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Managing Marketing: Making PR and Advertising Work Across the Globe

Simone_Gupta

Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by TrinityP3 Founder and Global CEO, Darren Woolley. Each podcast is a conversation with a thought-leader, professional or practitioner of marketing and communications on the issues, insights and opportunities in the marketing management category. Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals.

Simone Gupta is the CEO of award-winning PR agency One Green Bean. She reflects on her career working across the UK, USA and Australia in some of the smallest and biggest PR firms in the world and the differences between corporate PR and consumer PR and the difference between brand and corporate reputation. Plus Simone shares what it takes to make PR and Advertising work hand in glove to deliver phenomenal results for marketers and their brands.

You can listen to the podcast here:

Follow Managing Marketing on Soundcloud, Google Podcasts, TuneInStitcher, Spotify, Apple Podcast and Amazon Podcasts (the USA, UK, Germany & Japan only)

Transcription:

Darren:

Welcome to Managing Marketing, a weekly podcast where we discuss the issues and opportunities facing marketing, media, and advertising, with industry thought leaders and practitioners.

Today, I’m sitting down and having a chat with Simone Gupta, Chief Executive Officer of the award-winning PR agency, One Green Bean. Welcome, Simone.

Simone:

Thank you for having me here. It’s good to be here on this sunny Friday afternoon.

Darren:

Well, look, I was really looking forward to this conversation because you have built a career (from what I can tell) that is balanced and integrated PR and advertising — the first challenge because I think it is a challenge, but we’ll get to that.

And secondly, you’ve also been a practitioner in three major markets apart from Australia, also London, and the US, correct?

Simone:

Yes, correct. I’ve been very fortunate. I always say that one of the things I have loved the most about working in agency land, apart from the people (they’re my first love, the people that I’ve worked with) has been that it’s been a career that I’ve been able to take around the world.

You know, so it’s what first brought me to Australia. And then I was fortunate enough to work for Zing who had an office in LA. And I went over there about 13 years ago, helping Australian brands launch into the US from the West Coast.

And then went back to the homeland and I spent seven years in London and arrived back on these sunny shores in January of this year. Three weeks later, we went into lockdown.

Darren:

I was going to say great moments in poor timing. You’ve arrived back in Australia and then the COVID pandemic hits. But in some ways, some would argue that it’s better to be in Sydney than in London at the moment.

Simone:

I mean, I do feel very fortunate that I spent lock down with my five-year-old twins in walking distance from Bondi Beach rather than in Hammersmith in London.

Darren:

There are worse places in the world.

Simone:

There are worse places. The grandmas however, would disagree with me, although they are quite glad we’re here. But yes, I think we’ve done pretty well and I’m glad that we’ve seen the intense COVID period out in Australia.

Darren:

Now, Simone, the reason I said about PR and advertising, so they’ve sort of been uncomfortable bedfellows. Has that been your experience of the world?

Simone:

Well, it hasn’t been my experience. I have had really great experiences, which I’m having now at Havas Group sitting very closely, sharing a strategic planning partner with Laura’s team at Host Havas.

I have had the experience of being a PR business that sits very integrated into an advertising group. I had that with Mango and DDB in Australia. And even when I was at Ogilvy PR in London, under Michael Frohlich, who was the head of the PR business then, but is now head of the Group. You know, that was the beginning of his journey, really bringing the advertising digital PR businesses together in a very integrated way.

I mean, probably the same again, it’s the people leading those particular visions, integrated visions and parts of those businesses; Chris Brown at DDB, Michael Ogilvy, and now sort of the whole leadership team at Havas. I found it has made some of the consumer PR we’re doing much more robust, much more interesting, really coming up with cross-discipline ideas that can be executed agnostically through the channels. It’s like I’ve had a positive experience.

But I do understand that some of my peers have felt in cross-agency panels that sometimes we’re battling with the media agency or the advertising agency. But on the whole, my experience has been very positive.

Darren:

I was going to say because otherwise, you would almost be like the mythical unicorn that has gone along through the world in a bubble. Because we often hear, and clients say to us that sometimes it’s like the agency-led PR, which feels more like it’s support for the advertising, or it’s PR-led advertising, which then seems to not work either.

What is the magic, what’s the mix that makes the two work from your experience? Can you give us the secret ingredient?

Simone:

You know what? I don’t think it’s a secret. I think that it is part process and the number one thing is the people, and the actual willingness to make something an integrated piece of work, work. And that can come from the client-side as well, that they really want to — if they are driving an integrated team to very much work together.

My experience has always been as well that the strategic planning process is really where the key to where you can get it right or get it wrong. And I’ve been very fortunate to work with someone in Australia, to work with some of the best planners in Australia; Olly Taylor, who I know was on here last week. I put very much into his planning team across the OGB’s own clients and the integrated clients as well. And the same when I was at DDB Group.

So, I think that the strategic planners are more key than the creatives, and where the ideas come from.

What I have seen over the last 10 years is PR agencies trying to mirror the structure of advertising agencies, and that hasn’t always worked. So, having a creative department, a planning department, a suit department for want of a better old-fashioned word, and..

Darren:

An account management department.

Simone:

An account management department. And I haven’t seen that work brilliantly. I think that PR practitioners have to be able to think about strategy creative and client relationship simultaneously.

Darren:

Well, I think also because the output of a PR practitioner may be an event, it may be a relationship. There are so many different outputs. Whereas advertising agencies, well, they think of themselves as quite diverse — but are largely producing advertising, aren’t they?

Simone:

Yes. Less so these days, but yes.

Darren:

Well, give me an example of where they’re not producing advertising.

Simone:

I mean, I’ll give you a recent example from Host Havas, which was the New Zealand letter to George RR Martin; “Come and have your writing retreat …” And that to me, is not an ad. That’s sort of PR at the heart of the idea. It’s where a brand intersects with culture, which is where the interesting stories are.

Darren:

Absolutely, and I’m sure for that one example, I could probably find you 10 to 20, maybe a hundred pieces of advertising they’ve produced. Don’t take any exception and say that’s the rule. But do you know what I mean? Largely advertising agencies, their whole business model is about producing advertising.

Now, it could be that out of those ideas, other opportunities arise. The difference for me is that PR companies do have multiple streams. And in some ways, it’s a strength and a weakness because if people think of PR as just media relations or just stakeholder relations or government relations or whatever, or events or social — there’s suddenly all these areas that PR can play in, and it does and should play in.

But it becomes like such a generalist view that it becomes difficult, I think, for a lot of marketers to really understand what is the role of PR. Do you agree?

Simone:

Yeah. So, what I’m hearing you say is that because PR does end up in so many different executions, is that it can be almost a challenge for PR people and PR businesses to position themselves within an organisation.

Darren:

Like if I want an advertising agency, I can go and find an advertising agency. But most people will end up with a PR agency because oh, well, they do social, but they can also do a bit of this and a bit of that … it’s a bit like the generalist that can do a bit of everything. Instead of going to the plumber or the electrician, I go to the handyman.

Simone:

Yeah, I understand what you’re saying. I still feel that PR businesses, the good ones that are out there, and we’ve got some brilliant ones in this market. But some that are part of global networks and some that are independent, the public global network, Edelman and Michelle Hutton over there, doing an excellent job.

Being able to do a couple of things, ultimately, the end goal for what PR is trying to achieve is to build trust and reputation, and we can do it through these channels. And I think that’s the thinking that has to be in the heart of the agency, which sometimes isn’t in the heart of an ad agency.

One of the key goals is to build brand love and reputation, but mainly to sell products. Whereas PR, the number one goal really is to build trust and reputation. And then off the back of that, you will grow a business.

And so, it’s kind of subtle in a way, but that’s what I think the different kind of thinkers, the different kinds of thinking are between the two disciplines.

Darren:

So, and in that, I see a conundrum. Because almost every agency you talk to, even the best strategists will talk about brand strategy. Whereas a PR person doesn’t always talk about brands, they talk about reputation. And I think the two are almost the same thing. It’s just a different perspective.

If your company is the same name as the product or service you own, then the brand and the corporate reputation are inextricably linked in the consumer’s mind. The consumer’s not going, “Oh, well, that company is this and the product or service I buy is completely different because that’s a brand.” They don’t think that way.

Simone:

No, they don’t. And you’re exactly right.

Darren:

So, why do agencies talk that way and why do PR people talk that way? Is it just historical?

Simone:

I think that some of it probably is historical, but also…

Darren:

Or hysterical.

Simone:

I mean, there’s another word that comes up. I’m not quite sure whether I’m a fan of it or not, which is called consumer appeal. And I think that that’s where the two things you’re talking about meet because you’re exactly right. Consumers don’t see the difference. They’re not thinking about Unilever versus Dove when they’re buying some shower gel.

That all said, when you look at some of the recent research, some stuff that’s come from our Havas global research around brands is…

Darren:

Which is terrific by the way.

Simone:

Yeah, which is brilliant research, which is that most people wouldn’t care if 77% of brands disappeared out of their lives. That’s a lot of brands.

Darren:

Considering the amount of time, money, and effort that goes into building these things.

Simone:

So, our aim obviously is to work with … there’s 23% of brands or builders, 23% of brands. I have worked with brands that are so meaningful. Nike has created meaning over the decades.

Darren:

Or to work with the 70 odd per cent and help them become the ones that people do care about.

Simone:

Like Afterpay. That’s another recent client of ours. But then if you look at Edelman’s trust barometer that they did — they did little spring polls during COVID. And people don’t want brands in their lives. Their trust in corporations went down to an all-time low.

But one of the things that did come out and it comes out of all research, is that people still expect a lot from corporations and brands, or the brands they represent. They expect a lot. They expect corporations to do good and to help the communities that they’re offering it in. So, that’s when you go well, PR, what’s the goal of it? Building trust, building a reputation, ensuring that corporations do play this role within communities and helping communicate those messages.

So, I’ve now gone a bit around the houses from the original question. Like, why do we talk about reputation and advertisers talk about brand?

I think they are now one and the same thing because people do see the value — having brands, certain brands in their lives. They also have spoken quite loudly that they want corporations to do the right thing. So, brand love and reputation, they have a lot of grey area and crossover.

Darren:

Look, an example I’ve often used is Qantas. So, Alan Joyce made some decisions a few years ago that would eventually mean that Qantas became a successful and stable airline. I mean, it’s even withering this storm.

But he made decisions that at the time — he grounded the fleet for a week, I think it was. From a brand point of view, catastrophe. From a corporate reputation point of view, quite positive because the story was, “I’m doing this to make this company sustainable in the long-term.”

So, the two can work against each other because where the brand name and the corporate name are the same, they are inextricably linked and the two need to be managed. Where you’ve got Unilever as the corporate name, and then a whole lot of brands or products that are underneath it, then yes, there is some link.

And you notice companies like P&G and Unilever sticking a little logo on the end frame. But to me, that’s for the shareholders. That’s to remind the shareholders, “Oh, we are in that brand and that brand and that brand” more than anything else.

Simone:

I’m glad you brought Alan Joyce up because he’s one of my heroes, particularly over the last six months. And when we talk about trust and corporations doing the right thing, as I listen to what he has to say on what we should do next with borders and the business in Australia, more than anybody.

And I was really pleased that they were on this task force that’s driving outcomes over the next few months. But yeah, if you look at how he has behaved as the front face of Qantas (which is the brand) — he’s done considering the decisions he’s had to make and the lives he’s impacted — but he has been there every day; 8:30 every day, he spoke to all of his staff every day.

He demystified some of the good things that were coming out of government that people didn’t understand. He talks about jobs … every day that there was an announcement made, he spoke to his staff every morning. And has then also spoken to Australians at large.

And I think from a corporate reputation, despite what Qantas is going through, he’s done a fantastic job of holding that reputation.

Darren:

Absolutely agree. I remember sitting in a virtually empty Qantas lounge and saw on TV that he was making announcements about the number of people that are having to stand down, but that he’d had conversations with his peers in the industry and had found work at Woolworths, so now the companies that he clearly had relationships with, so that those people wouldn’t be just thrown into unemployment.

Here is a highly trained and skilled services workforce, and he actually had gone to the trouble of finding them … rather than just saying, “Well, thanks very much, we’re standing you down for three months.”

But this is where brand and corporate reputation are inextricably linked. CEOs have to recognise that they have an essential role in the health of the brand beyond just protecting their reputation. And I did that in air quotes, “protecting the reputation.”

Simone:

So, you’ve made a good point and it just made me think of something; when you said the CEO. And from an agency-client perspective, the relationships that we have with a comms team that have aligned into the CEO rather than into the CMO, usually have … I think we have, in some times better experiences of being able to get really good quality substantial work out.

Now, that said, it doesn’t always work because you still want that senior director of comms to have a really good relationship with the marketing team so that when it comes to the overall marketing strategy, that they are closely interlinked with what is happening and integrated into the PR.

But when there is a direct line into the CEO where that comms team, which comms team will be a good example of that? And you also mentioned Woolworths, so I thought they have behaved impeccably through COVID. The way they’ve managed the initiatives they’ve done for the communities that they operate in, and how they’ve communicated regularly, openly, the changes they’ve made, and just keeping that communication going. And the relationship between the comms team and the CEO is really, really important.

Darren:

So, it’s interesting, isn’t it? Because technically, if the CEO is setting corporate strategy and the corporate comms team are managing the corporate communications of that strategy, and then there’s marketing over here, marketing should also be built off the corporate strategy because the role of marketing is to build customers aligned to the corporate strategy.

Now, if the two aren’t aligned — and you see it where if the corporate strategy is more about short-term shareholder value, and marketing is about long-term customer value, the two can easily be misaligned. So, it’s really interesting.

I had someone explain to me once, I said, “Why do marketing and corporate comms so rarely get along?” And they said, “Well, the two are absolute dipoles apart, because corporate communications are largely about reputation protection, minimising risk. Whereas marketing is largely driven by creating risk because you’re focusing on new and different and innovation and that type of thing. And so the two have fundamentally different purposes. One is about driving growth and the other is protecting value.” And it’s really interesting.

Simone:

Yeah. And also, the other thing that I think is, which you just touched on then, is that I think there’s always going to be that tension between corporate reputation and market innovation, the sales division. But also, it’s back to the thing that you said on the agency side, what makes really good integrated work, work; it is still down to the people as well.

I mean, how a corporation is structured, and like you said, how much of that marketing and the comms come off a central strategy, but also just the willingness of the people involved to make it work and want it to work. I mean, that is a really big part of it.

Darren:

Well, I think what drives from my experience is the willingness of people to realise that no one knows everything or no one has all the answers. That some great strategies can actually come out of PR. That you could get a strategic insight from PR, or it could come from the strategy team, or it could come creatively.

But then when you have that, it’s about aligning to it. What makes people work well together is working towards a common and agreed goal. And I think that’s probably wherever we’re seeing it not work. Because has this ever happened to you? And some people I’ve spoken with that have worked in PR in agencies like you, have said, “The creatives have come up with this amazing idea and the creative agency just wanted us to get lots of coverage.”

So, it’s basically, you’re the media relations, just get us some press coverage for the fact that we did this campaign and won these awards.

Simone:

Can you PR the ad? “Hey, we’ve got this ad, can you PR it?” Usually, the answer is no.

Darren:

What is driving that? That you think that the PR is being reduced to being media relations?

Simone:

You know what? I think it, sometimes, it’s just really simple like education and experience. I mean, in the businesses that I’ve worked in most recently, it’s unlikely that you would get an experienced ECD or CD creative or somebody at that level that would still be asking that question.

But their still taking people through the education process of, look, this is what we do, this is the services we offer. If you would involve us at the beginning of the process, then we can create an idea together that lives comfortably in lots of channels (and it isn’t just about PR and ad), that we are people that do have a good understanding of strategy, that can come up with ideas as well and can give you some of that insight into where do brands meet culture, because really that’s where we’re working all the time, particularly, in the business that I’m in.

So, I think that part is just education. I mean, I do feel like I’ve been talking to people for most of my life trying to explain what PR is, starting with my mom. And I don’t know whether she still knows what I do. So, yeah, I do feel like that’s an ongoing conversation I’m having with people.

Darren:

And do you think it’s a different conversation when you’re working in a PR function like you have that’s very closely integrated into the agency such as Mango, such as One Green Bean or compared to … because you’ve also worked at, was it Edelman and some of the other big corporate PR companies?

Simone:

Yeah, I worked for PPR quite a few years ago in Australia, at Edelman. And yeah, I mean, as I said, I feel like I have a much better relationships with cross-discipline teams and I mean, we don’t just work with the agencies within Havas of course. I can work with a special group and Lindsay Evans on some clients, and we’re working with The Monkeys and others.

But I do feel that I have got a much better understanding of them and them of us. I mean, it’s kind of I feel like I’m talking about something kind of cliche, which is what’s going on today at a more macro global scale; is that just different groups of people understanding and empathising with each other about what they do.

And I think that me being in these groups, me being in the DDB group now, has given me a really good understanding about how everything operates and how we can work better together than maybe if you’re not sitting in a group, you don’t have that insight in the same way.

Simone:

I mean, there’s a lot of really great clients who bring the talent together across teams, and I’ve seen great work just driven by that, by a client who is pulling all of the agency talents together, briefing in a really great integrated way, being really clear on expectations, being really clear on the stages they want to go through to see the creative work, the strategy of the creative work, and the execution that involves all key players from the beginning of a process. And great work comes from that.

Darren:

I’m just wondering if part of this is a lot of the companies you’ve worked for have had a very consumer-focused PR.

Simone:

Yes, and that’s the world I’m in. I’ve never delved into the world of like public affairs, government relations. I did a short stint at Edelman in London, and they’ve got a really robust public affairs team.

Darren:

I was going to say, Edelman and PPR are also — because these bigger PR companies do have multi-disciplinary teams. They have crisis management and government relations and all the other PR services.

Simone:

Yeah, and so they’re different teams — a public affairs team that is working, building stakeholder relationships with government and talking about policy changes and that kind of thing. They don’t need to be integrated into an advertising campaign. They’re playing in a slightly different field to the work that I’ve done.

Darren:

Well, I did have a personal experience when I was working as a copywriter. And in Victoria, there was a huge fire in a gas plant, and Victoria had no gas for weeks. And I was called in by the associated PR company as part of the holding company because they wanted to write a “thank you” to Victorians for being understanding.

But it had to be written in a way, and we had lawyers and crisis, management people. There was like this huge table and me as the writer. And after about three days of drafting and redrafting, I said, “Basically, you want to say, thank you and we’re sorry, without admitting that you did something wrong. Is that pretty much it…?” Well, yes, but …

Simone:

Well, if you’re sitting in a room writing a sorry letter with lawyers in it, then yes, that is most likely the goal of that one.

Darren:

I just wondered why I was there. They could have drafted it very well themselves. No one would have read it, but I don’t think anyone read the one that I wrote, anyway.

Look, it’s interesting as well because you’ve worked in the UK, you’re from the UK.

Simone:

Yeah, yeah.

Darren:

You’ve worked there, you’ve worked in Australia and you’ve worked in the US. What are the similarities first? And then we’ll talk about the differences.

Simone:

What are the similarities? I think the similarities are from a PR and work perspective, that people want to consume information that’s entertaining and engaging. That is across the board.

Darren:

Human beings are human beings.

Simone:

Human beings are human beings. So, whether you’re using a reality TV star from something in UK, Love Island, or you’re in the US making content with sneakers, whatever — people want to be engaged and entertained, regardless of where they’re sitting, even if the humour might be a little bit different.

Now, one of the biggest differences that I find is just like how media is consumed. And it’s probably become more similar, but when I worked in the US, one of the things that really struck me was just how fragmented the media was compared to the UK and Australia, and how regional it was.

And so, for example, I was once touring a founder of a beauty business that made a mascara that made your eyelashes grow. And so, we went to all the towns of the West Coast, and then we went to New York, and we’re doing like three breakfast shows — six breakfast shows, I think it was in LA. And then we went around the breakfast radio shows in New York.

There was just so much media. I likened it to sort of being on a concert tour without the rock band. And so, the media was very fragmented. And I didn’t actually, if the truth be told, venture into middle America on that particular tour. We just did the edges.

But I got a good idea of wherever you lived at that time in America, was that was the lens you were consuming your information through. And so, if you lived in Idaho or Utah, or somewhere that’s somewhere in the middle versus if you lived in New York, you were seeing information through a slightly different lens.

And then when you look now, how information is consumed via Facebook, you’re now seeing a situation where your community might not be geographically together, but you are seeing things that you like. And so…

Darren:

Yeah, psychographically.

Simone:

Psychographically now. And so, you’re still in an information bubble. But that did strike me back then because that was something that I had not experienced before. I don’t think Australia, even with all its regional media and even with the Western Australian, being the Western Australia Newspaper, the lens wasn’t so different for different groups of people based on where they lived.

And so, that was probably one of the things that struck me the most at the time because it was a very different job. I mean, social media then made it — and digital media makes it now much easier from a PR perspective because you know you can create a piece of content and it can literally end up anywhere in the world. And if you can create a piece of really good engaging content, it can become a piece of global content, which you couldn’t really do in the past. But now, you can.

Darren:

Because as you said, people are now collecting together on shared psychology or shared interest. The geography is no longer as important as it was. I mean, culture, there are still different cultures. But it’s interesting when you’re saying that — I was just thinking about America, it is huge geographically, but it’s also enormous from a population point of view, 350 million-plus.

The UK, tiny little Island.

Simone:

Everyone squashed together.

Darren:

Yeah, lots and lots of people. I think it’s around 60 million, 55, 60 million. And then Australia relatively large, but a tiny population, 25 million people.

Simone:

Absolutely. And the UK, people really engage with the UK media. People still read The Sun and look at the Mail Online, Daily Mail Online. I mean, it’s now become one of the biggest news outlets in the world. And so, people do still engage in a way that I think is also a bit unique to the UK. People want to…

Darren:

Well, you’ve had the Royal family, you’ve got Randy Andy, still Randy. You’ve got Harry and Meghan. There are column centimetres (they used to be called), but we’ll call it pages of clickbait just on them.

Simone:

But I think also culturally as well when you’re in London, consuming media in London and working in media in London, you can see there’s just so much influence happening there, culturally. Whether it’s music or film or TV or art, a lot of it, it’s very rich and dense, less so than here.

I always say you swap culture for nature when you come to Australia. There’s clearly a lot of great culture here, but it’s not…

Darren:

Now, it’s recovered.

Simone:

But it’s not as dense. There’s something very dense about the culture, we do spend half the year where we can’t go outside in the UK. So, we need those TV shows, music. We need all of that, we need that in a way that you probably don’t need as much here.

So, I think that from a PR perspective, which I said like part of our job is to get that intersection where brands meet the culture and create engaging storytelling from it. And I think you get really good opportunities for that in the UK.

But then I think as well, we’re now getting into this global level. We’re not there yet, but there are interesting things happening.

So, there was … I don’t know whether you read or saw it, but the game Fortnite streamed a Travis Scott concert early this year, and I think 35 million people watched it. And then since then, it’s had like over a hundred million downloads.

And so, then you go, okay, well, whereas that’s got rid of geography — that isn’t UK, US Australia, right? There’s no geography there. It’s through a very certain type of media, and how, and where does a brand get involved in that, in that experience? And also, it’s highly likely that probably 70% of people consumed it through the phone.

Darren:

This is the challenge, isn’t it? This is the challenge where PR and advertising should be working hand in hand because just relying on paid media. And I think what PR brings to it is either a cultural understanding or cultural context that will actually bring the two together, makes the work that you’re doing basically, the future.

And it seems interesting, isn’t it? Because we hear so much about advertising and PR dying. Everything’s going in-house or they’re fragmenting and they only get lots of records or have lots of people. What’s your opinion on that?

Simone:

Well, I think it’s a tough environment for agencies to operate in at the moment, but I think that most sectors are having their own different challenges. But I do not think that the agency is dead. I think that there is always a place for creative agile thinkers that can plug into a business when needed.

I mean, we are seeing more movement from retained work, more project work. And I think that that’s a mindset for us. We’re like, okay, project-led, for project-led business, then how do we build our business to reflect that, so that we’ve got a more flexible workforce and that we can turn on the tap of resource when we need it and turn it down when we don’t.

But there is still a place for the kind of thinking that I think agencies can bring to a business, the kind of external thinking — because we are more outward focused than a team that we can be arms and legs or we can be thinkers. And I think that there’s a place for that. That is not over.

Darren:

So, the future may look different, but it’ll still be very healthy.

Simone:

Yeah. The future may look different. I mean, the accelerated move to digital is really making me really interrogate the kind of talent that we’ve got in the business. I’m building the digital capabilities, just people that can produce fast craft content.

Because firstly, we run a social media business anyway as well, where we produce content for social. But also, now that the media landscape has been so decimated and reshaped in the last six months, which was a road that the media was on, but it just has been accelerated beyond all belief in Australia.

But the journalists that we’re working with, they need things really well-packaged, they haven’t got time to add things in and you know, they’ve got to get well-packaged video, great photography, stories that have meaning to their readers, they need it as well.

Darren:

Yeah, the old press release, that was just, “Here’s the list of what we want you to know,” isn’t it enough because you actually have to help the journalist or the writers produce that content that consumers want to consume. It’s all about the attention economy, isn’t it?

Simone:

Yeah, we are basically content producers. We always have been, but we are in just a slightly different way now. So, we have an in-house production and in-house studio. Like we have all of that and it’s really important. And we’re using it more and more and more for everything that we’re doing.

Darren:

So, there’s a trend — and this was a conversation I had 15 years ago; the conversation we got to the point of saying, “Is there a place in the future where advertising agencies become the talent management of commercial communications?”

Because we have the William Morrises that do it for the entertainment industry. Could the same model exist for communications, including advertising? Where you just basically, the organisation represents and manages the talent and that way makes them available.

And we’ve started to see things like this, we’ve seen companies start to appear. And whether it’s influencers and the way that influencers are being managed, or whether it could be more professional and more organised.

Simone:

Yeah, what do you mean? Do you mean like the talent managing the creative content?

Darren:

Creative strategy, yeah, all of those value-adding components. Because ultimately, while clients value account management, they also know that the ideas come from the strategists and the creatives working together, but they need the account management people to manage that and keep it focused.

Simone:

Yeah, look, I think that it’s moving that way. I mean, we’ve had an in-house team at Coke for eight years that we manage, and we can move that team around. Currently, we’ve got eight people in there in the social centre. And that in a way is that model. We manage the talent for them based on their needs and we can shift and change that talent when they need it.

But yeah, I agree. I think, as you say, we kind of already are in a way doing that, but it’s just not packaged up that way.

Darren:

True. And maybe it’s just a more formalised way of what’s already evolved out of the existing circumstances.

Simone, I’m so sorry, we’ve run out of time. This has been a fantastic conversation. I’ve enjoyed it so much. I hope you have too.

Simone:

Thank you. Yeah, I have too, it went fast.

Darren:

It went very fast. But look, before you go, I have a question for you; having worked around in different places in the world and with lots of great people, do you think there’s one country that produces the best people in the world?

Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media, and commercial communications professionals, Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by Darren Woolley and special guests. Find all the episodes here

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Darren is considered a thought leader on all aspects of marketing management. A Problem Solver, Negotiator, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 - Marketing Management Consultants, founding member of the Marketing FIRST Forum and Author. He is also a Past-Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, Ex-Medical Scientist and Ex-Creative Director. And in his spare time he sleeps. Darren's Bio Here Email: darren@trinityp3.com

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