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    dentsu QLD’s ‘potent and powerful’ culture: Chris Ernst and Emily Cook

    It’s been a year of growth and transformation for dentsu Queensland and its people, which managing director Chris Ernst credits to the agency’s journey of simplifying its business offering and employee proposition.

    “There’d probably be a keyring for the keys to that success,” Ernst joked.

    He explained to Mediaweek that the agency “created one emotional connection between one group of people to one business, which truly brought us together as a group of people.”

    Among its recent achievements, dentsu Queensland was the #1 agency in Queensland in Media NPS in the media i report, and has clocked up 30% headcount growth, continued revenue growth, client wins, and successful campaigns.

    A big part of this success, Ernst explained, has been creating a culture that has fostered the growth and development of its people. “Culture is a by-product of different inputs, behaviours, and commitments we make to each other,” Ernst said.

    “We’ve co-created a lot of that in this business. I think that has resulted in a great sense of ownership, psychological safety, and trust within the business.”

    Over the last 12 months, the agency has leaned into its Japanese heritage with Origami, a personal development program that focuses on the ‘whole person’ growth.

    This includes a clear vision for the agency, a transparent hiring process, investment in self-discovery, commitment to doing good for society, and empowerment of emerging leaders.

    General manager Emily Cook told Mediaweek: “We know that not everyone’s going to work with this organisation for their entire careers, and that’s okay. We want to make sure their time with us is the most transformative of their careers, and we can support that growth.”

    Cook called the Origami growth journey “potent and powerful” and said the agency’s “goal planning is anchored in our people first and foremost,” which leads to business outcomes and stronger and deeper connections with current clients.

    Origami has also enabled dentsu Queensland to focus on giving back to communities through its work with UnLtd., Deadly Science, and Share The Dignity.

    The growth program has fostered its leaders, three of whom are finalists in Mediaweek‘s upcoming Next of The Best Awards, to be held on 13 June at Sydney’s Ivy Ballroom.

    See also: Finalists revealed for Mediaweek’s Next of the Best Awards

    Ernst called it “an incredibly proud moment for dentsu Queensland. He applauded Cook, group strategy director Cameron Law, and strategic partnerships director Emilia Ball for their “well-deserved recognition”.

    Cook, who joined dentsu Queensland three years ago and was appointed general manager last year, said the “energy and potency of the agency’s people makes them stand out in the market.

    Ernst added that this reflected the agency’s shared feelings of trust, empowerment, courage, and bravery.

    Such energy has resulted in business success, the duo said, including winning Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) in late 2022.

    Ernst revealed that winning the TEQ tender was the “proudest moment of my time here.”

    “It was not in the pitch, but it was leaving because this place [the office] erupted as we left; everyone was cheering us on. And it didn’t matter what happened next, but we felt like we’d succeeded in what we’d set out to do.”

    See also: dentsu Queensland adds Tourism and Events QLD to client roster

    ‘Fiercely local’ and ‘proudly global’

    It’s a challenging economic climate, and a challenging time for the dentsu network in Australia. Recently, Dentsu Media CEO Danny Bass and Merkle CEO Steve Yurisich exited the business as it made 50 roles redundant, including vacancies, freelancing arrangements, and contracts.

    The restructure resulted in the creation of two streams: client counsel and commercial, and product and practices, led respectively by Fiona Johnston, formerly Bass’ direct report as chief client officer, and Kirsty Muddle, formerly Bass’ creative counterpart as Dentsu Creative CEO.

    Despite the disruption, Ernst said dentsu Queensland has been producing “some of the best work that I think we’ve ever done in terms of thinking, collaborating and connecting with clients, agency partners, and publishers to ensure we bring work to life that will deliver impact and growth.”

    Ernst added that the heightened focus on squeezing the most out of every opportunity has deepened dentsu’s partnerships.

    “Not to say that there isn’t [economic and marketing spend] pressure, because there is, but it’s created opportunities for great work, which we’ve seen in this business over the last 12 months.”

    That work includes campaigns like Brisbane Favours the Bold for the Brisbane Economic Development Agency and Experience Gold Coast.

    Ernst said both campaigns were top examples of creative and media collaboration. He also hinted at new work, which will soon be released. “I would just say, watch this space.”

    Cook noted that the agency is proving it is solving business challenges by leveraging the network’s national and global teams, being both “fiercely local and “proudly global.

    ‘We are inspired by the people we work with and for’

    Looking to the year ahead, Ernst and Cook shared a positive outlook for the agency, its people, and its work.

    “We’ve had a wonderful start to this year, Ernst said. “Our people are engaged, and as a leadership team, we are inspired by the people we work with and for. We have a great, diverse set of clients and are tackling unique challenges.

    Cook said the agency will continue to find growth opportunities for its people.

    “Our people need exposure to interesting clients and work to push themselves and understand the connected capabilities we offer.

    “That fires up our people to ensure their time here at dentsu Queensland is one of strong transforming growth for them.”

    The agency’s next 12 months will focus on producing great work and seizing opportunities to grow its business sustainably and strategically.

    “If we can do it, our business will be a great place, and we will provide great opportunities for our people over the next 12 months, and that’s our focus,” Ernst said.

    While the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games are eight years away, Ernst added the growth story for Brisbane is happening now.

    “We’re the fastest growing city in the country, with massive projected economic growth, a $25 billion infrastructure pipeline, the fastest growing working population.

    “Brisbane is firing right now. And dentsu Queensland is a great reflection of that.”

    Top image: Chris Ernst and Emily Cook

    The post dentsu QLD’s ‘potent and powerful’ culture: Chris Ernst and Emily Cook appeared first on Mediaweek.

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