At FeeSynergy’s recent BIG DAY IN for Accountants event attendees were treated to a thought provoking and high energy presentation by advertising and brand marketing guru Russel Howcroft. Russel is widely known for his appearances on ABC TV’s The Gruen Transfer. He has recently departed Network 10 to take up a new role as Chief Creative Officer at PwC.
FS: Russel, you have had a stellar career in marketing and advertising over some 25 years. How did you get into this field and what have been some of your proudest achievements?
RH: After a week’s work experience at McCann Erickson I was asked if I would like to stay, so I did and from that point I saw myself as being extremely fortunate to have fallen in to the ad business. Winning business, winning awards and growing clients and agencies has always been highly rewarding but in terms of proudest achievement, it’s probably when colleagues succeed.
FS: You must have met some inspirational people along the way who have helped shape your own thinking.
RH: Yes, the ad business in London and New York is full of clever, creative, energised people. I love the culture of ideas. Ideas people of all shapes and sizes are the key shapers for me.
FS: The Gruen Transfer has been one of the ABC’s most successful shows ever and made you and Todd Sampson household names. To what do you attribute the show’s success?
RH: Wil Anderson is the key to the show. He is highly talented, extremely clever and has the killer dose of cynicism (important) and creative appreciation. His skill is the key to allowing Todd, myself and the other guests to express ourselves comfortably in our field of expertise.
FS: Tell us about your new role as PwC’s Chief Creative Officer.
RH: It’s exciting that PwC has seen the need to pursue the commercial power of creativity. We are all seeking top line growth and creativity and its execution via various media channels has always been a core growth driver. Appointing a CCO is a powerful signal that creativity in business matters.
FS: The accounting industry is not renowned for its creativity. How can firms stand out in the crowd and build more value in their brand?
RH: as discussed at your recent BIG DAY IN event, there are some very simple things service providers can do to stand out. And it’s most basic; it is all about the packaging. Seeking out ways to look, feel and sound different can have a profoundly positive affect. How you look can actually drive differentiation.