RICHARD HENDERSON / INDEPENDENT ADVERTISING CONSULTANT
Regional Business & Strategic Director, Maverick Brands Asia-Pacific
It doesn't matter whether its concepts, agency credentials, fundraising or perhaps multilayer marketing strategies, I really thrive on presenting. When it comes to winning business and developing client relationships, I'm as happy as a pig in mud. Prior to launching my consultancy, Maverick Brands Asia, I was Regional Director & ECD at Havas Worldwide co-driving Microsoft, Carlsberg, Reckitt Benckiser, Maybank, Maxis and Volvo.
Along with my stable of faithful clients who must remain anonymous for diplomatic reasons, I’ve been consulting to JWT [Unilever], McCann [Unilever], TBWA [Biersdorf] In-House [Conrad & Hilton] and a number of others. I work on retainer with many brands. I guess you could say that I'm a veteran of regional advertising and communications, having held positions spanning from Head of Copy for Darcy in Australia/Asia and Dentsu Singapore to being a director of Euro RSCG Worldwide. For the last few years, I have been employed as the in-house strategic and creative director to one of the two biggest multinational electronics companies globally.
While I still keep my hand in creatively, which I love, I spend more of my time devoted to business development and also brand engagement as a strategist these days. I've won a handful of creative awards including Gold for Television at The New York Festivals and Mobius. Who knows, if I'd bagged lots more then I'd possibly care more? No, I can't say I would.
I am already reasonably satisfied with my year. I won Hilton Hotels' business in China, a Marriott development in Thailand, co-drove a global Unilever pitch, staged a handful of big events, and a dozen other things.
Another notable ongoing campaign is the 'Doggy Bag Foundation', which is a simple word of mouth initiative I conceived. Ask your waiter to pack your group's delicious leftovers, walk out of the restaurant and give them to a homeless person. Gold! Tell your friends! It is not results at award shows which are my priority. Branding is fascinating - winning hearts and minds.
I prize the unsolicited reference from Carlsberg's Bryan Lee more than an award. When Andrew Koh, the CEO of Canon Singapore, told me during a chance encounter that mine remains their all time favourite ad - imagine a client saying that if it had bombed - I decided either Dentsu is a very average agency or I'm a genius [draw your own conclusions]. That was the year scammy old Batey won Best of Show at CCAs for gargantuan multinational client, Singapore Paintball. I favour effectiveness awards.
When my business strategies move product and grow the brand, plus getting the odd compliment from people I respect [that often includes agency creatives], I'm totally satisfied. Then I'll be off to the studio to improve my artistic photography hobby and catch you tomorrow at work.
Still, under my creative direction, the multitude of teams that I've guided have been awarded Gold, Silver or Merit by numerous global award shows - New York Advertising Festivals, One Show, Mobius, AWARD, CCA's. I'm really happy for others and agencies when they excel at award shows.
Most importantly, I calculated my career success rate in head-to-head new business pitches at 90%+, which is way above average. I'd swap any award for a track record like that over again. Why aren't there awards for that?
Among my varied sidelines is publishing one of the Asia-Pacific's most successful magazine journals focusing on the advertising, communications and design industries, Agency.Asia Magazine. At its core, the regional branding title evangelizes 'creative + effective' advertising, as opposed to creative for creative's sake. It offers exceptionally in-depth interviews with the cream of regional and global advertising professionals. DesignWeek is a non-for-profit initiative to promote emerging visual artists via this specialist portfolio site. In the shadows of this showcase are gathered the global elite of each design discipline to act as 'scouts' - our aim being to put prodigious talents into the limelight and on the path to future career success.
If it's in the digital realm, I'm into it like Lego. I've got no bias when it comes to a toolbox. If integration was less a buzzword and more about combining the best of traditional and new media, I'm all for it. By the way, Maverick Brands Asia is my freelance consultancy - it is not an agency. I am based in Perth, working on regional projects. Thanks for getting to know me better. I am currently seeking consulting offers if they're in Asia, especially Singapore/Thailand. I am also interested in long term retainer and full-time roles in ad agencies, so please drop me a line and let's chat - contact me.