Industry Profile: 1000heads relationships director Lena Habkouk

14 April 2020

Our Industry Profile takes a look at some of the professionals working across the advertising, ad tech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the buzzing industry.

This week we speak to 1000heads relationships director Lena Habkouk.

Time at the company:
Nine and a half years. I was the second person to join 1000heads in Australia.

How would you describe what the company does?
We help brands to be more social (on and offline); to talk to people and be talked about by people.

What do you do day-to-day?
I’m responsible for building relationships with our clients, stakeholders, influencers and brand advocates - so most of my day is meetings, emails and phone calls. After a catch up with my team to discuss deliverables for each day, I generally spend my time working on campaign strategies, reviewing work and liaising with clients, prospects and influencers. I also crack the numbers to ensure budgets are on track and campaign KPIs are being met. I often travel in my role and get to attend amazing events for brands we work with like Google, Moet Hennessey, UNIQLO and Lenovo.

Define your job in one word:

I got into marketing etc because:
I always wanted to work in marketing. I love how fast paced the industry is, the variety, being involved in innovative campaigns, attending events and I love working with people. When I was about three or four my parents used to record TV commercials for me and I would watch them all the time - I loved the music and the magic. So I guess the industry was calling me from a very young age.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?
The misconceptions about influencer marketing: there are many myths about what it is and how best to collaborate with influencers. Brands sometimes forget that influencers are people and they aren’t like other media channels. The purpose of collaborating with influential people is to stimulate genuine and authentic conversations and it’s our job to educate and inspire people to want to really want to be a part of a campaign.

What’s the biggest industry-wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?
Pigeonholing agencies and the standardised division of budgets into traditional media channels. We need more innovation budgets and more marketers thinking about how best to solve a problem rather than trying to make things fit into an allocated budget or channel. Clients should challenge their agencies to be more creative when it comes to the marketing mix and utilising different channels.

Previous industry related companies you have worked at:
I began my career at Essilor Australia (an optical lens manufacturer) where I learnt a lot about B2B marketing. I spent a large portion of my career at Danné Montague King as the global marketing manager where I was responsible for a team that supported over 30 countries. Over the years I led countless campaigns, spearheaded a global rebrand, created a new product division, and initiated the launch of a full-service marketing agency underneath their parent brand. In 2011 I started at 1000heads, but I’ve been working with influencers since 2006, long before it was a standalone role or division - they were called bloggers, or just people back then! Early on I recognised the importance of these experts and their connection to consumers, and I’m passionate about collaboration.

Notable campaigns you have worked on:
Google: I currently head up the Google #teampixel community, where we work with passionate influencers to create Pixel-centric experiences to inspire brand love.

BBC World Changing Ideas Summit: This event was completely produced by 1000heads and brought together top minds from around the world for a day of talks and thoughts about ideas changing the world right now, and ideas that will change the world tomorrow.

Who has been a great mentor to you and why?
Two people that inspire me are: Kevin Roberts – author of Lovemarks and former CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi. I read his book years ago and it changed the way I think about marketing. Also, Emma Isaacs – founder and global CEO of Business Chicks. She is the ultimate super woman. Her rise to success came with a lot of hard work and I love how down to earth and real she is.

Words of advice for someone wanting a job like yours?
Put your hand up and make sure you are being heard. Don’t always wait for someone to ask you what you think, share your ideas and be proactive. You can’t always go under the radar so acknowledge and be proud of your work.

Also, and it may seem simple - work hard and do the right thing.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:
Travelling the world as a food vlogger while writing a cookbook.

My mantra is:
Never assume that others think the way you do. Especially when developing strategies - use data, use insights. Just because you have certain buying habits, doesn’t mean everyone else does. Don’t project what you like onto what you think your audience likes.

My favourite advert is:
There are too many. The Mattel campaign where Ken and Barbie broke up in 2004 and then got back together in 2011. I loved that the brand got the community involved, and everyone loves good storytelling. Share a Coke is also brilliant - it one of the first major campaigns that really embraced personalisation. I love that it was an Australian born campaign.

Music and TV streaming habits. What do you subscribe to?
Spotify, Netflix, Audible, Foxtel and Stan.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
I can play the piano.

In five years' time I'll be:
Continuing to do what I love.

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