Initiative Australia tops the world in the RECMA rankings

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 12 November 2021
Melissa Fein

Initiative Australia has topped the world among media agencies, according to the RECMA,  the global research company that evaluates performance based on 18 criteria.

The local agency was placed ahead of MediaCom in South Africa and UM in Canada. 

A little more than three years ago, Initiative was ranked 27th, in Australia. 

Melissa Fein, CEO Initiative  Australia: “Our ambition has always been to be the most revered agency in the country, so to get this recognition internationally is truly remarkable. 

“This acknowledgment belongs to the 178 Initiative Citizens across the country who have worked tirelessly for the last three years to create the agency we all believed we could be.”

Consultancy R3 lists Initiative's recent account wins as Gulf Western Oil, Insurance Australia Group, Afterpay and Quest

AdNews asked Melissa Fein to reveal her secret to growth.

“To come from 27th, and ranked somewhere down the bottom of the world, to number one, you need energy, grit, determination and an entrepreneurial spirit,’ she says.

“It starts with bringing in one great energised person and that becomes contagious, infectious.

“Sam Geer (the MD) brought a few people in. I started bringing a few people in and we made sure that they were all cut from a very similar cloth.

“We didn't care about their experience, their age, where they came from, what they'd been doing before, as long as they had that energy and entrepreneurial spirit ... we can do this together attitude.

“We're a competitive bunch and that's been a part of the interview process. How competitive you are and share some of those stories. 

“It's just been pure grit and determination. There's no secret recipe but I'd say bringing in the right people is the answer."

Sam Geer: You have to really know who you are as an agency. It was a real moment when we figured out that we don't need to change and pretend that we're this for one client and something else for another.

“We know who we are, a really well-defined brand. And if clients want to come and work with that, then come and work with us. And if you don't we’re okay with that. You see too much of it out there, these chameleons of brands and agencies who want to be everything to everyone.”

What next? The leadership team is going offsite next week to plan out the next 12 months to two years. 

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