Late last year, StopPress gathered the industry for an evening of self-congratulation as we celebrated the work that made 2019 so great, as well as the moments that got lips moving. YoungShand ended the year receiving the coveted Group of Humans Award. Managing director Duncan Shand looks back on the year that was.
What were some highlights of 2019?
The highlights were definitely the work. We’ve always had a strong digital foundation but last year was all about combining brave, purposeful brand thinking with our digital expertise to help propel our client’s brands forward.
This came through in our work, from the ‘Quit for your pet’ campaign for Quitline, the NZ Blood Service ‘World’s Biggest Reserve Bench’ and the Blind & Low Vision NZ ‘AltTextForAll’ Movement. Each of these campaigns was grounded in a bold idea and planned across both traditional and digital channels.
The same integrated digital and brand thinking allowed us to drive more innovative web experiences, including the Alcohol and Me website that we created for Lion, which benefited from a healthy mix of brand and design experience thinking.
What were the biggest challenges of 2019?
The biggest challenge was keeping up with all the great work. For an agency of our current size (35 people), we developed a heck of a lot of big, integrated campaigns in 2019, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. And being smaller certainly has its benefits, allowing us to be agile and responsive while living our core value of collaboration, both internally and with our client partners. We have a great team who know how to hustle and are committed to bringing our unique way of working to life in everything we do (oops, that was another highlight).
What will we see from YoungShand in the next 12 months?
We’ve refined our model over the last 12 months. So the next 12 months are all about continuing to build on this foundation, with a commitment to innovation and work that’s unique and stands out from the crowd.
In addition to this, we’ll also be investing in further strengthening the media and data side of our offering. This will enable us to continue to use data to integrate and personalise communications to more efficiently connect with customers and drive a better ROI for our clients.
How many hires did you make in 2019?
Seven new people joined our team in 2019. Every hire we make is about increasing our talent pool across the agency, with each one enabling us to better service our existing clients. It is also critical that they are as excited about where the agency is going as we are.
Of those hires, three have created a real shift in the agency. At the beginning of the year, Anne Boothroyd joined Scott Maddox as joint Creative Director. Together, Anne and Scott have lifted the creative and production quality of our work this year.
At the end of the year, after a long search, we hired Claire Backhouse as our Strategy Director. Claire has returned from the UK with 10+ years agency and client experience across a wide variety of brands. She brings a balanced digital and brand strategy approach to the team.
Lastly, Nigel Sutton has joined us as Head of Production. Nigel will be integral in driving our integrated 360 production team and has a unique mix of experience that he brings to the table, giving us the right team to bring anything to market.
How many client wins did you have?
We had three significant client wins in 2019. We picked up the Hellers account for brand and media, Healtheries for digital media and website development, and Oceania Healthcare as a lead brand agency. The ‘Quit for your pets’ campaign for the Health Promotion Agency was also our first campaign after being appointed to the All of Government Panel.
How many champagne bottles were popped, and why?
There were so many reasons to celebrate – the work, the wins and the new hires. But just as importantly, there were the personal milestones – first houses, parenthood and promotions.
How many awards were won?
Last year was all about the work, so this year we hope to see this reflected in a few awards. Our favourite accolade, however, would have to be ‘Group of Humans of the Year’ from the Stoppies. It was recognition of the hard work put in by every member of our team. The global attention our ‘Quit for your pets’ campaign received was also another proud moment.
Biggest hope for YoungShand in 2020?
Our focus is on developing brave, innovative work that moves our client’s businesses forward into the new decade with momentum and purpose. If we can do more of that, we’ll be happy.