Fast 10: B&T Talks Brand Rituals, Keeping It Fresh And DE&I With Affinity Media’s Angela Smith

Fast 10: B&T Talks Brand Rituals, Keeping It Fresh And DE&I With Affinity Media’s Angela Smith

Angela Smith has been making waves in the industry in recent years, leading Sydney-based indie Affinity Media in various roles over the past two decades. The Independent Media Association of Australia board member and chair of its DE&I committee caught up with Sparrow for 10 very fast questions.

1. I still think of the agency as a relatively new indie, however you have been going 20 years. How do you keep your agency’s image fresh and relevant? 

We do like to keep it fresh, so good to know you feel we’re still new. Yes, we’ve been going for a while, but have constantly evolved as demanded by the massive changes in tech and consumer behaviour over time. The data-smart agency you see today is the product of hiring our first data scientist in 2012, so we kind of look at ourselves at being more like an energetic and curious 10 year old

2. Your clear focus on effectiveness has been incredibly successful, how do you continue the momentum?

Thanks Sparrow. Being able to demonstrate a measurable impact dominates everything we do. Aside from actively building in heaps of brand rituals that create time for thinking, our deeply considered way of working naturally attracts a certain kind of thinker. Having a high performing, hypersmart team all focused on outcomes, means effectiveness is self-perpetuating.

3. Your business model is evolving, what’s resonating with clients in tougher economic times? 

We’re seeing a greater demand for strategic advice at a whole-of-business level that blends marketing and technology for competitive advantage. We don’t outsource or offshore anything, knowing that a truly integrated cross-functional team find growth hacks that would remain buried somewhere in the database or brand metrics. Our team knows how to prospect for gold and deliver it – we’re finding more clients are coming to us for business-changing results rather than just ads or media buying.

4. You are involved in IMAA leadership, how do you prioritise all your responsibilities? 

Our mission at the IMAA is close to my heart so it’s always possible to find time, but I couldn’t do it without knowing our team shine for our clients without me needing to be there 24/7.

5. In your creds you highlight that: ‘We always put thinking first’. Do you have any specific examples that bring this to life?

We like to think all of our work demonstrates this!  But one that comes to mind is our thinking for Concierge Car Wash which highlights the importance of taking the time to ensure we understood the root cause of the client’s problem through strategic use of data. They didn’t have the resources for us to get it wrong. Our approach for Concierge showed how creativity in under-rated channels can deliver great commercial outcomes – adding millions of dollars to their bottom line by increasing existing customer revenue by 62%. And what I love about this one was that it was all achieved through humble text messages which won the team another coveted Effie. 

6. You have an impressive client list, any new campaigns that you are excited about?

There’s quite a lot on at the moment. The piece that’s getting me jumping out of bed is our relationship with an ambitious haircare brand. We’ve been working at a root and branch level over the past few months to identify the strongest opportunities for growth including sku rationalisation, distribution, pricing, packaging and channel strategy. We’re making an immediate impact on improving commercial outcomes including number of sales and average order value, while we continue work on rebuilding the brand in parallel. Its so deeply rewarding to be able to access real-time data and become trusted advisors to drive serious business growth. I also value that they understand turning a business around can take time, but that you can achieve some quick wins too.

We’re also excited about a new SaaS product we’ve developed that accelerates any ecomm platform to increase conversion rates and SEO performance in moments. So, we’re looking forward to launching that to market shortly. 

7. You are passionate about DE&I. What’s one action as an industry we can implement now to make a real difference? 

It’s no secret that our industry loses female leaders at a disproportionate rate and is still heavily dominated by men. Part of the issue is that having and raising children is still skewed toward women being the primary caregiver. And after a couple of years out of the industry these mums find it difficult to re-enter the workplace on more flexible terms. Helping this overlooked talent pool find a way back through more flexible hours or shorter working weeks is a hurdle the industry hasn’t been able to demonstrably overcome yet. I’d love to see a universal and practical approach to ensuring this invaluable experience isn’t lost.

8. Do you have a mentor, coach or leader who has been influential in your career development?

There have been plenty of inspirational people along the way, but my current mentor, who is outside the industry, has taught me so much about how to grow as a leader that works to serve and inspire others to thrive with joy.

9. Can you share with us something that’s not on your LinkedIn profile? 

I’m an avid online gamer and would disappear into virtual worlds for hours on end if there wasn’t so much else to do! Look out for my handle: BearGrills

10. Do your parents know what you actually do? 

I think it’s better that they don’t. They’d prefer I was still a lawyer. Oh well.

Check out the rest of the Fast 10 series here:

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