Innocean CEO Jasmin Bedir reveals new account wins including Korea Tourism

Innocean Australia has long been pigeonholed as an automotive-only agency, and with its owners guaranteeing the ongoing servicing of Kia and Hyundai, it’s easy to see why.

But since Jasmin Bedir took over as CEO in June of 2020, there’s been a clear and concerted effort to bring in more non-automotive clients, plus ongoing expansion into additional services as the agency has become full-service.

Earlier this year Innocean added health and wellness drink brand No Ugly, and speaking on the Mumbrellacast this week, Bedir revealed more client wins.

“I haven’t done a lot of PR on this but we’ve got four new clients that are not automotive. This is exciting for us, because I didn’t think this category would come back anytime soon… we’ve started to work for Tourism Korea (Korea Tourism Organisation).

“We are getting ready for 2022 for a post-lockdown world where they’ve got big ambitions, so that’s an amazing opportunity for us.

“Obviously we’ve got No Ugly, that’s been really good. But Supercars have come back. And we are now working with them on a branding project. We’ve got a new lighting company that I can’t name yet, and we’ve also got a tech company that hopefully we are going to be able to name and announce in the next couple of weeks.”

Expanding the remit of Innocean has also meant the agency has needed to learn how to pitch, which has been difficult recently with the added challenge of lockdowns, something most creative and media agencies have learn to deal with over the past 18 months.

“There’s one big pitch that we’ve been pitching since April and we didn’t get, but that’s okay. Innocean had to learn how to pitch. But we are now working on a really big one where we are into the final rounds now. So hopefully we’ve got some results on that [soon].”

There’s been a significant string of hires at Innocean since Bedir came on board too, with a greater focus on data and CX (customer experience), as well as communications as well

“The good thing is that we’re all new to Innocean, we’ve restructured Innocean in a completely different way. The team that’s pitching is entirely new. So it was more about us as a team learning to do it together, and pitching remotely is one of the hardest things you could ever do.

“Innocean has changed from being a traditional ad agency with a strong sort of capability in automotive, which of course we do, to be a more agile, future-focussed company.

“It’s not so much about advertising anymore. It’s now a really broad communications business, and that’s how you start the interesting conversations.”

Bedir has also led a cultural and structural change at the company, and she is pleased with what the results have been since she began, with a lot of the work about changing people’s perceptions.

“I don’t think Innocean [as it is now] is the Innocean than anyone would have known over the last ten years. There’s no resemblance [to that] anymore, from the people, the capability, the office to the culture perspective either.

“So I’m quite happy with where we’re at. Now we’ll just have to learn how to work together really, really well in a really integrated way and doing that while we’re sitting at home.”

During the chat, Bedir also revealed that so far, lockdowns in 2021 haven’t seen the type of cuts to ad spend that were seen in 2020.

“We’re just seeing basically a shift in spend, everything is going back into TV and digital, and out-of-home gets deleted left right and center. But overall there hasn’t been a stop to campaigns that we were working on yet, which I was sort of half expecting.

“I think we at the moment in this weird phase where we’re not quite sure how this is going to go or how long this is going to take us, or whether we’ll ever go back to this strange situation that we had for 18 months.

“I don’t think anyone’s got the answers there at the moment, but It’s not, it’s not looking great. And I wouldn’t be surprised if we dealt again with media spend cuts or breaks, but I think there’s probably going to be more delay than deletion.”

Check out Zanda Wilson’s full chat with Jasmin Bedir later today on the Mumbrellacast.


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