Loan Morris has started 27 Degrees Media, a media agency with a curious proposition - it simultaneously launched in both the Australian and French markets.
Although the Australian and French agencies are two separate entities, some services are shared, with the digital-focused media agency providing a full ecosystem of services covering the entire buyer cycle, as well as website development services including UX/UI, digital product development such as apps, plus booking systems, and e-commerce.
Morris, who has previously served as CEO of Impulse Screen Media as well as at ARN as commercial director, said France is a "cutthroat" industry.
"TikTok alone has 21 million active users in France - it's nearly the population of Australia," she said.
"You're dealing with a very regulated market. From a platform perspective - Google, Amazon, Facebook – and in an agency business, it's heavily regulated. On the flip side, the level of freedom that we have to operate here in Australia is insane; it's so freeing in a way."
Morris said that agencies operating in France have to deal with local complexities around taxes, hiring staff, HR, contractual agreements and legislation, as well as being ‘native’ with the language to get a true grip on the business environment.
"I love the Australian business culture. I love how friendly and open it is and I love that casual relationship that you can have straightaway whilst being trustworthy," she told AdNews.
"In France, there's a massive difference; there's a formal way of addressing people in the language and so the way to deal with people there is you formally address them and you have to ask permission to actually be casual."
Morris said that the market in Australia is "very, very advanced" in terms of the amount of platforms and technology that is available.
"France also has a strong positioning with technological development, especially related to digital marketing, however the country itself is a bit behind in terms of digitalisation of processes and admin," she said.
"Australia, because it's a young culture and a young country, is very advanced in doing things online and having, for the user, facilities in being able to operate and transact online. It's very buoyant - lots of opportunity, lots of choice and also lots of localised choice in platforms."
Morris said that the idea to start her own agency was many years in the making.
“I noticed a gap in the market after many years spent working in the industry, but more so when I left Australia, I realised that I was missing the industry," she said.
“I realised that I was missing the interaction with clients, I was missing the interaction with my team and I was missing having a purpose, which was to really make a difference in my clients’ businesses.”
Morris said one of the biggest advantages she sees for clients in 27 Degrees' offering is the ability for clients to deal with an Australian-based team for campaigns overseas and in Europe.
"We have a very deep knowledge of everything that's going on in Europe - GDPR, compliance, governance, trust," she told AdNews.
"If you’re based here and you're looking at expanding, we can help because this has been historically done by the holdcos who have a global footprint, so to have an independent based here that can provide you with all of the Intel and all of the insights that extend to Europe, that's a massive advantage."
Morris said she is keen to bring back a human element and a "professional" lightness to agency-client relationships.
"We're not saving lives, but we do take it very seriously, because we deal with our clients’ money and advertising budgets," she told AdNews.
"We are all in a way doing the same thing - we are putting ads on, we’re pushing the buttons on Google or Facebook - but the way you go about it, this transparency that you bring, the actual processes that you have in place, is something that we spent time and money developing."
Looking ahead to 2024, Morris said that both impending privacy regulations and geopolitical issues will serve as a challenge for all agencies.
"Global, geopolitical issues are touching everything and everybody which makes it really difficult, but I feel like Australia, while not immune to those worldwide issues and concerns, has a privileged place in the fact that we're quite isolated, we can watch it happen and then react," she said.
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