Recently appointed Planning Director at Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, Brigitte Bayard recognises the importance of innovation and effectiveness in brand strategy, and has helped clients take ideas to market with a view to long-term brand health. This week, The Comms Council chats to the AdSchool presenter about the upcoming Core Strategic Planning course, the evolving marketing landscape, her path to success and the biggest lessons she’s learned along the way.

TCC: You are co-presenting the AdSchool Core Strategic Planning course in Melbourne from April 9. What can students expect from you and the course?

The course involves eight weeks of gaining skills, building knowledge and deepening your understanding in areas that you will use for the rest of your career. I undertook this course when I first started in strategy and to this day, I still draw upon much of what I learnt.

Importantly, it’ll all happen in an environment where you can comfortably ask questions, meet new peers and mentors, have interesting discussions, as well as have some fun in the process.

TCC: Why should junior marketers take this course? What will they take away from it?

The content in this course doesn’t only apply to people working in agencies. All of the topics covered are the kinds of subjects that agencies and clients discuss every day. The better equipped we all are in these core skills, the better partnerships will be established between agencies and clients and ultimately, the better the work will be for it.

TCC: What are some of the ways you are adapting brand strategy for the ever-changing digital world?

The fundamentals of brand strategy haven’t really changed, despite the opportunities that the digital world can provide. We still need to know who our audience is and what motivates them, we still need to know what our brand stands for and the role it has in our audience’s lives and we still need to have clearly defined objectives for the brand.

If anything, placing emphasis on the fundamentals has become more important as I think too often we can become distracted by exciting changes in the digital world, without having established the brand strategy upfront. Only when the fundamentals are in place, can we make informed decisions about how we can leverage digital opportunities.

TCC: Why is it important to consider brand health, both in the long-term and in the short-term?

IPA evidence has proven that we need to strike the right balance between long-term brand building activity and short-term sales activations. This ensures that we can achieve both sustained growth for the brand, as well as hit the inevitable short-term targets.

Given that many of us, both agency and client side, are measured on short-term KPIs, it can be a challenge to think long term and set long-term objectives. So it’s not surprising that the research also shows that in most cases, the balance is way off – with far too many brands only focusing on short-term activity and short-term results.

When it comes to considering your brand’s health, the difficulty is that long-term and short-term effects work on different timelines, are measured in different ways and are achieved via different communications strategies. Looking only at a brand’s results over a shorter period of time and using short-term metrics, won’t help provide understanding of the effect of any brand building activity in market, nor will it help with truly understanding the brand’s health.

There will always be short-term results that need to be monitored, but to effectively grow a brand, we have to define objectives and set measurement frameworks that have a long-term view.

TCC: Have you always worked agency side?

Yes, since university I have always worked in ‘Ad Land’. I graduated with a double degree in Arts (Psychology/English) and Business at Monash University, and had always hoped I’d be able to move into a strategy role in an advertising agency.

I really put all my eggs in one basket as I only applied for one graduate role, which was the Communications Council Graduate Program. Fortunately, the gamble paid off and I was lucky enough to secure a graduate position at AJF Partnership where I stayed for 6 years.

TCC: What do you wish you knew then that you know now?

That everything will always be ok.
I think when you start in advertising or marketing you can often feel very vulnerable. Day-to-day events in the office can quickly feel like the end of the world, but as long as we collaborate and ask for help when we need it, things will always work out. That feeling of vulnerability doesn’t really go away even as you become more senior, but having been in many situations that felt very overwhelming at the time, I now always try to remind myself that it will all work out, because it always has.