Industry Profile: Starcom national head of strategy and experience design Sally Christian

12 January 2021

Our Industry Profile takes a look at some of the professionals working across the advertising, adtech, 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 Starcom national head of strategy and experience design Sally Christian.

Time in current role/time at the company:
Two years in my current role, five years with the Publicis Groupe.

How would you describe what the company does?
We partner with clients to drive business growth through the creation of positive human experiences – Starcom calls this ‘People Powered Growth’.

What do you do day-to-day?
Solve puzzles.

Define your job in one word:

I got into advertising because:
Actually, by accident rather than design.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?
To design experiences that bring brands closer to people. To meet them on their terms we need an unvarnished view of what people really value and how they truly behave – not what we believe or want them to value. Uncovering that true insight is rarely simple.

What’s the biggest industry-wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?
As an industry we’ve developed a love affair with data, however our obsession sometimes holds us back. Research across our global network has highlighted that without data-driven evidence we’ve become more short-term focused and risk averse.
I’m not questioning the power data can hold, however believe we need more agile ways to use it to identify and quantify growth opportunities, reduce risk and empower bravery.

Previous industry related companies you have worked at:
News Corp, Telstra, Carat (UK), Global Radio (UK).

Who has been a great mentor to you and why?
A mentor for me is more of a private relationship. I know I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with some amazingly smart people who have inspired, guided and given me the freedom to grow. However, I also believe that you learn something from everyone you work with, and sometimes our greatest lessons come from the relationships we find the hardest.

Words of advice for someone wanting a job like yours?
Be curious, keep an open mind, invite opinion, listen well, ask why, gain a broad foundation and be patient, strategy tends to be a place you evolve into.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:
A florist.

My mantra is:
Life is not meant to be lived as a single page.

My favourite advert is:
I’m torn between Dove’s ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’, for recognising the importance of brand purpose and its grounding in genuine insight; and Oreo’s ‘Dunk in the dark’ tweet from the 2013 Super Bowl, which was a genius moment of real-time marketing.

Music and TV streaming habits. What do you subscribe to?
I subscribe to far more than I need. I’m currently watching season 4 of The Crown… I sort of don’t want to but can’t help myself.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
I’m qualified for the job I’d be doing if I wasn’t doing this for a living.

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