You've worked in a number of big well-known companies. why did you set up on your own?
Having worked at the best full service agency in London in the '80s, BMP; a creative hotshop, Delaney Fletcher Delaney (now DLKW) and then Zenith Media, I was fortunate enough to experience just how influential media planning could be throughout the whole of the communications process. That said, I, along with a number of others in the business, became increasingly frustrated with the sublimation of planning within both buying and creative agencies. Selling clients "what the company made" rather than what was in their business interest seemed to be the order of the day, which to me seemed both short-sighted and unacceptable. We thought there was a real opportunity to provide independent strategic advice for clients that gave us the freedom to recommend any solution or channel that was right for them. Five years later and 80 clients suggest we might be onto something.
Was it tough?
Apart from remortgaging; saying goodbye to the convertible and the big salary, and trying to convince Bulmers, Lucasfilm, Carphone Warehouse and BT ( we did!) that three guys with two laptops and a trestle table in one room above a chip shop should handle their business, no, not really. To be serious, we were lucky enough to be working with a number of clients from day one who really bought into what we were doing and this, coupled with enthusiasm, commitment and a growing number of case histories, seemed to make an impact.
You have had a good run of new business recently. what has given you the edge?
I think a growing recognition of the role of solution-neutral advice in communications (five years on and the industry is finally getting round to
media neutrality as its next buzz word) and our track record in providing it for a raft of clients.
What would you say to a graduate keen to enter this industry?
It is a fantastic business, full of opportunity and great people. However, it requires
a lot of enthusiasm, hard work and optimism to succeed. Don't assume the attitude, as some we have seen, that the world owes you a living and be prepared to go way beyond the expected to get ahead. Be aware of the fresh thinking that now abounds in the industry and look for the rising stars, not the dead ducks. And, without being too biased, media in its broadest sense is a great place to start.