Tribal names new leaders for experience design practice

Eiko Kawano will grow the team and bring more agile solutions to its work, alongside CD Jordan Kentris.

Tribal Worldwide Canada has hired Eiko Kawano as VP of experience design and promoted Jordan Kentris to creative director of experience.

A new leadership position at the agency, Kawano’s role is described as “an evolution of UX and design director roles” and comes with a mandate to “bring forward modern solutions in emerging technologies and tools,” as well as bring more agility and collaboration to the team’s work. She has also been tasked with growing the agency’s current experience design practice, currently made up of 12 staff.

Previously, Tribal had design director and design lead roles, which were functioning under the UX banner but also as part of the graphic design and digital production units.

“It wasn’t as clean a structure as it could have been, and being under the DDB house of brands, for Tribal to be centred on experience is important for us,” says Marketa Krivy, ECD at Tribal Worldwide Toronto. “We wanted to create more simplicity around what we wanted to pursue and bring in someone who had a lot of senior experience within the UX and design worlds to lead that.”

Kawano joins from SapientRazorfish, where she has been for the past five years (she was first hired at Nurun, sticking with the agency after it was absorbed by Razorfish and later combined with Sapient). During her time there, she led the agency’s UX design and strategy work for Walmart Canada, redesigning the retailer’s online presence and helping it evolve through the addition of mobile shopping apps, in-store technologies and the launch of online grocery ordering.

Internally, she also helped establish a new collaborative design practice and developed more insights-driven processes.

Krivy says that level of senior experience Kawano brings fit with the kind of digital agency Tribal is looking to be and the way it wants its experience design practice to evolve moving forward.

“There’s different aspects of digital now and it’s a bit of a catch-all, but for Tribal it’s about human-centred approach to experience design,” she says. “What’s become really important is finding that sweet spot between being user-led and brand building and where those converge. So we are building experiences that are ownable for brands and can’t be replicated, beyond just being tools and utilities that satisfy a user need.”

Kawano will work closely with Kentris to lead the team. Kentris joined Tribal last year as experience lead, previously having roles at Proximity, Taxi and Venture Communications.

Late last year, Tribal brought on Erin Kawalecki as creative director. Krivy says the agency is also looking to add another CD with an art direction background to further enhance the brand-building side of its work and complement Kawalecki’s background as a copywriter and Kentris’ in UX design.

Tribal’s clients in Canada include Adidas, Volkswagen Canada, GO Transit, McDonald’s Canada, Moneris and Tourism Nova Scotia.