I'm absolutely thrilled to be named as an f:Entrepreneur100 UK for 2020, so I thought what an opportune moment to share the story that led me to build my business, and maybe inspire you on your journey....
My career in media/advertising and communications started many years ago in national press, through accidental curiosity after watching a TV drama set at the Observer Newspaper. After 15 years in various national titles & digital, I joined the Out of Home sector and flourished.
I joined Viacom, (since then evolved into CBS Outdoor, Exterion Media, & now part of Global Outdoor) on the sales side, but soon created a role for myself as a hybrid between sales and our franchise partners. As a result I led sales teams across Transport for London, Unibail-Rodamco Westfield and National Rail, responsible for key franchise partner relationships, as well as developing the creative solution division, challenging creative thinking and working with clients to deliver bespoke executions.
Having built great connections with our partners, I became involved in the tender process to secure new contracts and expanding our existing remit. As the sectors' digital transformation took hold, I was involved in the digitalising for TfL and both U-R Westfield White City and Strafford City, whilst still leading the commercial operations.
In 2009/10 we started to prepare for London 2012 Olympic/Paralympic Games. I was delighted to be asked to head CBS Outdoor’s London 2012 Strategy and lead the Out of Home sector through the Olympic/Paralympic advertising process, working with Worldwide sponsors, IOC, LOCOG and the UK Advertising industry.
As a result, I met Samsung, a worldwide Olympic/Paralympic sponsor, who invited me to join them to lead their UK OOH investment, at the time the UK’s largest investor, as well overseeing European placements and executing special projects through to Seoul.
Within the Samsung family, I created Cheil Media, a specialist media planning and buying agency, immersed in the creative process. Over 3.5 years, we delivered 10 true media firsts, including the first near real-time dynamic campaign, renaming Heathrow T5 for the launch of the Galaxy S5, through to delivering the largest freestanding digital screen at Marble Arch. All validating the benefits achieved when media planning and creative work hand in hand.
However, following the difficulties Samsung suffered from a new device catching fire in 2015, they undertook a global consolidation across all disciplines, with media/advertising transferring to their globally appointed agency.
After some time, I decided if not now, when, so I launched Diversiffi Media, a strategic commercial partnerships agency, bringing together my 360° perspective on the complete marketing process. In essence, we own our client’s business challenges in driving revenues, creating dynamic partnerships for the long term, and/or monetising assets, collaborating with a collective of experts across multiple disciplines, when needed.
Our clients include Samsung UK/Europe, Unibail-Rodamco Westfield, Aviva Investors, London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, HSBC, London Legacy Development Corp, FatTail USA, Gulf Meteor Dubai.
I recognised that for many clients the potential for great business partnerships, monetising assets, and creating new revenue streams is a frequent discussion which rarely leaves the board room. Creating partnerships, which work for all stakeholders, is a long-term strategy that takes time, often months to deliver, and needs constant development. It means diverting resources, creating new relationships, exploring shared values, plus it takes real tenacity, as there are many obstacles and barriers to overcome.
This is not the expertise of many companies, but it is mine. I recognised that throughout my career I’ve been doing this all along, developing projects, navigating new ways and bringing ideas to fruition. Actioning that potential is my strength, I love doing it, I’m good at it, there’s nothing better than seeing an agreement come together.
I also run Digital Out of Home creative workshops. When creating Cheil Media, the central proposition was to immerse media planning and creative, our planning/buying teams were wrapped in creative thinking. With a passion for optimising the creative canvas on Out of Home, digital brings new opportunities.
If you too are toying with the idea, take the leap and good luck. I'd love to hear your story...