Industry Profile: Taylor Svarc at OMD

By AdNews | 24 October 2023

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.

Taylor Svarc: group head of transformation at OMD Melbourne and Brisbane

Time in current role:

Over two years.

How would you describe what the company does?

OMD is the world’s largest media agency and for good reason. We are focused on future proofing our clients’ businesses through innovative, strategic and omni-channel media. This is enabled by data and technology, powered by trusted partnerships, and grounded in customer experience to ultimately unlock incremental business growth. And we have a lot of fun while we are doing it!

What do I do day to day?

The Transformation team at OMD is focused on addressing the increase in media and technology sophistication, consumer expectations and complexity of the landscape. We support our clients, people and partners as they navigate these changes to deliver business value through the utilisation of data and technology.

Every day is different, which is my favourite part of the job. Some days, I am working directly with clients to discuss the massive changes going on in our industry and what that means for their businesses. Other days, I am working with my fellow Transformation leads to evolve our product toolkit and ensure it is fit to purpose for our clients and our people. I read a lot, I talk to the wider industry, and I spend a lot of time working with the really smart people at OMD and across the OMG network to ensure our product and approach is cutting edge.

Define your job in one word:

Change (seeker, manager, enabler).

I got into my industry because:

I was looking for a job out of college in California in 2007 (not ideal with the whole GFC) when a very good friend and mentor from my sorority (Kappa Kappa Gamma!) took me under her wing. Moving from LA, I followed her to UM in San Francisco and found a career I didn’t even know I wanted. It didn’t take me long to realise I was in it for the long haul. I started out primarily in digital media planning and never left. I love solving problems, (controlled) chaos, learning new things and people. It was a match made in digital heaven!

What’s the biggest industry wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?

I think one major challenge is how hard it is to make space for innovation, curiosity and questioning beyond our day-to-day. There are certain hot topics that are everywhere right now like AI, privacy, retail media (just to name just a few) and when it comes to the many articles, podcasts, panels and presentations out in the world, it can often feel very similar. Our industry was formed out of creativity and innovative ideas; I think there is a huge opportunity for a new wave of creativity that considers these topics alongside a unique use of data and technology to create some incredible experiences, campaigns and POVs.

At OMD, we created our Transformation team to be responsible for igniting this thinking through our agency and for our clients. The team is passionate and knowledgeable about these hot topics and able to break them down to ensure everyone understands what they are and what the impact is in their simplest form, always bringing a strong and unique POV through the lens of data and technology.

Previous companies:

Carat, UM, Coles, The Lumery.

Notable campaigns/initiatives:

Just last month, I brought to life a five-part series for OMD that we coined the ‘Month of AI’. Our goal was to demystify AI and give our agency the knowledge and context of why AI is everywhere. We included sessions on AI’s impact on marketing, invited media partners and clients to share their journeys and opinions on AI, and looked into how OMD and the wider OMG network is utilising AI through our tools.

Who has been a great mentor to you and why?

I have had some great mentors in both my personal and professional life. I always want to improve and grow and prefer multiple opinions when it comes to many of life’s big decisions. This has led me to create my very own board of directors to support and challenge me. I am lucky to have these people on call, they push me to think differently and be better. A long-time staple of my board is my Dad. Dad is an entrepreneur and has lived many lives, so he is always my first call and final advisor.

Words of advice:

I have a few sayings on repeat with my team; ‘control what you can control’ and ‘progress over perfection’. These mantras particularly help me calm my personal perfectionism as well as help my team chunk down the big problems, projects and deadlines to deliver really good work.

If I wasn’t doing this for a living, I'd be:

I would be a life coach or therapist. I love to help people work through their challenges and make them think about things in an actionable and positive way.

My philosophy is:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not a goal, but a habit.”

My favourite advert is:

This is going to age me (and no one in Australia may know what I am talking about), but my favourite advert growing up was the Got Milk? campaign. I had my room wallpapered and had an obsession with collecting every single one of them. I still have the collection in my parent’s garage, along with my Beanie Babies and Spice Girls dolls.

Music and TV streaming habits. What do you subscribe to?

· Emails: The Weekly Widget, TLDR AI, The Martech Weekly, The Generalist.

· Podcasts: Diary of a CEO, Re: Thinking, How I Work, All-In, the Imperfects, Huberman Lab.

· Apps: Calm, Peloton, Morning!, Kindle.

In five years’ time, I'll be:

Still creating unique solutions, at scale, for businesses through the immense changes that are coming. And continuing to mentor and support the next generation in our industry to be better and happier… but let me ask my psychic and come back to you.

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