Creative Talk with Matthew Masters of Badger Communications
We talk with Matthew Masters from Badger Communications, a specialist B2B agency on how he ended up in New Zealand; why B2B and his advice to those starting out.
Matthew, you started your career on the creative site in the UK. How did you end up in New Zealand?
It was a bit of an accident really, and doesn’t even start in the UK. My wife and I had been working in Amsterdam, and after five years there were ready to move on. I had some contacts in Singapore, Sydney, LA and New York, so we embarked on a bit of a tour. At the time my sister was living in Wellington, and it seemed churlish not to drop in when we were travelling from Sydney to LA. It ended up being the best detour we could possibly have taken. There was (and still is) something brilliant and immediately welcoming about New Zealand. I didn’t know anyone, but could call up agencies and get to see CDs right away. We were only here a couple of days before re-arranging our flights and all but abandoning the remainder of our tour.
Did Badger start as a B2B Specialist agency.
Definitely. There are challenges in B2B communications that I find particularly interesting, and I have always been surprised that it doesn’t get the attention it deserves in New Zealand.
B2B is quite big business, although most traditional larger agencies don’t tend to cover this. Why?
Beats me, it really does. I guess they just put it in the too-hard-basket. Or maybe the not-sexy-so-unlikely-to-win-awards-basket.
Do you work collaboratively on your client account with their ATL brand agencies?
Definitely. We have a great working relationship with FCB on Vodafone, for example. Because we have no ambitions on the brand or retail work, there’s no fear of “scope creep” and that makes working together on joint responses to client briefs (which we do often) a whole lot easier.
How do you find the market in New Zealand in comparison with Australia?
Haha … small, mostly. Tiny in fact. We’ve done campaigns with an audience of just 30. And that tends to make everything far more focused on direct marketing and sales enablement.
Let’s talk work and family. The balance is very important to you. How easy it is to find the balance?
It sounds glib, but it really is as easy as you make it. Set boundaries and stick to them. For me the rule is simple, I don’t work at home. Ever. If I have to get something done, I go to the office. Which keeps it contained, both physically and temporally. I try to run the whole business that way too, so we very rarely have people working much past 6pm and I can’t remember the last time we had anyone in at the weekend.
If you could, would you change the course or path you have taken in your career?
Of course. But exactly what changes hourly!
If you could pick any career / job, what would it be?
Haha … picking has always been a bit of a problem for me. As a child I started out wanting to be a one man band (the kind with a guitar, a bass drum on your back, cymbals on your knees and a harmonica on a frame), which is odd since I never had any musical ability whatsoever.
Then I wanted to be Doctor Who, then Director General of the BBC. When I realised that might be a little ambitious, I thought being a researcher at the BBC would be nice. Shortly after that, I decided I wanted to be a barrister. I stuck with that idea for a couple of years, briefly dallying with the idea of going into advertising. By the time I reached the fifth form, I was pretty much certain that I wanted to be a journalist. So it seemed only natural that my first job on getting kicked out of school was in … a recording studio. Since then, I’ve been a dispatch rider, bricklayer, roof insulation installer, shop assistant, floppy disk salesman, software developer, postman, marketing manager, corporate middle manager and paperback book blurb writer. So in a sense, I am already doing what I wanted to. If only for one week in 1976.
What would be your favourite project to date?
Badger, actually. The whole thing. The people, the clients, the briefs – even the little ones. Collectively they are a project that makes getting up in the morning easy.
What advice would you give graduates / design students who are about to embark on their own journey?
Start by doing something that isn’t advertising or marketing. Seriously, the more experience you have outside the industry, the better you will be at communicating with people. I’d recommend some actual sales experience too, but probably only because that was the route I took.
2018 will be….
Phone – +64 21 505 394
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Web – badgercomms.co.nz
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