Australia – culturevating growth

I wanted to know how the culture differs between Australia and the UK, and the impact that has on running an agency.

I had arranged to meet Dan Kalinski. As current Managing Director of iProspect Australia – one of the market’s fastest growing agencies, and as former Head of Reprise Media in the UK, he seemed the ideal man for the job.

Dan Kalinski

“The growth potential is huge” begins Dan “We’ve grown from 18 people to 55 people in the last 2 years, and we’re forecast to grow to 70 by the end of the year.”

According to Dan, collaboration is pretty key to this. Agency structures in Australia tend to be pretty flat, so visibility is greater throughout the agency and more voices are heard. “It’s a feedback culture” he adds – this applies to clients too, it seems. Clients respect a direct approach from agency partners – it’s less fluffy, more pragmatic. It gets things done.

Agencies in Australia tend to be more nimble and smaller teams often mean that integration is a little easier too. The upside to the smaller spends is smaller risk, which means this is a great market for innovation. As Sam mentioned, Australia boasts one of the highest mobile penetrations in the market and is considered something of a market leader to this extent.

According to Dan, the difference between the UK and Australian working culture is largely positive. “The business culture is certainly more dynamic” he says, positioning it as somewhere between the UK market and the US. “It’s different from the US though, it’s less about status here” says Dan.

Relationships count here. Business decisions are typically on a long term basis and there’s more sensitivity over client conflict than perhaps exists in the UK.

For Dan, a lot of the challenges are the same as in the UK – taking steps to avoid commoditising PPC (as discussed with Stuart last week), adding more transparency and more value into trading desks, generating quality content in real time for SEO (as discussed with David). There’s still some work to do before Australia is up to speed on the data and analytics front – this is still an evangelical piece for the agency in the case of most clients.

Then there’s staffing. Dan predicts that a large number of the company growth will be powered by hires from the UK or elsewhere abroad. The pool’s just not sufficient to cope with the demand over here at the moment, “I think we’ll catch up in the next two years” he adds as a close.

Well, you heard it from the top – get over here while you can.