so today. IMA keeps a database of 40,000-plus influencers, each of whom hit a pinpoint demographic. 

When one thinks of influencers, what comes to mind typically is photographers, fashion stylists, make-up artists and animals - think of all the cat influencer/celebs out there.

A recent IMA campaign for TomTom navigation systems in Europe shows just how specific an influencer can be. IMA tapped into a network of truck drivers who were active on their trade’s Facebook and Instagram pages and YouTube channels. They were outfitted with systems and created on-the-road content for drivers in the UK, Germany and Poland.

"They are not ‘exclusive.’ And we are not an ‘exclusive’ talent agency, like you find in Hollywood because we have so much talent we work with," said Raedts.

In addition to establishing the LA office, Raedts and Tabor, who both started out as fashion blogger/influencers a decade ago, are soaking up the sunny LA outdoors, before they return to the Netherlands, living that fitness-influencer life.   

"Emilie and I are both fanatically into working out," she said. "We love to go to the Venice Beach Boardwalk every morning before going to the office. We are enjoying the sun, the whole atmosphere of the outdoor lifestyle while we can." 

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