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The Hidden Agenda: A Proven Way to Win Business and Create a Following Hardcover – April 17, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"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, personal branding expert, bestselling author and owner of Millennial Branding

"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

"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

"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

"Anyone who is trying to create the most persuasive selling presentation, the most inspiring vision or discover the customer sweet spot must read (and re-read)) Kevin Allen's new book. While filled with concepts and insights, this is no academic treatise, but a valuable playbook from someone who has 'been there, done that' with amazing success many times." — Joe Plummer, Professor of Marketing, Columbia Business School

"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 in The 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. In The 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, The Interpublic Group, Advertising Hall of Fame Inductee 2007

"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

About the Author

Kevin Allen is a masterful pitchman and perhaps best known for leading the pitch team for Mastercard’s iconic “Priceless” campaign. For 20 years, he served on the front lines of business development with advertising giants McCann-WorldGroup and the Interpublic Group, and at Lowe Worldwide, where as Vice Chairman he helped the company gain Ad Age’s recognition as “Turnaround Agency of the Year” in 2009. Growing big global brands, including Citigroup, Nokia, Nestle, Deutsche Bank, Johnson & Johnson, and Unilever has been the focus of his career. Now at the helm of KevinAllenPartners, a company dedicated to growth services, training, and mentorship, his client list includes Omnicom, Swedbank, M&C Saatchi, Burberry, and Smythson. A frequent speaker at advertising and marketing conferences, Kevin is also a visiting lecturer at the European Business School of Regents College London and Columbia University Graduate School of Business. A graduate of Dowling College, he holds a Certificate in Economics from Queen Mary College, University of London, and an MBA from Adelphi University.

Lawrence Flanagan: Lawrence Flanagan is the Executive Dean of College of Business at the University of New Haven. He is regarded as one of the most accomplished global marketing leaders in the country.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bibliomotion (April 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937134040
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937134044
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kevin Allen is an expert in business development and leading companies to achieve their ambitions. He spent two decades on the front lines of business development at the top of advertising giants McCann-WorldGroup, the Interpublic Group and Lowe Worldwide and is recognized as one of the advertising industry's most accomplished growth professionals. A much loved and respected new business guru, one of his close colleagues coined him the Billion Dollar Man!

A veteran of the Interpublic Group and a "Mad Man" of agency McCann Erickson, Kevin worked with such brands as MasterCard, developing the globally famous "Priceless" campaign, Microsoft, Marriott, Smith Barney, Nestle, L'Oreal, Lufthansa and Johnson and Johnson. At McCann, he created what is arguably one of the industry's most envied new business programs, which named McCann Worldgroup the number one agency in new business and Global Agency of the Year, two years in a row.

As Lowe Worldwide Vice Chairman he played a pivotal role in the turnaround that named the company Ad Age's "Turnaround Agency of the Year" in 2009. His unique approach brought the addition of such global accounts as Sharp, Ericcson, Beck's, and emerging global clients like China Mobile. Over the course of his career, Kevin's unique approach has played a leading role in bringing hundreds of millions of dollars in new billings to his agencies.

Kevin's experience extends globally and across a wide range of sectors and situations both in the commercial, government and not for profit fields. He was an early part of Rudy Giuliani's team that prepared the way for the successful Mayoral election and turnaround strategies for the City of New York.

Kevin Allen is a highly skilled growth professional and is uniquely positioned to teach companies- and individuals - how to "win".

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As many books as there are out there about how to improve your business skills, how to polish your salesmanship, how to become the top of the totem pole in growing your career, few (if any) are as warmly readable as is Kevin Allen's book THE HIDDEN AGENDA. Though unsure of how he manages to do it, this reader picked up the book on arrival to simply glance through it and get the gist of the message, and the next thing noticed was that the book had been completely read! This is definitely kudos to Allen's writing skill - he knows how to keep the reader's attention by his very bright, warmly humorous, energy inducing technique of spilling (that is `sharing') his ideas on the page in a manner that makes the reader feel as though reading a novel. It is a personal approach with enough of his life and successes shared to bolster his postulates and convince the at times wary reader that what he is suggesting works!

The basic lesson here is how to ferret out the personality of the person or persons to whom you are presenting an idea or pitch to gain their commitment to not only buying into your presentation but also to create the `hidden agenda' of the `audience' into willfully and eagerly following you and your presentation. I like the following summary as it is likely more clear than a first response upon finishing a book: `Pitches are made in business every day -- to win the account, convince a colleague or sell a vision to the Board of Directors, but people ignore the most basic component of making the sale -- decisions are made by people, and people have unspoken needs and agendas. Kevin Allen has recognized that by identifying these needs, and connecting the pitch directly to it, you win.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Initially, I misunderstood this book's title, incorrectly assuming that Kevin Allen - in the manner of someone who has planned a treasure hunt - would help his reader to locate something of substantial value. In a sense that is true. However, that "something" is essentially worthless unless and until (a) the person who uncovers it understands and appreciates it and (b) knows how to use it to best advantage. Case in point, vandals raiding the ancient library in Alexandria used copies of plays by Greek playwrights such as Aeschylus and Sophocles as fuel for their fires.

I selected the title of this review from a longer passage in the Introduction: "Get it? Get what? The `what' is the [begin italics] hidden agenda [end italics], the emotional motivator behind all the statistics, the business jargon, and the other things that surround any key business issue. It is in fact how people make decisions, with their hearts."

Allen is a veteran advertising executive and an accomplished "pitch man" but clearly agrees with John Hill, co-founder of Hill & Knowlton, that the best pitch is one that offers "truth well told." He shares everything he has learned about how to prepare and then present such a pitch for the readers whom he characterizes as "you dreamers, strivers, fighters, doers, and itchy-feet people `growth aspirants." Allen is convinced that, for them, their ability to pitch "is the very spearpoint and lifeblood of achieving these ambitions.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Paul Heagen on September 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Years ago I was coaching a major DC contracting business development team on a $400M+ bid they were developing. I asked the head of BD what he thought the customer really wanted. He slid the RFP toward me. No, I said, I mean really wants. He pointed to the evaluation criteria. I told him what the customer wanted was not on any of those papers, it was in their heart. It was probably somewhere in the buckets of "Don't embarrass me, make me a hero, get me in front of Congress with a success, get this elephant off my back, etc."

I have long believed in the hidden agenda -- it is rarely expressed in any formal way; you have to dig deep to truly hear it. When you show that you "get it" (and can "get it right") you win the business more often than not. Kevin had done a fabulous job charting this emotional, furtive journey to the heart of a client, essentially decoding the process in a practical way. This is a high-impact book for anyone in business development, but is has equal value for anyone aspiring to build relationships and enduring client engagements on something more than a transactional level.

While this book is rock solid in method, it is a joy to read. Kevin has a bright and personable writing style and peppers his pages with vivid stories and refreshing humility. He invites you into his success and offers genuine encouragement that--if you take the time to do so--you can reach hearts as well as minds.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By TK on May 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Full disclosure: I'm a marketing fanatic, which is why I am constantly amazed by the degree to which so many companies, small and large, just don't get the essentials of marketing in today's complex market place. The Hidden Agenda tells a story about marketing that we all need to better understand, namely how to truly understand the motivators and drivers of your customers. The challenge goes well beyond just listening better, because, as Allen points out, markets don't always know these driver. Hell, if they did marketing would be easy, Sony would have created the iPod and Nokia would still be the #1 provider of cell and smart phones. Allen lays out a straightforward way to get to these hidden agenda and, in the process, grow your company and your market. An incredibly enjoyable and practical read - highly recommended.
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