We’re at the three-quarter mark of our podcast mini-series in collaboration with Seventh Street Media (SSM), and what better way to keep the ball rolling than with CHE Proximity chief executive Chris Howatson.
CHE Proximity was the big winner at last year’s B&T Awards, taking home the Data-Driven Marketing, Direct Response/Performance Agency of the Year, Advertising Agency of the Year and Agency of the Year gongs.
Speaking to SSM boss Luke Girgis on Fear At The Top, Howatson (pictured above) talks about his sheer love for his job and advertising, as well as how he’s helped evolve CHEP’s model over the last five years to become a leading agency.
Howatson says that with data and technology fundamentally changing the industry, it’s creating a “massive chasim” emerging between the agencies that have adopted change and those that are still talking about the pure power of creativity.
“Creativity is empty if it’s not focused, and so I think what our responsibility is as a modern advertising agency is to better understand the customer and apply the power of creativity in such a precise and deliberate way that we can justify to our clients that marketing gets them up into that c-suite area of influence,” he says.
According to Howatson, CHEP has found the “sweet spot” between consulting firms and other agencies.
“[Consultancies’] limitation is in terms of creative execution. Conversely to that, agencies are really good at creative execution, but potentially bad at the upstream thinking stuff,” he says.
“I think the sweet spot is in between both of them, and that’s what I really think we’ve achieved over at CHEP over the last five years: balancing consultancy capability orientated around customer experience.
“We’re not going to consult to Telstra about whether they should create a second brand in Australia and how much they should invest in building a 5G network – that’s Bain and McKinsey stuff.
“Very much our sweet spot is how do we create customer experiences that make people more valuable to brands, and then what’s the unmissable content that motivates people to behave.”
Howatson also addresses what he thinks is the fundamental problem with advertising today: that it’s all broad to appeal to individual wants.
“The way to solve the problem of terrible advertising is to treat the world as an audience one, and how do we continue to solve an individual’s problem, and then figure out how we to that at scale to many individuals. That’s how we try to do things,” he explains.
Listen to everything Howatson had to say in the podcast embedded above, or via iTunes.
Stay tuned for our final podcast of the series tomorrow, featuring PHD Media chief Mark Coad!