Aussie head of Tui social media on why she will ‘never go back’ to agencies

Escaping the culture of agencies, where overwork is the norm and insisting they know more than the client about their business, has been one of the best moves she has ever made, the Aussie social media head of global travel giant Tui has said.

rachel-hawkesRachel Hawkes told the Socialbakers Engage conference in Bali that in moving from agency to client side gave her “life back” after moving from media agency OMD to Tui 18 months ago.

“I have my life back. I have a much better quality of life, I will never go back,” she told the conference.

The executive, who also worked agency-side at Elemental and began her career as a solutions executive for Vodafone in Australia, said her view of working in agencies was not a tongue-in-cheek comment.

“Agency side you have multiple clients, so you’re working on five to six different projects at once to ever-moving deadlines and constant pressure to deliver. I was easily doing 16 hour days, five or six days a week – it was hectic,” she said.

However, she admitted that having worked inside agencies she believed she was now a better client, able to understand the internal pressures and motivations – and also be more transparent with them.

“I really appreciated honesty from clients when I was agency side. And being Australian it’s in our nature – we don’t have much of a filter, and that really helps [the relationship].”

However, a complaint she said she had of agencies is that they tend to think they know a client’s business better than they do.

“An agency coming in to present to me will spend the first 15 minutes trying to educate me on why social media is important. I really don’t need to know that.”

“There seems to be the mentality that the agency knows best, and I find that frustrating,” she told Mumbrella.

“So now I try to encourage them [agencies] to get to the meat of the story earlier on.”

Ironically, Hawkes comments came the same day that the Dutch media has reported that stewardesses on TUI-owned airline TUIfly have threatened to strike claiming work pressure is too high and they are over-tired.


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