For LinkedIn’s head of agency & channel sales Lara Brownlow, last year’s COVID-19 lockdown was a case of appearance versus reality.
“I was working full-time with a one and three-year-old for six weeks. So it was a really trying time,” Brownlow told B&T
“As a leader of the business, I felt like I had to really step up. But to be honest, personally, I was really struggling.”
Brownlow did manage to get through the initial lockdown, attributing the support of colleagues and “lots of different babysitters”, and today she enjoys the flexibility of being able to work both in the office (she’s a self-described people person) and at home.
LinkedIn’s company values also appeared to play a role.
“When it comes to LinkedIn’s culture and values, it’s about being open, transparent and honest, but really above all, it’s about putting people first, always,” Brownlow explained.
“Not only our members, but our talent internally. Some companies say that, but LinkedIn really does put their people first. And I felt that through COVID.”
Brownlow pointed to LinkedIn’s former CEO Jeff Weiner and his formula for great colleagues.
“They dream big, they get shit done and they know how to have fun,” she said.
“And I’ve just always loved that, in terms of encompassing some of the core attributes of the people that work at LinkedIn.
“The people [at LinkedIn] have a big heart, we’re very focused on culture, diversity, and inclusion.”
Navigating hyper Growth
Brownlow joined LinkedIn seven years ago, after previously working at Facebook. In these seven years, she has seen the platform grow to reach 756 million members around the globe, with 11 million in Australia alone.
She points to the past few months as being a period of, particularly rapid growth. For example, in Q3 for FY 2020/21, conversations on the platform increased 43 per cent, while content being shared on the platform was up 29 per cent YoY.
“LinkedIn has played a really incredible role through this new motion of working from home and I think it’s going to only continue,” explained Brownlow.
“That has obviously allowed our marketing business, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, to grow as well. In fact, in the last 12 months, we’ve seen our advertising business surpassed $3 billion in revenue. It’s growing nearly three times faster than the B2B digital advertising market overall.”
The key to this growth has been LinkedIn’s transition from a place for professional profiles to an active community, Brownlow suggested.
On the back of this growth, LinkedIn is working on a number of new initiatives to help provide its community with more value from the platform.
With 96 per cent of B2B marketers now using LinkedIn to distribute content, the relaunch of the LinkedIn Audience Network will now make it easier for these marketers to deliver campaigns across multiple channels.
“That’s the ability to use that incredible professional data that we have at LinkedIn – the 11 million Australians – to actually be able to reach them off LinkedIn now, and to really drive more efficiencies through your B2B and B2C campaigns,” said Brownlow.
The next change is the introduction of a certification initiative.
“We are about to launch our first-ever LinkedIn certification, which means that there will be official certification on the platform that will sit back on your LinkedIn profile.
“It is similar to the Google and Facebook certifications of the world.
“This has been a big project for us that we’ve been working on for quite some time and it’s really about upskilling our clients and their customers to really be able to get the best out of their marketing and the most return for the campaigns.”
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