James Hier claims that a big contributor to the secret of his success is that he’s irritating.
“I’m never satisfied with where we are, or what we have. There’s always more to do, more opportunity to be tapped. It’s a restlessness that can be exhausting and revitalizing at the same time, and so requires highly resilient peers and team members. So if you do a random survey poll of the people that work with me, will they say he’s an innovator? Probably not. Maybe, an agitator.”
James Hier has been stirring things up for a long time. Today he leads MEC Australia's strategy, Analytics and Insight teams, and is passionate about neuroscience. This year, he championed a world-first neuroscience study on the disruptive behavior of social TV.
According to Hier, “There were three reasons that no-one had researched the effect of social TV. Firstly, the ad industry’s reluctance to commit hard-earned dollars to bespoke research. Secondly, conventional wisdom held that the distraction of the second screen was detrimental to the first, so what more did we need to know? Lastly, the only way engagement can be measured is with neuro science.”
The problem Hier faced was there had never been a large-scale neuro study done on live TV before. Anywhere. Ever. He explains: “To get this research, kicking and screaming, across the line we had to refit a neuroscience facility to our specs and create a new methodology for analyzing neuro output. However, the reward for our blood, sweat and tears was the extraordinary finding that there is a neurological pattern to social TV interaction.”
(And the pay-back for this innovative initiative has been global recognition as he June ARF/Advertising Research Foundation annual conference, themed “Measuring The Unmeasured.”)
Prior to MEC, Hier describes his background as having “the privilege to see the world consulting for the Unilever Marketing Academy and SABMiller for six years. I rolled out integrated brand communications programs for both companies and parachuted into markets to solve brand problems ‘live.’” He admits that his years consulting globally have taught him audacity.
He adds, “I have trained or facilitated over 2,200 marketers across the 26 countries, and have the world’s largest collection of hotel toiletries. I can speak Unilever English fluently. And my taste in shirts causes offence in all markets.”