Young Guns: Wavemaker strategy manager Rebecca Drummond

7 February 2019
Rebecca Drummond

Our Young Guns profile takes a weekly look at some of the young talent across the advertising, ad tech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles, people and companies across the buzzing industry.

Today we speak to Wavemaker strategy manager Rebecca Drummond. 

How did you get here?
I love a good story. In whatever medium it is carried in, if the story is there, I’ve already called shotgun on front row seats. 

In my final year at school, I realised my love for stories was the result of a greater passion. It was about a drive to connect with people. In search for a career diverse enough that would allow me to create, innovate, and tell stories, I was steered into the advertising world and have been addicted ever since.

Who’s your right-hand person?
My right-hand counterpart is Marco, we’ve progressed and side-stepped across Wavemaker from buying roles, to planning roles and in to strategy together. More importantly, we’ve developed a working relationship that encourages each other, bounces ideas and pushes the other to stretch our thinking further.

Best thing about the industry you work in:
The ever-evolving landscape of the media industry is what drew me in. The realisation that I can make an impact on how people make decisions by using the right contact points, in the right cultural context and with the right content, is what keeps me here.

And the biggest challenge?
The ever-evolving landscape of the media industry. Media is incredibly fast-paced, and in my short amount of time in it, it seems we are constantly at a tipping point. This gives media agencies an ongoing challenge to learn, digest and simplify news and offerings quickly to clients and prospects. As a result, this can leave little time to focus on solutions that deliver innovation and creativity in media, technology and content for clients.

Define your job in one word:

What were your real and cliché expectations of working in the industry?
There were two things that I was consistently told to expect when I started my studies: It’s the most competitive industry to get in to, and stay in and that it will pretty much be like one big episode of Mad Men.

How does the reality match up?
Thankfully, those “know-all sources” were about as accurate as a piece of celebrity gossip.

In reality, we are in a competitive industry, but usually that side comes out mostly during award season, or for new business. From a peer-to-peer perspective, I have always felt driven by making great work alongside great people, and it’s in environments where team members bounce ideas off each other that I thrive most. So in reality, our industry is more collaborative than competitive.

As for being one big episode of Mad Men, other than the Draper-like theatrics that come out in big presentations, and maybe the Friday afternoon glass of wine sitting on the desk, I just don’t see it.

How would you describe what the company does and what does your role involve?
Wavemaker’s focus is to provide innovative solutions for our clients by understanding how and why consumers make decisions about the brands and services they buy, and the influence of different touchpoints on those decisions.

As a strategist, my role is to help clients identify opportunities to connect and convert consumers along the purchase journey, and deliver innovative solutions that will unlock business growth.

Any major hard learnings in the job so far?
That success isn’t just about winning an award, or pitch, or final result. I’ve learnt that success is quite often about trying something different, pushing boundaries and being okay with failure.

If you had to switch over to another department, which would it be?
I’d have a go in the conversion rate optimisation team. Using science and psychology to understand what prompts website users to take actions is really interesting. Tweaks as minor as a simple colour change, move of a button and font size can have a completely different result, and most of the time these decisions are unconscious to the user.

What’s exciting you about the industry right now?
Despite the headlines, being in the era of mergers is a really exciting time for adland. I think it gives us an opportunity to hit refresh, focus on differentiation in what we are offering, and combines the best of different sets of expertise.

Having been through a merger myself, I admit that it isn’t always painless, but the opportunities for growth that come as a result for both agency talent and clients make it an exciting process to be part of.

What concerns you about the industry and its future?
I constantly hear that people are an agency’s greatest asset. But with ongoing focus on quick wins and short-term business results, sometimes the talent that builds this industry can be forgotten.

Whose job have you set your sights on in the future?
Honestly, I’m not sure if it’s been invented yet. As long as I’m in a role that is able to continue to create, innovate, and tell stories – I’m future ready.

Where do you turn for inspiration?
With data-driven decisions becoming more prevalent, I’ve learnt that obsessing over numbers and metrics can sometimes be blinding to what is happening in culture, what micro-moments are driving conversation, and what is igniting greater movements.

To find the right balance of data and real-world insight, I’m constantly searching for inspiration and learning from everything around me. An article, a video, a conversation, a trip out of the city… everything.

My favourite advert is?
I love ads that find new and interesting ways to intercept and hijack something that is already in existence. T-Mobile “Magenta Unleashed” is a brilliant example of using technology to create a completely new channel… from a colour.

In five years’ time I'll be:
Continuing to navigate my way through a new tipping point in the changing media landscape.

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