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HeyHuman and Brave’s Helen Weisinger talks exclusively to theMarketingblog

by on May 13, 2015 in Advertising, Business, Latest News, Lead Article, Nuggets, Rock 'n Roll

  • Our special Q & A feature concentrates this time round on  Hey Human and Brave’s Managing Partner Helen Weisinger.

    I found Helen’s approach fascinating. Her comments made really good business sense. Helen’s determination is captured in this exclusive Marketingblog interview – enjoy it.  Editor  

    Growth. I was interested in your new business approach. I thought your idea of developing new business from present clients made good business sense. Please tell us more…

For me, new business is by definition, business you don’t already have – whether that’s new business from a client you’ve already got or ‘new’ business from a new client win.  It all adds to the revenue pot.

Frankly, as the market has been in decline for the last 10 years, agencies have had to get better at growing the client’s they’ve already got.

But it’s the ability to spot both that’s where the skill comes in.

Therefore, a good New Business Director today, needs to be able to work with the account teams to spot client challenges that others may overlook and help turn these into solid, revenue-driving business opportunities that help the client, and agency grow.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love the chase of the brand new business too.  I see myself as a proud hustler, and there’s nothing better than developing a relationship from scratch.

The best thing about my job is that I get paid to meet, nurture, protect and grow relationships.

And what better place to do it than from the agency I work for, HeyHuman – an agency all about building human brands from human relationships.


You got very excited when we talked about WACL. Tell us why…


12 winners of the annual WACL (Women in Advertising and Communications London) Future Leader Awards.

WACL is an amazing organisation that has existed for over 90 years to actively support women in the industry – from those members inside the club to those outside of it too. It also happens to raise phenomenal amounts of money for charity.

It’s a network of brilliant women from the advertising and communications industry who inspire each other, support each other and laugh together – a lot.

We also support younger women, the rising stars of our industry through workshops and training days.  We run a brilliant annual training day called Gather, which is coming up later this month, plus we host smaller Gathering workshops – the theme for this year, building your confidence and a Future Leaders Award.

What’s more, WACL is also provides great networking opportunities, especially when you consider some of the amazing keynote speakers we’ve hosted at our dinners.

These have included the likes of Claire Balding, Nick Clegg, Mary Portas, Ed Milliband, Arianna Huffington, and Harriet Harman to name a few.  Up next is Martin Sorrell.


You talked in depth about HeyHuman. Innovation was mentioned as being important to the agency. What else is providing a real edge to the HeyHuman operation?


In my view, the interesting thing about HeyHuman is that we are leading the cultural zeitgeist of change. A bold claim I know, but let me tell you why.

Firstly, we are an agency that is led by a 50% female to male board, a rare thing in Adland.

As Tom Knox, the new President of IPA set out his agenda, more must be done to promote gender equality and improve female representation, particularly in senior roles within the industry.

We’re delighted to say that at HeyHuman, we’re already there (and with a female with Creative Director).

Secondly our work centres around brand behaviour, not brand sentiment.  So we really understand what makes people tick and most importantly what makes people buy (vs whey say they buy).

Our talk at Adweek, Brand Love in the time of Tinder, revealed the reality of the relationship people want with brands vs the relationships brands think they want.

And finally, through our extensive neuroscience work, we are unlocking new ways of thinking about behaviours in the context of the digital world.

We know that the world has changed in terms of limited attention and this in turn affects the rules of creativity.  But do brands know yet what those rules are?  In my view, not enough.

We shared some of this thinking at SXSW and it has had an amazing response across the industry.  And we’re doing a live neurological experiment on stage at the first ever Cannes Lions Innovations Festival.


Courage counts: Tell us why you described the other agency in the group stable Brave as an ‘Undiscovered Gem’?


Brave, is our advertising and digital agency.  We ask of our clients what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

We do this by helping our clients de-risk brave, creative and commercial decision making.

It is, by far, the most commercially aware agency business I have ever worked with. The team are smart, agile, a creatively courgeous, strategically forensic and digitally progressive bunch.

I’ve worked in a fair few agencies over the years and not many agencies have had such creative and business nouse .What’s not to like!


What advice would you give to any newcomers to the agency in terms of future career direction?

Given that we are fast approaching the point when 50% of all advertising is delivered digitally, make sure you don’t shy away from technology, data and coding, whatever area of the business you think you’d like to get into.


Have I missed something? Your opportunity to finish off with a flourish


We work in a great industry.  Advertising, in all it’s wondrous ways informs, entertains, persuades, dissuades and helps enhance perceptions – meanwhile playing a massive role in fuelling the economy.

It’s a fast paced, fun industry where the rate of change is extraordinary.  It’s not for the faint hearted though.

To be part of it, you need to be hungry and grab every challenge and learning curve (no matter how big, small or inconsequential it may seem) as it comes your way.

Enjoy the ride.





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