Meet the leadership team driving Hardie Grant Media forward

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With decades of experience across marketing, media and publishing, these leaders are driving change within our business and delivering results for our clients.

Sophie Al-Bassam

We’ve expanded, we’ve matured, we’ve changed.

In the last five years, Hardie Grant Media has evolved significantly, and we’re excited about how that can help our clients. We’ve doubled down on our strengths and complemented them with new skills.

We now offer a content and storytelling-driven approach to marketing, delivered by our agency network, including PR agency, video production business SHERPA, and the newly created content studio Heads & Tales. There’s also a growth and performance marketing agency to be announced in a few months. Let’s meet the leadership team who are driving the new Hardie Grant Media.

Nick Hardie-Grant, group managing director, Hardie Grant Media

Nick Hardie Grant

Nick has been at Hardie Grant Media for five years and excels at the business side of marketing. He describes his role as ensuring the team is setup to deliver results for clients, and making sure they’re having a good experience at the same time.

You’ve called the company’s recent changes a “complete overhaul”. How did these changes come about?

We made a conscious decision to rebuild our offering from the ground up; to stay ahead of the times and create something we knew our clients were looking for.

What hasn’t changed at Hardie Grant Media?

Culture has always been a big point of difference. That independent, family feel is important to us and our clients definitely see that in the way we work. We’re down to earth, practical, real – and importantly are driven by client results not shareholders.

And as we broadened our offering it was important to remain true to our strengths which are storytelling, ideas, strategy and creativity.

How would you describe what the Hardie Grant Media network offers clients?

We understand the power of content in not just telling nice brand stories and adding to the “real marketing” work, but in growing and engaging audiences and actually influencing business outcomes.

With that in mind we’ve built a network of skills suited to today’s modern, content-driven marketer. Those are the skills any brand will need to grow, engage and influence audiences through storytelling.

These will vary per client, so we’ve created a network of specialists across the core teams of content, PR, video and digital. From there we build a single client team from across our agencies based on what we think will deliver the best ROI for our clients. 

How does our approach influence the way we work with clients?

No client team is the same and no response is the same. We spend a lot of time upfront in strategy, creative and defining client success to put forward something that we think will deliver the best results for that specific brief, not a recommendation to work with our most profitable offering. One day I’m helping our team on a health-focused influencer launch campaign, the next a high-end TVC shoot at SHERPA, then a data-driven membership and commercial strategy at Heads & Tales.

Kate Thompson, strategy and innovation director at Hardie Grant Media

Kate Thompson

Kate works across all Hardie Grant Media agencies to lead strategic planning. She has a strong background in marketing strategy and campaign management and is all about seeing the bigger picture and how things interact and connect. She has been in the industry for 15 years and at Hardie Grant Media for nearly six years.

How would you describe what the Hardie Grant Media network offers clients?

We help brands be more culturally relevant so they can grow, engage and influence audiences and deliver distinctive and memorable brand experiences across their owned media platforms – and beyond.

Our secret sauce is storytelling and community building which stems from our publishing roots.

How do we get the best from each other?

We’re highly collaborative that’s for sure. Each agency exists to play a very specific role, with deep expertise about their craft, so we respect each other’s strengths and lean on them as and when we need to.

Why do you think this network model works?

This model works because clients want to minimise the time they spend driving agencies, deliver efficiencies, ensure brand consistency and generating results. Working with a partner that can adapt and grow with you is a pretty compelling idea, I think. And I enjoy working in this environment because it’s impossible to get bored and I’m constantly focused on what’s next.

What do you think is different about the Hardie Grant Media way of working?

What’s different at Hardie Grant Media is that we’re not just a holding company and a bunch of agencies who otherwise operate independently and try to pass off a united offering; we’re genuinely building a business that has the ability to deliver end-to-end, provides a central contact to clients, and offers up highly specialised talent who work together under the one roof.

Scott Elmslie, account director, Hardie Grant Media

Scott Elmslie

As account director, Scott is the connection between our client’s marketing team, their internal stakeholders and the internal teams that will deliver on the client’s requirements. One of his key talents is squeezing every last cent out of a budget to make it work as hard as possible for our clients. He’s got an impressive 23 years in the industry and been at Hardie Grant Media for five years.

How do the Hardie Grant Media agencies get the best from each other?

Everyone across the network is passionate about what they do, extremely experienced and very collaborative. No one is precious and everyone is driven by providing the client the best way to grow, engage and influence their audience.

We also all have a shared understanding that the audience comes first and that it comes down to what’s the best story to tell and then what’s the best way to tell it.

Why do you think the network model works?

It works because you get access to a roster of specialist agencies that can provide a wide and varied range of services through one dedicated point of contact who truly understands your business. For me, getting to work with such a talented bunch of individuals every day ensures every day is an opportunity to learn something new.

What do you think is different about the Hardie Grant Media way of working?

For a client having that centralised single point of contact through the account services team ensures your business is represented in every conversation we have. There is no controlling agency who are trying to take the biggest slice of the budget for themselves.

Instead, you're going to get a bespoke offering that fits your requirements which will always result in better outcomes.

Clare Brundle, managing director, Heads & Tales

Clare Brundle

Clare has worked with Hardie Grant for a decade, and recently moved from being deputy MD of Hardie Grant Media to managing director of Heads & Tales, our new content agency.

She’s known for her killer gut instinct, with more than 20 years of experience in three continents informing her ability to “just know” what might work best for a client.

How would you describe what the HGM network offers clients?

A one-stop shop for a modern marketer seeking an agency who can provide a diverse range of specialist services – from regular blog content through to an overarching content marketing strategy or paid media campaign.

How do the agencies work together?

For any of our fully integrated communication accounts, our agencies work through the client success team led by Nick Hardie Grant, Kate Thompson and Scott Elmslie.

They’re responsible for assembling the right people for the job from across the company and ensuring everyone is briefed properly from the outset. In other cases, when the account “belongs” to an individual agency, the lead agency’s director will help oversee the project and set the scope to ensure everyone’s delivering what’s expected.

We’re fortunate to have a very strong company culture that permeates every part of the Hardie Grant business, and our shared integrity and ambition to be best in class means teamwork comes naturally.

Why do you think this network model works?

This model works by offering a single point of contact to a host of specialists as well as scale-able efficiencies. I love working in this environment alongside colleagues who come from different disciplines and bring different ways of thinking to me. Diversity of thought and talent is so important.

Stacey McArdle, director,

Stacey McArdle

Stacey has been with Hardie Grant for two years and “loved every minute of it”. As the director of our public relations agency, she’s a master at media relations. She has experience across a wide breadth of clients and industries.

How do the Hardie Grant Media agencies work together?

Teamwork and supporting each other is deeply embedded within the culture of the Hardie Grant Media network – one team, one dream. We work together seamlessly to ensure best practice is implemented, this is evident in the work that we produce and the positive client experience.

Why do you think this model works and how do you enjoy working in this environment?

This model essentially allows clients to have access to a large-scale agency with the client service of a smaller agency – it is the best of both worlds. I love that we can offer clients a solution to any brief.

What do you think is different about the Hardie Grant Media way of working?

At Hardie Grant Media we aren’t just one specialist agency, we are a network of specialist agencies. This model ensures that there is nothing that we can’t deliver for our clients. I think that that really sets us apart. We have strong company values and ethics and this translates into the work that we do.

Natalie Taylor, executive producer, SHERPA

Natalie Taylor

Natalie Taylor came on board to run creative production agency SHERPA during COVID-19. In the last few months she feels like her role has blossomed, with a new team, new opportunities and more collaboration between the other agencies at Hardie Grant Media. She has been in film and advertising for 25 years and is incredible at building trust with clients – essential for delivering quality video content.

How do the agencies work together?

By staying connected the whole network is very supportive and encouraging of continually keeping involved in each other’s worlds with regular catch ups and encouraging internal communications. We are aware of each other all the time so I might ask various specialists their input so we can boost our own capabilities and get the best for our clients.

Why do you think the network model works?

We are very agile on the way teams are put together. With small teams you can be very effective with a lot of the communication that can get lost in other companies. It’s more time effective and cost effective for our clients because you avoid long processes and extra handling.

What do you think is different about the Hardie Grant Media way of working?

For me personally I am really boldened by the female led nature of the business. As a woman in advertising and film, which are predominantly very male, I appreciate the support we have for each other.

I also see a real passion and interest in making this an inclusive environment. When I started Fiona Hardie gave an acknowledgment to country at the start of a meeting and for a lot of people that’s ticking a box. She genuinely meant to honour the people of this land. That’s backed up with our Reconciliation Action Plan too.

For more information about what we do or how we can help your business, contact Nick today.

Sophie Al-Bassam, senior managing editor, Hardie Grant Media.

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