The Marketing Institute: What does a Head of Strategy at Vizeum do?
Jane Madden: My role is to work with the senior teams in Vizeum to craft client business strategy and ensure the brand and brand idea are not lost in media. That means being an independent voice, a good listener and willing to challenge. I listen to what the brief is, and what we know of the task at hand. Much of my time is spent articulating where a brand should sit, how it should be positioned and the impending challenges the business is facing.
MII: What were your key career moves to get to your current role?
J.M: The biggest decision was moving from creative to media. Culturally, it was a very big adjustment and a steep learning curve. I was apprehensive of such a shift but now that media is a living platform for brands and consumers to engage, it meant my skills were transferable.
MII: What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?
J.M: The biggest challenge I have faced in my role is adjusting to a different culture and getting my head around the world of media and data. I had been a planner in a creative agency for 15 years and I felt I needed to broaden my skills and challenge myself. Moving into media means that I can continue to add value in a changed consumer and creative context.
MII: What key skills do you need to be effective in your role?
J.M: You need to be articulate and passionate. I will never be the person in the room who knows the most about media, but my experience means I can bring brand thinking, and an understanding of brand and communications, to bear on all our clients business. It’s important to be able to communicate that knowledge clearly and in a way that motivates or excites others in the room.
MII: Describe a typical working day.
J.M: My job means I can be working on anything from a pitch to a rebranding to understanding the role of media in future proofing a client’s business; so I need to keep a broad perspective. Every morning, after I have gone through my mails I take about twenty minutes to have a quick scan of ‘the news’. For me, that includes everything; newspapers, Instagram, WARC, Campaign, Adworld etc. The rest of the day is never typical. I can be attending meetings, writing presentations, doing desk research, working on a brand positioning, or pitching for new business.
MII: What do you love most about your role?
J.M: The thing I love most about my role is that I am constantly learning. Like all aspects of communications, media is changing. Focusing on how media can become a route to market for our clients and be a tool for growth is exciting.
MII: Looking ahead, where might your career path lead to next?
J.M: It’s very hard to say. I am happy in my job and as we at Vizeum continue to evolve and expand our skillset, I think I will continue to be challenged. Vizeum is a progressive agency with big plans and I know I can both add a huge amount to those plans but also learn and develop my skills at the same time too.
MII: To whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role?
J.M: I have had great influences in my professional life and there are a number of women I admire within the industry. Karen Hand has always been a great advocate for planners and planning and has been a great mentor to me. I also greatly admire Emer Howard who has been instrumental in putting real creative planning back on the map.