Introducing Taryn Atkinson, client services director at Neonormal and graduate of our IPA Campaign Planning 2016 course. She reveals her career goals and inspiration, and why she continues to look up to Campaign Planning chair and UM chief strategy officer Sophie Price.

TCC: How long have you been in the industry and in your current role?

TA: I’ve been in various creative and communication roles for almost a decade. I started in my current role about a week ago!

TCC: What is the best thing about your job and being in the industry?

TA: There’s so many things I love about my job! If I had to choose the very best thing, it would be that moment when your client looks you in the eye and tells you that, after all the late nights, the moments when you thought you’d never crack the brief, the tears…your team has completely nailed it, and then watching as the work that you’ve laboured over delivers a tangible impact on their business.

And it really is an exciting time to be in the industry. At Neonormal we always talk about change being the only constant, a fact which I find makes every day simultaneously terrifying and exhilarating!

TCC: What made you want to get into the industry?

TA: Influence. I’ve always been fascinated with studying how we can influence human behavior through communication, design, and experience… being involved in shaping the future of our world, even in small ways is something that motivates me.  

TCC: What was your degree in?

TA: Communication Design. I started in graphic design/creative roles and then shifted across into client service, as I really wanted to be involved in the broader process – from the strategic development of a brief to the reporting and analytics at the conclusion.

TCC: What are your wider career goals?

TA: I’ve always had a one step at a time approach to my career, which has been working well so far! My philosophy is that you should work hard and faithfully where you are, make sure you’re always in a place where you’re being challenged, have a clear focus on learning and new opportunities will find you!

TCC: Who do you look up to in the industry?

TA: Sophie Price was the chair of the IPA Campaign Planning course that I took in 2016. Aside from her extremely impressive professional credentials, she had so much enthusiasm for the industry, a clear vision for how collaboration and creativity have the potential to bring about change and was brilliant at inspiring others to step up and make the industry something we’re all proud to be a part of.

TCC: What are your main sources of career inspiration?

TA: I love going to talks and lectures. I find that it’s such a good practice to get out of the office, away from your routine and desk and actually spend an hour or two with a clear focus and intention towards learning. All too often I think we consume information on blogs or websites whilst flicking between emails and running in and out of meetings. The consequence is that we struggle to retain the information, we have ‘source amnesia’ as to where it came from, and most detrimentally we don’t give ourselves any time to actually reflect on what we’ve read in order to integrate it into our practice.

TCC: What motivates you on both a daily basis and to keep striving towards your goals?

TA: I am very motivated by results. Seeing positive changes, improvements, efficiencies, or personal breakthroughs are all really motivating for me and probably help me to keep focused on bigger picture goals.

I also have a few sticky notes that live on my computer screen that help to look beyond my to-do list and remind me more of the type of person/employee that I am striving to become: “Have courage and be all in; Always make time to be kind”, etc.

TCC: What made you want to do the IPA Campaign Planning course?

TA: I was keen to get some more tools into my belt. Learn new ways to organise my thinking, to tackle a problem or to find an insight. I was very keen to have visibility on how other complementary agencies approached campaign planning to help inform and improve our own planning methodology. 

TCC: How would you describe it in a nutshell?

TA: Expanding. It challenged me to think beyond my own specialisation and experience, to think beyond a channel or an idea and to approach every brief with not only the business objectives in mind, but also with a real focus on the end-user / audience.   

TCC: What was the best thing about it?

TA: Whilst there was an avalanche of diverse information that was downloaded to us, there were some common themes that came through across all the speakers. I walked away with a real clarity around what our primary purpose is as client partners – to identify their real problems and answer them in a way that offers a clear and honorable value exchange for all involved.

TCC: What was the number one thing you were able to apply in your day to day work?

TA: Confidence. In a world that is moving so quickly, there are very few experts. We’re all trying to keep up, to innovate, to be ahead of the curve. I realised that rather than having to be ‘good’ at everything or know about every aspect of a campaign eco-system, I just need to be really good at listening, at observing, at identifying problems and then finding and working with the right people to solve them. Most good ideas are risky, so take a test-learn-adapt approach and just go out and do courageous work!

TCC: What is your favourite project/campaign you’ve worked on to date?

TA: I really enjoyed working with Renault on their 2017 Formula One Grand Prix Campaign. We worked with them across their full brand experience, from inviting and hosting their most loyal customers in a curated VIP area, to working with their global team on a VR experience for the general admission area, to creating 360 content for social and filming the F1 team drivers in a staff engagement piece. It was rewarding to be involved in a project that took a holistic brand experience approach and the campaign was also just recognised by Renault France as an example of Global Best Practice!

TCC: What’s your passion outside of work?

TA: I’m involved in the Melbourne chapter of an organisation called Good for Nothing. We are a bunch of passionate people who donate their creative, tech, digital and communications skills for good. We run one-day hackathon type events where people donate their time to accelerate the impact of local social enterprises and change-makers. Our first two gigs have been wildly successful and we’re looking at hosting another gig later in 2017. It’s truly humbling and a privilege to see so many talented people give up their weekends to bring positive change to the world.