TRA Journal

TRA announces raft of new hires boosting capability in line with strong business growth

Hannah Cooke

Leading independent research and insights agency, TRA (The Research Agency) has announced a raft of new senior hires in Melbourne, boosting its strategy, business, and brand and communications expertise. Andie Lowings and Alex Forrester join as business directors and brand and communications expert Mark Hutchinson joins as product owner of TRA’s new brand management product, Streamlight.

Mark Hobart, Partner, TRA Melbourne said the appointment of the talented trio was a result of strong business growth supporting TRA’s proposition to offer clients a fresh approach in the research category and coincided with the launch of Streamlight.

Hobart said: “I cannot be more thrilled to welcome such a highly skilled and energetic trio such as Andie, Alex and Mark to the team.

"We have a growing roster of iconic, cross-category Australian and Trans-Tasman brands who benefit from TRA’s innovative and multi-disciplinary approach. The combined skillsets of Andie, Alex and Mark boosts our senior Australian expertise and enables us to bring new and innovative tools, such as Streamlight, to support clients’ business growth. The launch of Streamlight and their appointments are a brilliant way to kickstart the year.”

Hutchinson joins as Product Owner with a primary remit to lead on Streamlight across Australia and New Zealand. With a business consulting background and senior analytical and brand roles with the likes of IPSOS Australia, Hutchinson is one of Australia’s most experienced brand and communications experts, bringing more than two decades of experience developing and promoting brands to TRA. He has been at the forefront of developing tracking solutions for several multi-national and world class agencies across Australia, the UK, China, and Indonesia.

Hutchinson said: “I am happy and humbled to launch Streamlight to market. It is a truly innovative, agile, and robust real time brand tracking program, combining leading-edge technology with TRA’s expert consulting team, frameworks and thinking. Streamlight is a new-world brand tracking tool, and I can't wait to share this with our valued friends and clients.”

Previously Strategy Director at The Lab, Lowings brings more than 15 years of strategy, research and cultural insight experience to TRA. With strong, specialist expertise in brand strategy and innovation, she is well known for her creative approach to solving client problems and has held senior roles in Australia at House of Brand and in the UK at boutique consultancies. Lowings has worked across a diverse range of sectors (financial services, telco, retail, social and government, education and tourism) for iconic brands including Telstra, Mondelez, Australia Post, AIA, Qantas, Woolworths and Citibank. She has also been instrumental in driving high profile international projects in US, Canada, Singapore, and New Zealand.

Forrester has previously held strategy and client service positions with Clemenger BBDO, VMLY&R and most recently was Strategy Director at The Lab, working on household brands including TelstraSuper, Toyota Australia, Mondelez, Maurice Blackburn & SPC. Forrester is renowned for using his deep analytical, commercial, and strategic mindset, bringing together brand and comms strategy with research to diagnose business challenges and uncover solutions to unlock clients’ growth.

Hobart said: “As part of the core of Melbourne’s team Andie and Alex will also be responsible for building out new business and developing the culture of TRA Melbourne. Setting up a new agency office is always exciting; doing so with the COVID backdrop has given us an incredible opportunity to make a research business like no other – with the tools, processes and ways of working embedded from day one to foster a more flexible working experience for the team, where every team member has everything they need to collaborate, learn and deliver amazing work.”

Andrew Lewis, MD, TRA said: “Never has there been a more exciting time to be in the research and insights business as our clients strive to capture and retain the loyalty of their customers. Our clients need people on their team who can deliver actionable and strategic insights to their business – and tools like Streamlight to support their work. Andie, Alex and Mark will bring their own particular lens and expertise to their projects, and I have every confidence they will each play an active role in delivering amazing work which has become synonymous with the name TRA in both New Zealand and Australia,” he concluded. 

TRA opened its Melbourne office in August 2021. Lowings, Forrester and Hutchinson start work effective immediately.

To learn more about Streamlight and join it’s growing list of foundation clients, please contact Mark Hutchinson.