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Iain Matthews

Chief Strategy Officer at Deep Focus London


Strategic leader with more than 12 years experience of planning and strategy at creative and media agencies. Track record of growing agencies, delivering digital transformation programmes for clients, and leading the development of communications work that builds brands and creates commercial impact for businesses. 

Work History

Oct 2010Present

Chief Strategy Officer

Deep Focus London

Working with the CEO to lead 100-strong digital creative agency with a mission to build brands through leveraging digitally-enabled cultures and behaviours. Grew the agency more than 300% over the course of 5 years, twice short-listed as Campaign's 'Digital Innovation Agency of the Year'. 

  • Agency leadership: Developed the agency positioning, strategy and product offering, underpinned by re-engineered processes and policies that delivered better commercial outcomes for the business. 
  • Award-winning work: Delivered numerous campaigns that have earned honours from Kinsale Sharks, Cannes, D&AD, Campaign and DADI for clients including bSkyb, Check12, Nestle Dolce Gusto and Microsoft XBox.
  • Team leadership: Built a team of 14 strategists including social, digital, brand and data planners, responsible for ensuring great strategic work across the agency's portfolio of clients and driving thought leadership within the agency.
  • New business: Led and won a number of high profile agency pitches, such as Nestle-Purina and Bupa, for assignments across disciplines including social and content, digital business transformation and integrated campaigns. 
  • Client development: Worked as a strategic partner to high-profile agency clients to develop business cases for increased investment in the digital space, and operational plans to enable internal digital transformation, ultimately driving increased agency revenue.

Recent projects & campaigns:

  • Developed a long term business approach to content marketing for Nestle-Purina involving establishing a client-side social media management team, central content management system & KPI assessment scorecard.
  • Pitched, won and developed an integrated campaign to address declining numbers of people testing their smoke alarms. Recognised that, based on behavioural psychology principles, fear tactics had become ineffective, and instead focused on developing a positive relationship between people and their smoke alarms.
  • Created a blogger network for UK fashion retailer Next, a digital platform where online influencers are able to access the newest season clothes in advance and get exclusive invites to fashion launches in exchange for online coverage for the brand.

Jan 2010Oct 2010

Strategy Director

MEC Global Solutions

Working with multi-national clients to plan communications globally and collaborating with local market agencies to adapt and implement those plans.

  • Comms planning: Assembling audience-driven communication frameworks for marketing activities across multiple countries, identifying and agreeing key objectives and the best media choices to address them.
  • Market integration: Working with local market Planners to nuance and amend plans as required to ensure alignment with cultural and market landscape.
  • Local agency training: Travelling to European MEC network offices and delivering communications planning training for local planners in those regions.
  • Digital up-skilling: Helping to implement company-wide agenda to increase digital expertise through internal training and education.

Key clients: Bacardi Global Brands; Sony Ericsson Global; UNHCR

Nov 2008Nov 2009

Year out

A year spent out of the communications industry, including travelling in Africa and Asia, and working with an NGO (Blue Ventures) in South West Madagascar.
Oct 2003Oct 2008

Account Director


Leading the digital media planning and buying for the UK's largest advertising spender, the UK Government, as part of the biggest independent digital media agency

  • Digital media strategy: Developing campaign and comms strategies across display, search, mobile and social for a number of clients, winning a number of effectiveness awards for the National Health Service, Home Office and Royal Marines.
  • Account leadership: Responsible for client development and managing the biggest team, their appraisals and personal development. Growth in Government spend whilst leading account averaged c. 40% per annum. 
  • Stakeholder management and education: Working with more than 15 different departments with varying levels of digital understanding required careful management, and running of a number of educational client workshops. 

Other clients included: Orange, William Hill,, Gillette, TD Waterhouse



Master of Earth Sciences (MESci): Classification 2:1

Exeter College, University of Oxford

Masters project awarded 1st class and published in Science magazine


When I have precious time away from reading 'Room on the Broom' for my one year-old daughter I enjoy walking and golf (good combination), diving and cooking (less compatible), and have aspirations of being a master carpenter, though as yet I have only one wooden stool as evidence of that aspiration.


"As part of DF’s Management team and one of the key leaders of the agency, Iain has been critical in helping to shape the agency’s vision and values. He is dedicated, collaborative and supportive and brings out the best in his team & others working with him.

When Iain arrived at Engine our knowledge of how the digital landscape would transform our clients businesses was in its infancy. Iain has been at the forefront of how we have innovated in this space, and become a true partner to our clients in navigating a complex and fast changing landscape.

He will be missed and I would definitely recommend him to any potential employer."

Debbie Klein, CEO, Engine UK  

More references available upon request