She’s been behind some of the country’s most creative—and creatively awarded—marketing campaigns, but after four years with the embattled Yellow Pages Group, business transformation director and former marketing director Kellie Nathan has decided it’s time for a change.
“Yes, I am looking for a new permanent marketing role, although I’m happily entering the world of marketing consultancy from Monday 2 July,” she said in an email. “I’ve had four fantastic years at Yellow, and I’ve learnt a lot. Now I’m looking forward to finding a new opportunity.”
Nathan was the former head of communications and brand at Telecom and also worked as a category marketing manager at Frucor, before joining Yellow in 2008 just after Telecom sold its directory division for $2.24 billion). She has held her current role for around one year and it’s thought she will not be replaced.
Yellow won a whole heap of creative awards during Nathan’s tenure, including Cannes metal and a Yellow D&AD pencil for Yellow Treehouse and pretty much everything at the 2011 CAANZ Axis awards for Yellow Chocolate, and while such awards are certainly nice for any company to win, many felt they were slightly hollow victories because the company was in such serious financial trouble and was struggling to adapt to life in a post-Google age.
For some the classic quip ‘nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising’ seemed to be at play because, as Yellow executives have openly admitted, the online directory didn’t really work. But the counter to all the criticism was ‘well, things would be worse if we didn’t do anything’ and, according to Colenso’s creative effectiveness award entry from 2011, the attention-grabbing campaigns helped Yellow “outperform the category by a factor of five”.
Like the difficult mission Fairfax is currently undertaking in Australia, Yellow has resolved to move away from its reliance on print and become more digital (also like Fairfax, it decided to cut 20 percent of its staff earlier this year). Recent innovations aimed at upping its digital offerings to SMES, such as Yellow Toolbox and Yellow Local have shown that this leopard is trying to change its spots (although not everyone’s impressed with some of those changes). And since new chief executive Scott Pomeroy has started, the company has started reselling Google Adwords (one of Google’s weaknesses is its lack of sales force on the ground and access to SMEs and the same reseller arrangement is in play with Yellow’s equivalent in Australia, Sensis).