Chief Strategy Officer, MediaCom UK
Sue is MediaCom UK’s secret weapon and the brains behind the agency’s rise from bit part player to No 1 and Agency of the Decade in this market. (That’s a £950m increase in billings since she joined the company in 1990 in the UK alone.) Dubbed the “Grand Dame of Media Planning” and “Empress of Media” by UK industry watchers, she is also the responsible for many of the tools and thinking that lie behind MediaCom’s dramatic global growth. In the last decade she has not only devised Real World Communication – the agency’s global planning system – but also devised MediaCom Beyond Advertising – the content division that is now being rolled out globally.
The tools she has developed have played a crucial role in helping MediaCom secure additional business from the likes of Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola as well as pushing the network from No 7 in the global RECMA rankings to No 3. These achievements are in addition to her previous contributions to MediaCom’s global thinking, including the introduction of people management system Communications Dynamics – originally launched in the UK in 1995 – and as part of the team behind the invention and global introduction of target audience planning tool Method Insight in 2010.
This year she co-authored Tell the Truth with marketing consultant Jonathan Salem Baskin, a book that focuses on the need for all brands to identify and communicate their essential truth in an age when consumers can discover anything and everything about a company or organization. This delivers a thought leadership perspective for all clients and the industry in general to navigate the new media age. The book has been endorsed and reviewed not only by notable advertising gurus like Sir Martin Sorrell, Al Ries, Seth Godin and Joseph Jaffe but also on Sky News Australia, CNN and in Ad Age and Campaign, among others. In keeping with Sue’s day-to-day work on the real problems faced by real brands, it is also filled actionable insights and changes that can make a difference today. She is running an international competition for business students around the world to ensure that marketing schools take account of current best practice in the industry, based on the thinking in the book (details at www.tellthetruthbook.com).
Sue is behind MediaCom’s conviction that we are living in the Age of Dialogue – the fourth age of communications – bringing unprecedented challenges that require all brand messages to be innovative and accountable. This requires every media person within the organisation to take a view about how to grow client’s brands, not just to write media plans.
Sue has worked at MediaCom and its predecessor The Media Business since 1990 – she is part of a core team that has helped the agency grow billings from £44m to more than £1bn in the UK alone.
Anyone who has watched Mad Men will recall the lowly status of the media guy; ignored, abused and mocked. No one has done more than Sue to propel media planning to its rightful place at the top table of marketing and communications.
Sue blogs at sue.unerman.com and at mediaweek.co.uk