Nick Hindhaugh, founding Director of Six Degrees, sat down with Meagan Reay of Mattel, to reflect on the year just passed and discuss the future.
1. 2009 was a tough year for most. What are the key business changes you have made to adapt to the economic climate?
Externally, we re-examined our portfolio for non-traditional sales and marketing opportunities. Whether it was new product, new segments, new distribution - staying relevant in the climate was key.
Internally, it was all about doing more with less. Keeping the team passionate and motivated was a big part of this. It became really important to celebrate the small wins.
2. What is your outlook for 2010 and beyond?
I don't want to believe that we are out of the woods yet. The last 12 months has served us well, in the sense that we are now focusing on the things that matter. It has increased our discipline when it comes to spending and the value of smart investments. Tracking and acting on campaign effectiveness analysis has become a discipline right throughout our business.
With reduced stimulus spending, major changes in the Australian retail landscape and personal debt remaining at precarious levels, we still have an unpredictable climate.
3. What are the greatest challenges facing your specific industry/disciplines?
Staying at the cutting edge of what consumers want, where they want to learn about you, and how they want to converse with you.
Navigating social media and managing media fragmentation and the impact on all things from cost efficiency to media effectiveness.
Managing perceived value in the trade. Delivering great innovation at the right price points.
4. What are the key skills and attitudes you will be looking for in candidates in 2010?
Whenever I recruit, I am all about attitude. I see a number of similar CVs with strong but similar skill sets. It comes down to not what you have done or can do, but how you go about doing it.
- Are they able to contribute to the success of the broader team?
- Will they be strong when in the tough conversations?
- Are they capable of motivating others to follow their vision?
- Do they understand how to read an audience and sell accordingly?
- Can they make lemonade out of lemons?
5. What are your hiring intentions for the year ahead?
We are hopeful for a stable year having put a lot of effort into getting the right people into the right roles. We will continue to nurture and coach the current team to be their best, promoting internally whenever possible. Any recruiting that we do in 2010 should add value and will come as a consequence of strong growth.