Kevin Allen

Renowned Business Development Guru & Advertising’s Legendary Billion Dollar Man

An expert in business development, masterful pitchman Kevin Allen is recognized as one of the advertising industry’s most accomplished growth professionals. Allen is the author of The Hidden Agenda: A Proven Way to Win Business and Create a Following, a Wall Street Journal bestseller and the e-book, The Buoyant Leader: A Leadership Course for the Rising Star. A frequent keynote speaker at advertising and marketing conferences, corporations, and universities across the globe, his entertaining talks are full of lively anecdotes of hard-won advertising campaigns. His inspiring keynotes and workshops have been embraced by C-level executives, top leaders, key managers, and entrepreneurs, whether he’s discussing winning new business, “buoyant leadership,” mastering the pitch, creativity, or diversity in the workplace. Past speaking clients include: Burberry, Google, Telefonica, Nokia, The Cass Business School, Wharton’s Future of Advertising Project, NYU Langone Medical Center, the World Federation of Advertisers, and The Chartered Institute of Marketing.

From MasterCard’s iconic “Priceless” campaign to Rudy Giuliani’s mayoral campaign, Allen has seen first-hand how to effectively find, connect, and speak to “The Hidden Agenda” to obtain new business and win every time, using the highly effective Allen Key model. The Allen Key identifies the three potential hidden agendas – wants, needs, or values of your prospect – and connects one of your three leverageable assets – real ambition, credo, or your core – to win new business.

During Allen’s highly successful 25-year career he pitched and won in some of the toughest pitching environments and was credited with three industry turnarounds, including McCann Erikson, IPG, and Lowe where he brought over $1 billion in revenues and helped his companies become number one in new business performance.

Engaging, inspiring, and ‘from the trenches’, audiences will see a refreshing view of the fundamentals of what it takes to win, whether it’s winning new business, crafting the perfect pitch, tapping the well of creativity, or becoming a buoyant leader.

In his “Buoyant Leader” speeches he explains that buoyancy is a phenomenon whereby, as a leader, you float because the people you have inspired believe you should. They believe in you because you have understood, connected with, and ignited the deep desire that lies in their hearts. In our globalized, networked economy, ruling through fear and an iron fist simply doesn’t cut it anymore. Instead, contemporary leadership is about communities, common culture, collective ambition, evangelizing, coaching, and guiding your organization to success. Allen shows today’s – and tomorrow’s leaders – how to achieve this to lead their teams to repeated success.

Allen is now the founder of business development company [re:kap], that counts Burberry, Rolls-Royce Aerospace, The Doyle Collection, Nokia, Omnicom, Rolls-Royce, Smythson, M&C Saatchi, and Swedbank among its global clients. He has contributed to the Harvard Business Review blog and is also a visiting lecturer at the European Business School of Regents College London and Columbia University Graduate School of Business. As the first openly gay person on McCann Erikson’s operating committee, he’s also an ideal speaker for gay diversity workplace issues.

A graduate of Dowling College, Allen holds a Certificate in Economics from Queen Mary College, University of London, and an MBA from Adelphi University, and lives in London.

Praise for Kevin Allen’s Talks

“Kevin has a big personality and is a compelling storyteller, you could tell the team loved his colourful anecdotes. He inspired the Microsoft central marketing organisation, it was fantastic to hear and learn from Kevin’s experience and listen to such relevant and useful examples of building iconic brands through his people skills and beliefs . Don’t judge the title of his work on The Hidden Agenda, it is based on foundational psychology and is extremely relevant and timely, as we work to communicate with our customers better and apply Kevin’s proven techniques to our marketing approach starting now.”

—Philippa Snare, Senior Director of Marketing Communications, Microsoft UK

“Don’t just schedule a speaker for your next meeting, book a strategic inflection point instead: Kevin Allen. Kevin is an extraordinary resource. A legendary rainmaker with style and panache who will enable you and your people to rediscover senses of persuasion and advocacy that have been tragically dulled by a world of search engines, apps, processes, and way too many presentations in the boilerplate archive. He’s a walking, talking testament to the principles, ‘We all want to be sold, and must be served.’ We could have booked one of so many pop management evangelists for our meeting and ginned up the organization for a few weeks. Instead, we invited Kevin Allen, and he changed our agency forever.”

—Rick Segal, President Worldwide & Chief Practice Officer, Gyro

“It’s not easy to engage MBAs, but Kevin Allen did just that through his powerful global perspective, warm storytelling manner and his passion for sharing valuable lessons learned from his illustrious career. He is welcome back at Columbia Business School anytime.”

—Joe Plummer, Professor of Marketing, Columbia University

“Kevin has an incredible gift for storytelling. He engaged the entire group, lifted our spirits and reminded us of why we were in new business and, more importantly how to be successful at it.”

—Laura Holme, Head of the MAA Business Development Group

“Our hospitalist group at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City had the immeasurable pleasure of hosting Kevin Allen for a lecture on ‘The Hidden Agenda.’ And let me just say that our group was literally blown away with Mr. Allen’s presentation! I carried so much away from his presentation but what I took away the most was the idea of one’s credo. People (patients in particular) will follow you much more when you have a belief system that aligns with their beliefs. And when that belief centers around making the patient better, then you both have just formed an alliance to meet (and exceed) that shared goal of better health! Because of Mr. Allen’s lecture, I have a newfound approach to the care of my patients: one that I feel makes me a more well-rounded and more connected physician.”

—Ramon A. Jacobs, M.D., New York University Langone Medical Center

“There is an aura, an energy, a passion and openness that accompanies Kevin into every exchange. It’s infectious, endlessly optimistic, it always makes a difference.”

—David Bell, Chairman Emeritus, The Interpublic Group

“The outcome of an engagement with Kevin Allen will be greater clarity about how strategically you are going to grow and that endures.”

—Tony Wright, Chairman, Lowe Worldwide

“Kevin brings a very rich and human perspective to every business challenge; his intuitive understanding of complex organizations, his astute navigation of interpersonal dynamics, his ability to leverage the amazing power of diverse human experiences across a team, and an ability to uplift and inspire those around him.”

—Steven Overman, VP and Global Head of Marketing Creation, Nokia

“Kevin Allen just gets it. As a physician, how do I encourage my patient to eat a healthy diet, exercise and stop smoking? Spouting off facts and figures will never work. As Allen teaches, in order to forward my own agenda, I have to tap into my patient’s hidden agenda. What really, deep down, will motivate my patient? And then strategize from there.”

—Katherine A. Hochman, M.D., New York University Medical Center

Praise for The Buoyant Leader

“Visceral, compelling and bullshit-free (much like Allen himself), the book is an effervescent essay in humanly relevant leadership. Weaving rich, Gladwellian, personal anecdote into tangible, usable advice, the central thesis is the leadership imperative to make an individual priority of each direct report: to be a leader who believes in his or her teams, who in turn believe in themselves — leadership is, in short, ‘totes emosh.’”

Huffington Post

Praise for The Hidden Agenda

“The secret to winning new business.”


“Kevin’s enjoyable and informative book reminds us all that to communicate well is to connect with people first.”

—Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of the City of New York

“The Hidden Agenda lays out a blueprint for determining the hidden agendas of decision makers – and in the process transcend persuasion and create connections.”

—Jeff Haden, Inc. Magazine

The Hidden Agenda makes the invaluable link between understanding your audience’s motivation and creating success. It also reveals some of the secret tactics that Kevin has used to help change businesses around the world. It all begins with that simple, timeless practice of connecting with people on a much deeper level. Don’t miss the remarkable teachings of this unusual book and author.”

—Dan Schawbel, best-selling author and owner of Millennial Branding

“This man gets in people’s heads.”


“Kevin Allen is the Picasso of the high art of the new business development and he has finally shared his magical techniques with the rest of us. A must-read! “

—Larry Weber, Chairman and CEO of W2 Group, author of Everywhere: Comprehensive Digital Business Strategy for the Social Media Era

“A modern day Don Draper, Allen shows that he knows how to sell because he knows what his audience will buy.”

—Publishers Weekly 

“Kevin has a special ability to uplift and inspire those around him. His generous spirit is on every page.”

—Steven Overman, Vice President and Global Head Marketing Creation, Nokia

“Kevin Allen knows the art and science of marketing, brand building, and human persuasion. He shares his unique strategy for winning accounts and building businesses inThe Hidden Agenda. A must-read tale as only he can tell it.”

— Jim R. Heekin III, Chairman and CEO, Grey Group

“Kevin Allen has a powerful ability to turn insight into winning results. InThe Hidden Agenda, he turns his approach into a discipline we can all use to drive results and win more consistently.”

— Andy Janowski, COO, Burberry

“Kevin’s knowledge, experience and humanity were an Interpublic treasure. He is a brilliantly gifted growth practitioner and a natural teacher. It is in his DNA to share. This proves it and The Hidden Agenda is a must-read for anyone with growth on their agenda.”

— David Bell, Chairman Emeritus, Interpublic Group, Advertising Hall of Fame Inductee

“Kevin Allen is a one-of-a-kind person and unequivocally successful in his approach to business growth. Although I would far prefer to have Kevin around the office at all times, The Hidden Agenda is a perfect substitute and a great way to have access to his style, generosity, and wisdom.”

—Björn Larsson, CMO, SVP, Swedbank