Dynamic Duos: ‘Our ability to stretch each others thinking is pure chemistry’

This week in Dynamic Duos, News Corp Australia’s executive general manager, Newsamp, Renee Sycamore and director, Growth Intelligence Centre & The Growth Distillery, Dan Krigstein, share how they connected over their passion for data and insights to unearth strategic marketing solutions for advertisers.

In Dynamic Duos, Mumbrella each week asks two colleagues with a professional and personal affiliation to share with readers the importance of workplace relationships in an increasingly hybridised world of work.

Renee Sycamore:

My initial reaction to Dan joining us three and a half years ago was one of curiosity. In that first year, I didn’t truly understand Dan’s vision for the Growth Intelligence Centre (GIC), News Corp Australia’s independent research and advisory think tank, which I’m sure irritated Dan, and on more than one occasion! Let’s just say, we had some good, hearty discussions. It just took me a little more time to see what was crystal clear to Dan. He was very patient, and accommodating (que polite) of my many questions. I’m grateful he took the time and effort with me, because once I understood Dan’s strategic, yet masterfully simple approach, I saw just how valuable the GIC would be to News Corp Australia, and more importantly, our client partners. I am genuinely blown away by what Dan and his team have achieved in the last three years. The scale of both industry and consumer knowledge, research and insights which are now available to us is second to none.

The GIC team has brought significant value to Newsamp, News Corp Australia’s integrated marketing solutions unit. There isn’t a day that goes by that we aren’t accessing Dan’s treasure trove of intelligence. I look at Dan and his team as the internal catalyst, complementing Newsamp’s external operations in cultivating client partnerships by harnessing the intelligence the GIC provides.

Not only does Dan’s team provide Newsamp with current and real time intelligence and data, they also have highlighted the sub categories and industries we should prioritise for future growth.

Dan and the GIC use data and intelligence to inform, and Newsamp layers this with creativity and intuition so it’s tailored for the market and more specifically our client briefs. We have ignited something really special – our stars have definitely aligned resulting in a really impactful duo. We’ve created and cultivated a creative synergy which we’ll showcase at Frontiers this month where Dan will once again be our headline thought leader.

For those yet to experience Frontiers, it’s an annual event facilitated by Newsamp tailored for each agency group nationwide. Now in its 4th year, Frontiers serves as an intimate and immersive platform for agency decision-makers to meet with editors, product leaders and client problem-solvers from across News Corp Australia. Our goal is to give visibility on our content and commercial product roadmaps, discover fresh consumer insights and trends as well as explore the array of strategic solutions and services available for marketers within News Corp Australia’s ecosystem.

Frontiers also gives agencies the opportunity to present and collaboratively workshop their priorities (and challenges) with Newsamp for the upcoming year, in order for us to distil our agency partners priorities, identify and discover shared opportunities and of course, for us to have an honest feedback loop so that we can become better partners.

Dan Krigstein:

Renee is bold and passionate; she’s a no holds barred operator. That was the impression I had when I first worked with her and her Newsamp team three years ago. One thing that struck me the most about Renee was how she’d relentlessly pursue an outcome for her clients – which I greatly respect.

Renee’s passion for data and insights, and our ability to stretch each others thinking, is the pure chemistry which drives and delivers exceptional outcomes for both our client partners and News Corp Australia. Through our working relationship, we’ve been able to achieve some really exciting things together – including the launch of The Growth Distillery (TGD) last year – Growth oriented research and intelligence available to brands, businesses and industries.

The Growth Distillery (TGD) has merchandised the best of what the Growth Intelligence Centre (GIC) does and points this capability directly towards the world Newsamp supports day-in and day-out. Renee and her team help sharpen our axes, and their perspectives often help us refine what we explore for our client and brand audiences. Their understanding of what’s going on at the coalface of Australian businesses adds real impact to the programs of work The Growth Distillery brings to market, and the success of our inaugural year; how well it’s been received in-market, is a testament to this and to the collaboration between our teams. We’re both in the business of authentically supporting client ambitions and I think this symbiotic working relationship has been incredibly valuable.

Off the back of its initial success, this year’s expansion of The Growth Distillery will meaningfully enhance our offerings for brands, businesses, decision makers and industries in Australia. It’s a real privilege for Renee and I to be able to point all of this horsepower towards building stronger brands and businesses for clients nationwide.

Renee and my approach to customer-led and data-informed strategy is actually more similar than not, albeit we regularly come from very different starting points. This complementary dynamic means that the whole is often greater than the sum of our parts – which I’m excited to be showcased as we roll out Frontiers again in 2024.

Renee on Dan: 

Most memorable moment with Dan: At Frontiers last year where we co-presented. This is where we took what was previously a very internal working relationship to market. It was an exhausting programme but very rewarding, and my view of Dan, which was already very high, became a bit fan-girl.

Best word to describe him: Savant. He’s truly exceptional and he is able to see things most people can’t see. I’ve known Dan to know things, before we have had any data, any findings or any proof points. It’s like he has a crystal ball…but if he did…I’m sure he’d have won lotto by now!

Most annoying habit or endearing behaviour he has: He’s always right – I’m not joking. There have been discussions where I have been absolutely resolute on my belief. Unwavering even. Dan however has so much knowledge, has a brain full of data and insights, and I find myself conceding/convinced/in agreement…every. single. time!

Dan on Renee:

Most memorable moment with Renee: My indoctrination into Frontiers last year, without a doubt.

Best word to describe her: Bold.

Most annoying habit or endearing behaviour she has: Beneath what can be perceived as a tough exterior, Renee is a deeply caring individual with a heart of gold.


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