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A Day in the Life of... Kyla O'Kelly, Board Director at Javelin

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 15 March 2017
Updated: Tuesday 14 March 2017

Kyla O'Kelly Javelin

The Marketing Institute: What does a Board Director at Javelin do? 

Kyla O’Kelly: My role is a very varied one.  Javelin is a wholly Irish-owned,  full service, Creative and Media Agency delivering strategy and planning, advertising, digital and data-led marketing creative and media solutions for some of Ireland’s busiest brands. I directly lead some key accounts and work closely with our strategic planners and client teams to ensure we are delivering the best solutions to the business challenges our clients face. I love innovation and learning and try as much as possible to get involved with our client’s NPD and really relish trying to find new ways of meeting tough commercial and brand goals. I manage the direct and data led marketing side of our business here also.  Finally as a Board member I’m part of the team defining the direction we want the agency to take and ensuring we have the best talent possible to get us there.


MII: What were your key career moves to get to your current role? 

Kyla: I did a 12 week internship in Javelin as part of a Marketing Diploma straight after a degree in Trinity. I then moved to Brussels and started my professional career with a traineeship programme in the Communications area of the European Commission, followed by working in a public affairs lobbying event organisation. It was a junior Communications officer role, and the company I was with grew rapidly in the time I was there - it was a brilliant few years of learning in a fast moving environment and I was lucky to be allowed lots of freedom and responsibility. At the same time in Dublin, Javelin was also growing, and they offered me an interesting role to move back, working with a really inspirational boss..she however decided to go and travel after a short time and I gradually moved into her role and then onto the Javelin board a couple of years later. 


MII: What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

Kyla: It changes regularly. Today, ensuring we place an adequate value on the work we do for our clients and as a result get remunerated for the collective thinking that goes into defining and then delivering the right strategy and work. The second is around finding and keeping the right people - the smart, passionate & interesting ones are in finite supply.   


MII: What key skills do you need to be effective in your role?

Kyla: Experience is really important at this point in this role understanding what’s possible in  any major project or campaign challenge and how to aim to avoid any pitfalls from the outset. An open mind. Diplomacy and negotiating when required and always having a clear point of view on any issue at hand. Personally being able to admit I’m wrong and correct the course to someone else’s more informed better view is an important attribute. People management and (receiving and giving) mentoring are also really important.    


MII: Describe a typical working day.

Kyla: A typical working day is a combination of Javelin and home life intersecting (with 2 kids it’s inevitable that it does). There’s the usual tap dancing in the mornings to get them out to school and then on to meetings or my desk – I like the mornings and now there’s a hint of sunshine creeping in that helps too. In Javelin we have work in progress meetings twice a week typically that traffic our work and creative time – we are structured but not so rigid that plans don’t change through the week so those meeting are important. We have clients here in Ireland and globally – so client meetings are done in lots of different ways - face to face of course but increasingly also video calls help shortcut constant email ping pong as campaigns progress. I love writing as part of my role, whether initial approaches to campaign thoughts, or campaign overviews or submissions so will often disappear into a room at the agency, as we work open plan in an old stone warehouse in Smithfield and the debating can get heated. Listening to new ideas, and seeing great work makes me smile and there’s nothing better than presenting something you both like creatively  and believe strategically will have a great impact and thankfully that’s regularly part of my day at the office. I have gone back to school recently and am doing the Marketing Institute's Exec Diploma in Digital Strategy at night so that takes up part of my week now. I’m also on the Board of a Charity, “Dress for Success Dublin”, we work to help women that need our support most to get in to the workforce with Career guidance and mentoring/HR help, CV development and interview prep and techniques and we also then suit them for their interview and beyond, so in a given week I could have a board meeting there too.         

MII: What do you love most about your role?

Kyla: I like the fact that this world is a mix of commerce, art and science. Our ambition is to deliver ideas, work, that can change our clients’ business so there is a major commercial side of the role and I love seeing the impact our work can have. The art is of course the incredible creative craft. And then science - I have always been a huge user of data – pre and post campaign and can spend hours digging through reports and research for usable bits in our thinking or to set off a new direction.  


MII: Looking ahead, where might your career path lead to next?

Kyla: To continue and grow in senior management at Board level. This year Javelin is 30 and I’ll be working on a project where we will mentor and give our talented output to 3 Irish start-ups to give something back of our collective experience in here through the year - so that’s all kicking off now and is exciting and new. I will keep working in the NFP sector giving as much time as I can there too.   


MII: To whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role?

Kyla: There are many specific names of people that have helped me grow in my role, but more usefully; anyone that has an ability to look laterally at a problem and have an open and generous mind to solve it creatively. The clients and colleagues who get and respect the work we do and guide, praise or critique fairly and where possible politely. Anyone who has an ability to pick themselves up following a fall, whether professional or personal  and start again. Any full time working mum holding all the bits together.  


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A Day in the Life of... Steven Roberts, Head of Marketing at Griffith College

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Tuesday 7 March 2017
Updated: Monday 6 March 2017

Stephen Roberts Griffith College

The Marketing Institute: What were your key career moves to get to your current role?

Steven Roberts: My first marketing role was with Heritage Island, marketing some of Ireland’s leading visitor attractions. During my time there I was promoted to marketing manager and then director. In 2007, I moved to Tourism Ireland as marketing manager for the Nordic Region, promoting the island of Ireland across Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland. From there I took up a role as Tourism Ireland’s strategy development manager, managing the organisation’s strategy unit. For the past five years I have been head of marketing for Griffith College, Ireland’s largest private third level institution with campuses in Dublin, Cork and Limerick. I oversee all marketing and promotional activity for the College in the UK and Ireland.


MII: What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

S.R: One of our key audiences is Leaving Cert students who are considering their college course choices. Given the pace of change within digital and social media, a key challenge is ensuring the College understands their journey as consumers and that we are using the best channels to reach what is a very digitally-savvy target market.


MII: What key skills do you need to be effective in your role?

S.R: Good analytical and strategic skills are key to the role. Being comfortable with research and having a deep understanding of branding and positioning. A willingness to learn and to keep innovating are important to ensure the College’s brand, our campaigns and promotional activity remain impactful and compelling. Managing a busy team of 15, strong interpersonal and people skills are key too, as is the ability to build good relationships with a wide variety of internal and external stakeholders.


MII: Describe a typical working day.

S.R: My working day is very varied as I oversee the College’s marketing, PR, digital and social media teams. Communication is key in the role and I have frequent meetings with internal and external stakeholders. This could range from a morning meeting with a faculty to discuss the launch of a new part-time or postgraduate programme, to a strategy and planning session with our web, advertising or brand agencies for an upcoming campaign or project roll-out. The College has three campuses nationally – in Dublin, Cork and Limerick. I am based in our Dublin campus but regularly travel to our Munster campuses to work with the marketing leads in each team.


MII: What do you love most about your role?

S.R: Marketing is fast paced and ideas driven. Seeing a campaign move from the initial idea phase to live in market is very rewarding. The variety of the role – digital, PR, brand, advertising - keeps you on your toes. Griffith College has a strong reputation educationally and values a good work life balance. There are always new and interesting projects on the horizon – for example, 31st March will see Griffith hold its first TEDx event at our Dublin campus. I am also very fortunate to work with a great team.


MII: Looking ahead, where might your career path lead to next?

S.R: My working life up to now has been in heritage, tourism and education. For me it is important to continue to work in sectors which I feel have real and inherent value. In terms of skillsets, I am keen to further develop my digital marketing skills given the pace of change in that area. There is also a real need for marketers to upskill across all aspects of data. This ranges from understanding and working with data analytics, through keeping abreast of the latest data protection legislation such as EU GDPR, which is being introduced in May 2018 and will have significant impact for all marketing professionals.


MII: To whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role?

S.R: I follow a range of blogs and podcasts for inspiration and to keep up to speed with changes within the industry. I particularly like Mark Ritson’s weekly column with Marketing Week and am a long-time fan of Seth Godin. Cialdini’s Influence is one of my favourite marketing books and one I return to regularly. As a manager, I find the Manager Tools podcasts to be both practical and insightful. I have also learned a lot from the line managers who I have worked with during my career.


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Amplifying Experiential Through Digital and Global Trends

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Monday 6 March 2017


At a recent MII event on Amplifying Experiential, Gemma Bell from Diageo and John Kilcullen from Verve discussed how they operated a complete refresh of the Guinness Cork Jazz festival.

For 2016 the marketing brief was Bigger and Better, and the Diageo and Verve teams decided to “put the jazz back into jazz”.

How did they do it?

The branding was completely changed, with a new look & feel online and on ads all around the city. Each venue was provided with bespoke artwork for their social media.

The Verve team spent the weekend in Cork to post and share a rich stream of content throughout the festival. They used social media heavily including Facebook (particularly Events and Facebook Live), Instagram and Twitter.


Check out the presentation slides to learn more:

For presentation notes, view deck on



In the second part of the evening, John Kilcullen shared his expertise on how to amplify experiential through digital and global trends. 

Watch John’s presentation to see examples of brands that have nailed experiential:

For presentation notes, view deck on


Photos from the event

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February 2017 Media & Marketing Review

Posted By Carat, Monday 6 March 2017
Updated: Monday 6 March 2017

Here's a look back on the media and marketing news over the last month.


Google Shopping Ads

Update: Advertisers will now be able to feature dynamic product ads that are shown in search result pages.

What it means for marketers: This will allow shoppers to find products quickly and easily, and will also enable brands to attract more potential buyers. Brands will be able to control the information of their products so customers can find the products that are relevant to what they are searching for. Product ads go directly to specific product page meaning the conversion rate can be quite high.

Relevancy / Availability: Now available in Ireland.


More News About Snapchat Ads

Update: Snap is testing features in Snap Ads — video ads inserted between Stories or on Discover — that make it easier for advertisers to meet their targets when it comes to direct sales, app downloads and user sign-ups.

Through deep-linking, advertisers can take Snapchat users out of the Snapchat app and directly into any other app if the user has it downloaded on their device.

An auto-fill feature also allows auto completion of form sign-ups for advertisers. The ad can pull in any information users have already granted to Snapchat (name, phone number, email address and birthday).

Snap Inc. added partners to its Ads and Custom Audience Match APIs in late Jan and introduced a new API category for Creative. It also did something marketers have been wanting for for a while: letting them license Ad Partners' tech for self-serve buys.

What it means for marketers: The update lets buyers license partner technology and manage those buys in-house.

Relevancy / Availability: Article and additional information available below. Still unavailable in Ireland.

More info here and here.



Facebook Custom Profile Frames

Update:  Facebook has introduced a new Camera Effects Platform which allows all users to create custom frames for their photos and videos. Users can create custom frames with their favorite graphic design software and then import them as a PNG file as long as they adhere to FB policy and terms (nothing offensive or illegal). Users will be able to create “location frames” that are exclusive to specific geo locations (landmarks, restaurants, etc.).

What it means for marketers:  Facebook’s Camera Effects Platform and in-app camera, is competing with Snapchat’s filters, geofilters, and lenses, again trying to recapture a portion of the market that more heavily uses Snapchat than Facebook. Functionality is also being built to track frame usage which will help marketers once the option is released globally.

Relevancy / Availability:  Launching in Ireland, the U.K, Colombia, Mexico and Taiwan.

More info here.



2016 Out of Home Stats

The stats from 2016 have been collected and according to PML Group, the Irish Out of Home (OOH) market saw strong growth. In PML’s published results, the market grew by 7% in 2016 with particularly strong growth in the first half of the year. While Q3 was sluggish, according to PML, the market picked up considerably in the final quarter.

According to the Posterwatch report, there was no single factor behind this improvement but rather a combination of more advertisers, increased investment by existing advertisers and added advertising opportunities. Digital formats are becoming increasingly attractive to advertisers and the clear majority of new OOH panels are digital screens.


Exterion Media Joins IAB

Exterion Media Ireland has announced that it has joined the Internet Advertising Bureau Ireland. Exterion is one of the market leaders in the Irish outdoor advertising market and the move is representative of the increased presence of digital panels in the outdoor market. The move is part of Exterion Media’s strategy to develop its digital infrastructure.

In joining IAB Ireland, Exterion Media will use and share its significant databank of insights into audience behaviours, in particular digital OOH, to promote better use of the digital channel and promote best practice within the industry. Membership of IAB Ireland will enable the company’s teams to gain a deeper understanding of the digital landscape by participating in training and events.

Suzanne McElligott, CEO of IAB Ireland, welcomed Exterion Media to membership of IAB Ireland saying, “We are delighted to have a company from the digital outdoor space collaborating within IAB membership to help advertisers best understand the new opportunities that are driving growth in digital OOH in the Irish market and across the globe”.

Source: PML Group &



Research into Press Effectiveness

Recent research carried out by Ignite Research and Amárach shows the effectiveness of print advertising across major economic sectors.



IRS+, under the banner of its new brand, Radio Factory, and in a joint initiative with Mediastar (the media analysis tool), has created an Ireland-first product that will transform how media buyers plan radio campaigns.

IRS+ have invested heavily in using existing data and adding real value and effectiveness to overall radio planning by creating the Radio Factory Optimizer. The Radio Factory App will allow you to consider your audience, analyse your reach and frequency, manipulate your budget and investigate your CPT - all at the touch of a button. 


Subtle Rebrand for Today FM


Today FM has a new website, new app and a refreshed logo now in use.

The new look was unveiled last week, which removes the oval shape surrounding the station name, and the frequency of 100 102 has also disappeared.

The font is similar to the old one, uppercase TODAY followed by the traditional lowercase fm, and includes the five lines signifying rays of sunshine. New logos have also been made for News, Sport and Music features.

It’s the first rebrand for the station since it launched in March 1997 and follows a recent schedule shuffle to include Dermot and Dave in the mornings and the addition of Al Porter at midday.


Homeless Radiothon Returns to Nova

Radio NOVA’s Help Our Homeless Radiothon is returning to the station for the third year in a row on Wednesday 8th & Thursday 9th March.

The station has raised almost €100,000 over the last two years in its annual pledge drive, which sees celebrities from across the entertainment, music and political spectrum lend their support live on-air. This year, all funds raised will be donated to Peter McVerry Trust.

Nova’s annual Radiothon is a listener-focused event, with donations received from people of all walks of life, from children donating their pocket money to businesses donating the takings of their day’s trading. Last year, the station received donations from as far afield as China, the USA and The Netherlands.


Movers and Shakers in Radio


Newstalk has announced that Ivan Yates will return to the airwaves this spring with a new, agenda-setting, two-hour show. Commenting on his new show, Ivan told Chris O’Donoghue on Newstalk Drive:

"It's the usual eclectic mix of politics - which I'm a great expert on - business, and it's going to have lots of sport as well as plenty of self-deprecating humour"


Q102 Make Changes

All change on Q102 mornings in Dublin as Liam Coburn moves to breakfast and TV3’s Martin King joins for mid-mornings.

Liam has been with the News Corp station since 2004, hosting a number of shows across the schedule, but now makes a move to breakfast following the departure of Dave Harrington. Dave is off to Tipp FM to become Programme Director.


Al Porter Fills Dermot & Dave’s Slot

Al Porter is the new lunchtime show presenter on Today FM.

News of his appointment was broadcast live on-air and on Facebook Live during Dermot & Dave’s new morning show when Al was in the studio talking to the duo.

A comedian, presenter, singer, writer and actor, Al is the youngest comedian ever to headline Dublin’s Vicar Street in 2015 with his stand up and live band. He has just completed his 2016 comedy tour of Ireland, Al Porter at Large: The Honeymoon Tour, including sold out nights in Dublin’s Vicar Street and Cork Opera House.



TV Viewership Stats, Jan/Feb

TV impacts in January saw all key audiences down on last year. Housekeepers with Children (HW+CH) is down 5% on 2016, with Adults 15-34 and Adults 25-44 down about 15% and 10% respectively. All adults are down just under 5%.

RTÉ have performed quite well on HW+CH, coming in at +2%, while seeing a dip in the other key demographics with Ads and Ads 25-44 at -4% and -7% respectively. This may have to do with how the 6 Nations fixtures fell this year, with Ireland playing two away games against Scotland and Italy.  Some other key programming in January and February included the new drama Striking Out which did over 100k for HW+CH and over 500k for Ads, and Dancing with the Stars which averaged almost 600k for Ads. First Dates Ireland also returned to the air and had a strong performance, breaking into the top 10 programmes for Ads 15-34 in February.

TV3’s best performance lay with Ads 25-44, with impacts down -4% on last year. They launched their female-oriented channel Be3 in place of UTV, with all the soaps returning to TV3. TV3 will remain the flagship station, with 3e becoming the entertainment channel, including shows like Graham Norton and I’m a Celebrity. The soaps and Champions League coverage really brought in the viewers for them in January and February, with the Round of 16 match last week between Manchester City and Monaco pulling in 229k adults.

Sky Media continued the downward trend, particularly on Ads 15-34 which took nearly a 19% dip on last year’s figures. This decline in young viewers, however, is following the industry trend. Sky maintain to pull in decent numbers for live football, with some games doing over 100k, however live sport as a whole is suffering from declining viewing figures. On Sky Sports live Premier League games, we have seen an almost 19% decrease in viewing year on year.  

C4 had a disappointing month, their stand out programmes being Meet the Trumps which pulled in 74k adults in January, and Location, Location, Location in February which did an average of about 40k against adults. Otherwise not much to note.

UTV went against the grain and saw an increase in each key audience and impacts across the board. Across the young audience (Ads 15-34 & Ads 25-44), they were up almost 10%.

The C4 Ulster decline has continued, although at a slower pace than 2016 v 2015. Not a great performance all round with Ads down -10% and Ads 15-34 down -21%.



TV3 See Audience Growth of 26% in January 2017, Report Shows

(Laura Brennan, Irish Film and Television Network, 13th Feb 2017)

Despite TV3’s impacts being down across all audiences, their share of viewing has increased significantly in January.

In particular, the group’s flagship channel TV3 recorded a 26% increase in share of viewing. The source for the report is TAM/ Nielsen January 2016/2017 All Day Channel SOV, Adults15+.

Commenting on the performance, Bill Malone, TV3 Group Director of Programming, said: “Giving viewers more choice is central to our three channel strategy. We are delighted with our performance to date.”

In the same time period, RTE 1 has seen a +1% increase in Share of Viewing and RTE 2 is up +9%. TG4 is down -7%.

As exclusive home to ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ in January, 3e grew its share of viewing in the month by 53% from 2.53% to 3.88% and outperformed RTÉ 2 share of viewing for under 45’s on 16 out of 31 days in January.

Launched on January 9th, TV3 Group’s newest channel be3 recorded a 2.6% share of viewing for the month, making it the 6th most watched channel in the country after RTE1, TV3, RTE2, BBC1 and 3e. The share of viewing for the channel was 67% higher than TG4 and 79% higher than Channel 4.


RTÉ Has ‘Serious Competitor’ in Virgin Media as TV Ad Market Heats Up

(Laura Slattery, Irish Times, 22nd Feb 2017)

In another article in the Irish Times this week, the rise of TV3 Group is discussed.

Virgin Media Solutions, the sales arm of Virgin-owned TV3 Group, can now compete with RTÉ on scale for the first time.
TV3 was the biggest channel in January with the industry’s “housekeepers with kids” audience category, in terms of its share of “commercial impacts” – a measure of how many times television advertisements are viewed. Its share of the advertising market exceeds its share of viewer ratings because it is permitted by the regulator to show an average of 12 minutes of ads per hour, compared to an average of six minutes per hour on RTÉ.



Pinterest’s Promoted Pins Arrive in Ireland as the Platform Launches New Visual Discovery Tools


Pinterest could well be the go-to platform for Irish advertisers and businesses in 2017. It recently announced that Promoted Pins will be available in Ireland, immediately. The Promoted Pins will enable companies to enhance their presence on the platform further, allowing them to align their brands, products and services to boards that are of interest to their customer.          

Hot on the heels of this, was the news that Pinterest is also adding new Visual Discovery Tools to the platform. Lens, Shop the Look and Instant Ideas will have three very specific roles within the platform, but what is clear is that coupled together they signal Pinterest’s long term intent to harness its ecommerce ties, building upon its Promoted Pins revenue stream.

Lens, using a simple point & click idea, works by using a person’s phone camera to suggest similar objects or items on the Pinterest platform, a more practical version of the failed Google Glass.

Shop the Look does exactly what it says on the tin, and is the most explicit in terms of Pinterest signalling its long term ecommerce intent. Brands such as Macy’s and Target in the United States are already on board and we can expect to see the offering rolled out globally in the coming 18 months.  For now, the tool will sit solely within the fashion and homes pins, and works by having users tap blue pins attached to any items they see, to call up those specific items or similar.

Instant Ideas will be of interest to those seeking creative inspiration. See a board that tickles your fancy? Tap a circle to see similar boards and concepts that will be of interest. Sounds rather straight forward. But where the tool comes into its own, is in its suggestions; rather than the platform simply offering up related items it will offer alternatives, recipes ideas, kitchen ideas. Moving the user away from simply finding an alternative to something as mundane as an apple sitting on a counter top, to new apple recipes, kitchen countertops or kitchen refurb ideas. The premise here being that the users will discover and explore more within the platform as it looks beyond the initial subject of the board.

It’s clear that Pinterest views Promoted Pins as its bread and butter for now but will build upon this through ecommerce and increased user dwell time thanks to its various Visual Discovery Tools.

More info here.

This article was originally published on


Carat Ireland, part of the world's leading independent media planning & buying agency and the market-leader in digital and non-traditional media solutions. Owned by global media group Aegis Group plc, listed on the London stock exchange, the Carat network is more than 5,000 people in 70 countries worldwide. 

Today, advances in digital technology and changing consumer behaviour has created an era of unprecedented complexity and opportunity for clients. Media is now an ecosystem that includes bought, owned and earned communications. In this new era, Carat is leading and shaping the industry once again, using media in new ways to deliver business value to clients.


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A Day in the Life of... Judy Hopkins, Partner at Hopkins Communications

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 22 February 2017

judy hopkins

Partner at Hopkins Communications, an independent fully integrated marketing communications agency with offices in Cork, Limerick and Dublin, Judy heads up the marketing, PR, events, promotions and online department while also working across the advertising, graphic design and print departments. Celebrating over 27 years in business Hopkins Communications’ clients include local and national organisations ranging from SME's, to festivals and events, state bodies and large multinationals. Their award winning core team of 18 full time employees work in conjunction with over 50 part-time promotional staff, partner companies and contract workers. They cover all aspects of campaign development from idea generation to creative, media relations, project planning, management and evaluation.

The Marketing Institute: What were your key career moves to get to your current role?

 Judy Hopkins: After completing my numerous third level studies and working in the IT industry in a Corporate Sales and Marketing role, I felt the need to expand on my marketing experience, especially in the online arena.  Australia was synonymous with being 4 or 5 years ahead of Ireland in this area and so I headed off to work for Australia’s largest Digital Media Agency at the time (OneDigital). On my return I went in-house to a Sales and Marketing role at SensL – a high-tech spin-off from UCC.  After a number of years there, I finally felt it was time to join the family businesses, bringing my own expertise to the table and since then I have been growing the online, PR, events and promotions department and am now partner at Hopkins Communications.

MII: What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

J.H: Energy levels! The PR and marketing world, especially when it is your name over the door, is a 24/7 business.  We all work very hard morning, noon and night on our own client accounts, client events and then of course networking.  Voluntary roles are another aspect of my professional career and as voluntary Chair of the Marketing Institute Cork it is like having a second job, but boy do I love it! So the biggest challenge I have really is keeping the energy levels up to be able to deliver on all aspects of the aforementioned and keep the best foot forward. I love it all so it really helps. After that it is getting the life/work balance right – It’s a work in progress!

MII: What key skills do you need to be effective in your role?

J.H: Organisation, creativity, understanding and an outgoing personality are essential. You need to have a thick skin while also being a people person – there’s no point in being in the marketing and communications industry if you don’t interact well with people, or shy away from interacting in social settings. People buy people at the end of the day. And finally, always be thinking of the bottom line – we have a tendancy to over service our clients’ accounts because we care about their reputation as well as our own, but you really need to think – are we busy or busy fools!

MII: Describe a typical working day.

J.H: No two days are the same in the world of marketing communications , especially in an agency, but here it goes. As soon as I get in to the office I check my emails, social media channels (ours and our clients) and deal with any pressing issues that have come in since I went to bed the night before. It could then be a case of anything from putting a proposal or tender together, brainstorming creative campaign ideas, to going to a client meetings..  Or the team and I could be doing a photoshoot, video,pitching a client story to the media, doing a press drop or putting a marketing plan together and booking in  ads. It is so varied that there is nothing typical about it really! Because we offer all of the marketing services under one roof, I could have my advertising hat on one day, my social media hat another, or even my PR hat and creative design hat on within minutes of each other! Then there’s the operations side of the business, the financials, the billing, the planning and anything else that comes with being a Partner in the agency.  Staff meetings are crucial too, we hold a meeting twice a week – one at the start to see what’s on the agenda for the week and then another towards the end of the week to see what has been completed and what’s next. It’s a great way to keep the team on the same page and ensure everyone knows what’s going on with what clients. After all we are in the world of communications!


MII: What do you love most about your role?

J.H: People. Our people, our clients, the media, our business contacts.  People are so important to us, starting with our 18-strong core team and our 50+ part-time promotional staff, who I can honestly say are the best team we have had in our 27 years in business (and my business partner Mark and our founder Mary would agree).  Our clients, well what can I say, obviously we wouldn’t be in business if it weren’t for them – they are not just our clients though, they are our friends and we respect each other.  The media are our currency really if you think about it, without them we could not deliver to the extent we do for our clients, so keeping up strong relationships with them is imperative to our success. Finally, our business contacts, as my mother (our founder) always says – it’s all about who you know – if you are ever stuck, your fellow business owners will have your back, just like you would theirs.

MII: Looking ahead, where might your career path lead to next?

J.H: The only way is up, baby! We are doing great at the moment but Mark (my business Partner) and I have some exciting plans for the future. However, the key really is to keep moving with the times, just like we have always done.  When Mary set the business up in 1990, it was an outdoor advertising agency with electronic signs in Dublin, Belfast, Limerick and Cork, then she expanded in to the land of PR and events.  Following that, when my brother Mark joined the company he expanded us further into the outdoor world i.e. buses, billboards, adshels etc. and he built up the graphic design, print and promotions offering.  When I joined, I introduced our digital offering from website design and development, SEO, social media set up and management and the online advertising offering (while expanding the PR, events and promotions side of the business). Already we are seeing some emerging trends,which we are testing - their longevity and return on investment in these offerings. So watch this space – we are always forward thinking but with the bottom line for the client (and ourselves) in mind.   


MII: To whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role?

J.H: Mary the mother of course! My mother is my ultimate role model, she worked so hard all our life and was always an inspiration to me.  She knows everyone and they all speak so highly of her.  She knows our business inside and out and is always at the end of the phone to give us the historical on things or advise us on our forward-thinking ways. According to some recent research I heard at a family business event, the average life cycle of a business in Ireland is 24 years – we are in business over 27 years, so that in itself is testament to Mum. She is one in a million.

Aside from Mary, I am always of the thinking that noone is an expert at anything so we are constantly listening to our business contacts who are in similar or even different industries to ourselves – be it at meetings or networking events. We retrain and upskill, go to informative events (such as the Marketing Institute Events) and watch webinars to ensure that we are in the know as much as we can be, to deliver on client campaigns and our own overall business goals.  On that note, the next MII Cork event is the Futuristic Marketing Ball, on April 1st at The Clayton Hotel Silversprings and early bird tickets are on sale until 28th February at This event is one of Cork’s biggest and best networking events of the year so not to be missed. #MiiCorkBall17




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