Page 49 - Adnews Magazine May-June 2021
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                   containment and all the measures that you could possibly take to make sure the business was as robust as it could be.
“But the other side of that was communication strategy, which I felt was interesting, given that people had said to me that strategists don't really make decisive decisions. They're a bit too ponderous. And they don’t make the tough calls.”
Along the way some staff were asked if they would be prepared to take a voluntary pay cut to ensure others could stay.
“We asked them one-on-one so it wasn't an awkward public conversa- tion,” she says. “We asked anyone over a certain salary level, whether or not they were in a position to take a voluntary cut and I think 95% of people who were asked were willing to do that because it was a very clear strategy which was to protect and preserve as many jobs as we possibly can.
“It's not an opportunity to get rid of people, it's not an opportunity to restructure. The business is in good shape, we have incredible talent. Let's try and do everything we can do to keep as many of those people's jobs as safe as we possibly can for as long as we possibly can.
“And the conversation about voluntary salary sacrifice was somewhat easier because everybody bought into the fact that we were doing this for the collective good.”
Those who took 10% pay cuts were repaid in December. “That's prob- ably one of the greatest outcomes of the success we've had this year — the ability to do that,” says Hewitt.
“And the gratitude of people, because they didn't expect us to be able to do that, and they weren't sitting there feeling resentful about it because they knew it saved a lot of people's jobs.
“That was one of the highlights of the year was when I was able to say, because of everyone's extraordinary effort, because of everyone's focus on keeping their clients as buoyant as they can be through this awful set of circumstances, because people have made sacrifices, because we have had an incredible run on new business, because we've got a proposition
From left: In the Spark Foundry office; Spark Foundry Sydney Christmas, Imogen Hewitt’s family.
that I think is really powerful in terms of where we landed with analytics and strategy at the core of decision making.”
Spark Foundry ended the 2020 calendar year on top of the new business league for media agen- cies in Australia, as measured by consultancy R3. Wins in 2020 include Westpac, Clarins, Ancestry and Silversea Cruises. Other clients include Campbell Arnott's, NRMA, HCF, RAMS, TAL, Ateco and Hello Fresh.
Hewitt is proud and delighted by the result. When asked (as she is constantly) how she did that, she replies she had all the right ingredients on her side.
“The first thing to acknowledge is that I inherited a business that had some incredible people and talent already doing great work,” she says.
“I feel like I came in and was abletoputabowontopofsome really strong fundamentals.
“Before the pandemic came into play, one of the first things we had collectively decided we needed to do was have a think about what was the vision for the agency. | May/June 2021 49

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