Perspective - A breakthrough year for a new agency

By Pippa Berlocher | 15 December 2023
Pippa Berlocher.

The AdNews end of year Perspectives, looking back at 2023 and forward to next year.

Pippa Berlocher, CEO EssenceMediacom Australia, on EssenceMediacom’s launch year and looking forward to 2024.

2023 has been a cracking year, one that can only be described as massive.

The year kicked off with a job offer to lead GroupM’s newest and largest agency, EssenceMediacom Australia. Accepting this offer certainly set the wheels in motion, both personally and professionally!

A year of many firsts

From a personal perspective, this involved relocating home after 20 years spent abroad. I first left Australian shores as an energetic 22-year-old ready to explore the world. Returning home as a family of five, including my Texan husband and three children, has resulted in a huge year for us all. One that’s been fast-paced and has involved a mixture of exciting firsts, with some challenges thrown in for good measure.

An exciting new agency proposition

From a professional standpoint, the launch of EssenceMediacom is what attracted me to the role. It’s an incredibly sexy proposition! You have the scale and strategy powerhouse of MediaCom joining forces with the digital, data and technology capability that sits at Essence’s core. To put these two together, to have the ability to support our clients full funnel, and to deliver breakthrough thinking for brands in the new communications economy, has been quite a unique and really exciting opportunity.

Working under Aimee Buchanan - CEO of GroupM ANZ - and being surrounded by phenomenally talented peers, both at GroupM and EssenceMediacom, has made the role all that more appealing. Not only do I feel very grateful for their expertise and support in 2023, but it makes me hugely excited for what’s to come in 2024.

An entrepreneurial approach

Growing up in Independents has resulted in my entrepreneurial spirit and passion for building businesses. I often describe EssenceMediacom Australia as a 550+ start up, where my role is to merge that culture of nimbleness and the ability to drive action, with the size and scale to truly deliver impact. To achieve this, progress over perfection has been the mantra to drive actionable change at pace.

Getting our house in order

For EssenceMediacom, 2023 was a year to get our house in order. Launching a new agency, and merging two very distinct cultures into one, meant directing our focus internally. Getting our people on board was a very important first step. The only way EssenceMediacom can be successful is by winning the hearts and minds of our 550+ Essentials. 2023 was very much about having everyone marching to the same beat, so we could collectively build the foundations that will set us up for future success.

Outside of our people, the focus has been on our clients and how we deliver excellence in client service through EssenceMediacom’s capability. We have got an incredible client roster, in my mind, the best in market, and ensuring those relationships and partnerships are stable and thriving has been a key priority.

What’s in store for 2024?

We’ve achieved a lot in our inaugural year and the eight months since I’ve started, but the reality is we are only kicking off our journey. Where 2023 was about building the right foundations, 2024 is the year for us to accelerate and build up those foundations.

What excites me most about moving into next year is expanding our market presence to drive growth. Of course, without losing our laser focus on our people and clients, which is ever green.

I’m also looking forward to some of the hot topics that will keep us passionate and engaged in 2024, such as:

  • Data and technology: To deliver marketing breakthroughs for clients, building the right capability and team is no longer a nice to have, it needs to be front and centre.
  • The ‘Year of Measurement’: We are seeing huge shifts in how media is being measured and clients genuinely want to understand true measurement across their media in market. Establishing the right structure for this will be critical.
  • Artificial Intelligence: although AI will undoubtedly revolutionise the way we do business, I feel we will be talking about ‘The year of AI’ for the next ten years. Although this might sound slightly controversial, the hype needs to die down so AI isn’t the only topic we are homing in on across the industry in 2024.
  • Wellbeing: as mentioned, we are nothing without our people. However, you only need to look at the world around us to know that, now more than ever, finding ways to improve the wellbeing of our industry’s talent is critically important. Resilience is a learned behaviour and supporting our people with the tools to help build resilience will be key to retaining talent industry-wide.

In reflection on the year that was, I’m optimistic about the direction we are heading in and the year ahead. After a well-deserved break, with time to rest, recharge reflect and connect with loved ones, we will certainly be ready for a great year. Bring on 2024!

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