4 December 18

Herd MSL strengthens team for 2019 with senior appointments

Recent winners of PRIA Agency of the Year, Herd MSL, are set for a stellar start to 2019 by appointing three new leaders to the senior management team.

The agency group has announced the appointments of Skye Lambley and Karen Dunnicliff in N2N Communications and Katy Daniells in Touch Creative to their award-winning team.

Herd MSL includes N2N Communications, Fuel Communications and Touch Creative and has grown to house 75 public relations, content and social media specialists representing brands in corporate, consumer lifestyle, government and technology sectors.

Skye Lambley joins Herd MSL in the newly created role of Managing Director of N2N Communications. She has more than 17 years of communications experience both in Australia and across the Asia Pacific region, specialising in consumer and enterprise technology and corporate communications. Having also helped clients take advantage of new and emerging technologies and platforms to engage their stakeholders, Skye has an outstanding combination of consulting experience as well as agency management experience and a passion for investing in her team’s development.

On her appointment, Skye said, “I’m so excited to join N2N Communications and Herd MSL. As the top agency going into 2019, I’m thrilled to be joining a team of such talented, dedicated people and to work on a number of impactful integrated campaigns with market-leading clients.”

New Group Account Director Karen Dunnicliff previously led integrated B2B and B2C communications programs across both Australia and UK, she will be joining Skye in the N2N Leadership team. Katy Daniells will be bolstering out the team at Touch Creative. Katy has a decade of experience in both agency and government and her diverse background across FMCG, B2B and personal branding sees her in good stead to be a Senior Account Director for Touch Creative at Herd MSL.

On the news, CEO Vanessa Liell said: “We are ecstatic to welcome Skye, Karen and Katy to our agency group. Their specialist skills and experience with both international and local brands will continue to push our strategic offering so we can continue to deliver outstanding work and service to our diverse clients.

“The three will also be exceptional role models to mentor and advise our wider team. Herd MSL keeps going from strength to strength both in our delivery of work for clients and development of our team. We’re looking forward to a great year in 2019.”

– Ends –

Herd MSL is one of Australia’s largest and most awarded group of agencies – N2N Communications, Fuel Communications and Touch Creative. Our strength is our ability to solve complex business problems through outstanding creative ideas, technically excellent execution and content led, multi-channel campaigns. Our difference is our dynamic, fearless and ambitious team – more than 70 specialists passionate about creative and integrated campaigns with impact.

Herd MSL is owned by Publicis Communications and part of the MSL global PR network.

2 November 18

Herd MSL wins PRIA National Large Agency of the Year

By Herd MSL CEO, Vanessa Liell:

Herd MSL exists to deliver great results and progress the careers of our team. Development of our team’s careers has been our central purpose and fundamental to our growth and achievements – among which are this week’s PRIA’s National Large Agency of the Year.

Our people are passionate about communications – they’ve trained extensively and committed their professional careers to delivering outstanding communications and have sought out an environment to do this.

The communication challenges our team face each day are vast, and include how to help organisations increase market share, engage and excite consumers, protect reputation, mitigate issues, stay ahead of competitors and deliver value (and demonstrate it). How they tackle these challenges is impressive – there’s technical excellence, experience and counsel which is core. However what’s most impressive is their curiosity, drive, energy and passion.

Outstanding communication has never been more important to business. In a year marked by rapid technological change, reputational scrutiny and political and economic uncertainty, organisations have sought communications counsel as the first step to navigate these challenges.

For agencies to be successful in the current environment, we think they need size, scale and specialisation. PR professionals used to be generalists – expected to tackle strategy, media and stakeholder relations, content creation and execution. Now the diversity of channels, the integration with creative, paid and social and disruption of traditional media has changed the way we think about our workforce.

The organisations we work with seek diverse skills – this means corporate affairs professionals for strategy, risk and reputation, creatives to drive ideas, skilled writers and creators to build content, dedicated publicists and social media specialists to earn a share of voice and analysts to provide insight.

This suits our team – who believe that building their careers requires access to outstanding brands, challenging work, the opportunity to grow their skills in diverse environments and the chance to work with senior, experienced communicators who commit to train and invest in their development.

Our career progressions strategy is simple:
1. Hire outstanding talent – rigorous recruitment for technical skills, proven track record and cultural fit
2. Specialisation based on strengths – we believe people are at their best when they do what they love and what they’re great at. We encourage everyone to identify what that is and pursue it passionately.
3. Progression – this year we drove an agency wide initiative to interrogate what progression means to our team. The outcome is a drive by our leaders to ensure they know what our team want to achieve and create the opportunities and environment for them to achieve work they’ll be proud of.
4. Leaders to learn from – our team of 75 is led by award-winning consultants. We believe our leadership should be hands-on, both doing the work and dedicated to training our team. They have a track record – in technology, consumer, government, corporate affairs and creative – and know their future success depends on the quality of their investment in their team.
5. Diversity – in all forms drives creativity and unique ideas. Our industry leading parental leave policy introduced this year provides 16 weeks paid leave and many additional benefits to encourage parents to continue their careers with us as they build a family. A dedicated diversity champion supported by a clear and practical policy has inspired our leaders to consider how we build a workforce that reflects the audiences we aim to reach.
6. Culture – is the little things we do every day. It’s the drive, passion, energy that comes from our leadership and resonates throughout. The fun, humour and personal relationships that come from working closely together. And the celebrations – big and small – where we value each other and the opportunity to work in such a dynamic, exciting and challenging industry.
We love to win awards, however for Herd MSL our sense of achievement lies in what it took for us to get there — great work, outstanding communication and creative and passionate people with a dedication to learning.

26 October 17

Fuel Communications celebrates success at the 2017 NSW PRIA Golden Target awards

Last night, Fuel Communications celebrated a major win at the NSW PRIA Golden Target Awards 2017, taking home the gong of best Consumer Campaign for Australian Hearing’s YES Test.

The winning campaign was part of Australian Hearing’s mission to normalise hearing loss and demonstrate to Aussies that hearing tests should be part of a regular health check-up. Australian Hearing engaged Fuel to develop a bold and fun campaign, to break the stigma attached to hearing loss and drive measurable consumer action.    

The integrated campaign was executed across the Herd MSL network of agencies, including Fuel Communications and Touch Creative, and was designed to empower people to take control of their hearing wellness, through a new website hearinghealth.com.au. At its heart was a self-diagnosis video called the Hearing YES Test, featuring legendary comedian, Mikey Robins. This created a great opportunity to turn the issue on its head and use humour to humanise the frustrating situations that people experience when their hearing declines.

Our earned media efforts generated almost 40 million opportunities-to-see while our social media engagement reached 675k Aussies. More importantly, over 2,300 people have taken the ‘YES Test’ to date – and over half of those people were in the target demographic (55+ yrs).

In addition, Herd MSL Group was highly commended for large Agency of the year. A great result following a jam-packed year of thought provoking consumer campaigns.

3 October 17

Is creativity a strategic priority in your business? Cannes Insights Series

At our recent Cannes insights session, we asked some of Australia’s leading PRs and marketers, “Is creativity a strategic priority in your business?”  On the surface this appears to be a relatively simple question, but as we discovered from our subsequent discussion, prioritising creativity within an organisation varies considerably. The conversations provided us with a strong insight into the reality of marketing in Australia and what the future holds for commercial creativity.

Within many businesses, marketing departments are under pressure to deliver a strong return on investment for their brand, most predictably in hard sales figures. Others in the discussion group reported a strong backing for creative thinking that could help reframe the brand or amplify its over-arching business strategy.

Gaia Grant from the University of Sydney’s Business School, highlighted the pressure on businesses to maintain creativity within their organisation: “We were all kids once, and we all had that creative potential as a child,” she said. “But something happens in our life spans and as adults and we seem to lose that creative thinking. Creativity is a life skill and it’s something we need to develop throughout our lifetime. You can’t have innovation without the ability to think creatively.[1]

The “something” that Ms Grant refers to can be a myriad of factors, summed up by our network within our discussion groups.  Pressure to report hard data on the basis of campaigns, coupled with a sometimes cynical attitude towards creativity and what it can provide for the business. Creativity cannot be simply seen as a strategic priority within a business, it needs to be baked within the business’ DNA.  An organisation will only move successfully creatively, if it is led from the top.

 “Fearless Girl” was created by asset managers, State Street. In cold hard terms, State Street’s modus operandi is to make their clients’ funds profitable. Yet, as an organisation they felt strongly that companies in the financial sector didn’t have a strong enough female representation, and created a bold creative statement that completely reframed their business with their statue. It can change and totally reframe a business’ reputation and standing within their sector.

A Cannes Lion is a powerful recognition of creativity in itself, but as we discovered from our respondents at our insights session, it can provide a vibrant touchstone of what is possible for a business when creativity becomes a strategic priority.

[1] https://www.cmo.com.au/article/579823/why-creativity-puts-magic-marketing-leadership/

 

25 September 17

WINNER: Consultancy of the Year, 2017 SABRE Awards

We were as pleased as punch to take home the metal for Australasian Consultancy of the Year at the SABRE Awards in Hong Kong last week.

Herd MSL is a broad church, encompassing Fuel Communications (famous for all things consumer PR), as well as our sister brands, N2N (covering B2B, tech and government relations) and finally, Touch Creative, our content marketing and social media specialists. 

With the competition having been stiff, and with the Herd MSL umbrella brand being less than a year old, we were particularly proud to be recognised in this way. 

Herd MSL CEO, Vanessa Liell said: “We’re excited to be named Australasian Consultancy of the Year 2017.  This is a remarkable time for Herd MSL – our work continues to be brave, innovative and goes to the very heart of communications.”

The gong is the first metal for the agency since being acquired by Publicis Communications in July 2017. 

18 September 17

Fortune favours the brave – creative lessons from Cannes

Last month we hosted an insights session in our office on the recent Cannes Lions, giving us an opportunity to welcome our network across Sydney to discuss creative lessons from the Côte d’Azur.

At their best, a Cannes Lion award represents creatively outstanding work that provides value for the consumer and client. As ever, the competition is steep and creative agencies across the world are setting the bar even higher in terms of what can be achieved for their brands.

A painter synonymous with the French Riviera Henri Matisse once said “creativity takes courage” when describing his process in painting. Similarly, the award winning campaigns at Cannes this year showed consistent bravery that ultimately delivered results for the brands in question.

Fearless Girl

“Fearless Girl” the iconic statue that was installed in New York’s Wall Street, by asset manager State Street highlighted a lack of diversity in boardrooms across America. The statue became more than a symbol, the Boston based company followed through on its pledge to vote against companies that don’t have women on their boards of directors. There was considerable bravery involved creating a memorable statue in a city that had only a handful of female statues. There were detractors, not only in the media, but also within Wall Street, but by using “Fearless Girl”, State Street were able to create a strong brand promise on diversity within a traditionally male dominated industry.

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4 September 17

What can an amateur football club teach professional clubs about fan engagement?

There’s a UK-based football club that attracts over 1 million views for its YouTube videos and has hundreds of thousands of followers across social media. That’s pretty impressive for a club that was founded in 2016 but even more impressive given it’s a club made up of amateurs, not professional players.

The club is called Hashtag United and was set up by football YouTuber Spencer Owen. With an online reach that rivals many of the major UK professional football teams, the club’s online success shines a light on the changing expectations of sports fans.

One of the reasons the videos posted Hashtag United are so engaging is because they follow the journey of everyday amateur players. Players that have a passion for the sport but also juggle full-time jobs and family life. That’s a far cry from many of the UK football stars – some of whom fill social media with posts from glamorous parties and holidays.

Although it’s too early to tell whether the glamorous lives of professional football players has caused everyday fans to become disengaged with the game in a significant way, major brands aren’t willing to place all their focus on the big end of town. Coca-Cola and Umbro are just some of the names that have sponsored Hashtag United.

In many ways, the online success of Hashtag United shouldn’t be a surprise. We know people like connecting to and engaging with people that are like them or do the same things as them. The latter certainly explains why celeb gossip sites are filled with famous faces filling their cars with petrol and shopping in the supermarket.

Maybe there’s a lesson there for more professional football players. While images of fast cars and houses might get the eye-balls online perhaps what fans really want from their players is content they can relate to. Content that shows a passion for sport, their banter with team mates and anything else that shows deep down the players are not that different to the fans that follow them.

28 August 17

When do you make time for creativity?

It’s not always easy in the world of comms to slow down and reflect but a creativity breakfast we put on last week provided the perfect opportunity to do just that.

Hosted at the HERD MSL offices in Sydney, we were joined by over 50 communications leaders to discuss and debate some of the most creative and impactful work from this year’s Cannes Lions.

During the session we shared a number of trends and examples of campaigns we admired this year.  More on that to come but for now I’ll leave you with some work we did for the Australian Hearing that earlier this month was shortlisted at the Sabre APAC Awards.

 

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18 August 17

Where do great campaign ideas come from?

Ideas for communications campaigns can come from anywhere, but unearthing those ideas can often take a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears. So what if I told you that your next big award-winning, product-selling, awareness-shifting campaign might be right under your nose?

At Cannes this year some of the work that impressed us the most was work that reacted to or built-upon something that has already happened in the ‘outside world.’

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24 November 16

Who am I? Tom Lock

It’s time to introduce another member of The Herd! Consumer Legend, Tom Lock.

Growing up on the Gold Coast, Tom made the move to Sydney at age 21 and immersed himself in Fuel’s corporate client roster; making his bones on big-hitting accounts like Salesforce. Tommy then found his true calling in consumer, and has been killing it ever since.

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