Fast 10: Atomic 212°’s Claire Fenner On Marketers’ Mixed Messages & Being Creative in 2024

Fast 10: Atomic 212°’s Claire Fenner On Marketers’ Mixed Messages & Being Creative in 2024

Atomic 212° is one of the country’s top independent media shops. Claire Fenner, having spent nearly a decade at the agency, first as general manager, then as managing director and partner, before finally becoming national CEO in February last year, is one of the main reasons behind that success. In between her busy schedule, Greg ‘Sparrow’ Graham, found time to ask her 10 very fast questions.

1. Atomic 212 had a cracker year in 2023, can you keep up the momentum in 2024?

Absolutely; the momentum isn’t slowing. We have a long track record of consistent growth interspersed with big leaps like we’ve seen in the past 18 months. We have a lot of experience in managing that growth and making sure it is sustainable, and that’s exactly what we will continue to do this year.

2. As a hot indie what sets you apart from your indie rivals and the big holdcos?

That’s a simple answer: it’s our people and our product. Everything we do is striving to deliver smarter, faster and more accountable media for our clients.

3. I keep getting mixed messages, how is the year ahead shaping up for your client base?

The reason for mixed messages is that the reality is so varied for each business. Most of our clients aren’t too concerned about the current economic conditions and are moving forward without wavering from their plans. Naturally, there are always going to be some businesses that are more sensitive to the economic conditions we’re facing. We support them through that and will be ready to adapt our plans as needed to make sure they get the best result for their business.

4. With so much happening in the media world, how do you stay on top of things?

I do a lot of reading, a lot of talking and listening to the smart people around me. We all just need to keep learning and embracing the new opportunities and challenges that our industry is faced with more and more frequently. It wouldn’t be any fun if nothing changed!

5. What’s your top priority as the CEO this year?

While there are a few initiatives we’re working on in the agency this year, ultimately my biggest priority will always be the people in our business and ensuring we’re supporting them to do their best work, enjoy what they do and continue to grow.

6. How would your clients describe your leadership style?

Humble and solutions-focused.

7. What keeps you up at night — besides a restless child?

Leading more than 160 people and all of the challenges that come with running a business of our size. It’s a significant responsibility.

8. Juggling your CEO role and being a single mum seems like a superwoman task. How do you do it?

I’m definitely no superwoman. I have my ups and downs in both roles, and I just try to find new ways to make it work whenever I hit a hurdle. I prioritise what really matters between the two and just try to keep all the balls in the air.

9. Can you tell us something that isn’t on your LinkedIn profile?

There’s a lot that’s not on my LinkedIn profile I must admit, although I have always loved creative pursuits and have neglected this part of me in the past decade. So, I’m making an effort this year to create time to paint just for the sake of painting or take whatever other opportunities for creativity present themselves outside of work. Watch this space!

10. Have you got any New Year’s resolutions – notwithstanding that we’re nearly a quarter of the way through 2024?

I don’t do resolutions because I’m almost guaranteed not to keep them. However, as mentioned before, finding time for more creativity would be the closest thing to a New Year’s resolution for me this year, and I look forward to seeing what I can make of it.

Check out the other instalments in the Fast 10 series here:




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