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Face to Face with Paul Birt

By SEVEN

In this weeks’ Face to Face, we interview Paul Birt, Group Sales Manager in the Adelaide office. We dive into personal challenges, his tips for staying motivated working from home and what TV show he’d love to make a comeback.

Q1. Tell us a bit about your role as Group Sales Manager in Adelaide?

Adelaide is an amazing town to be involved in media. We have some great people in all corners of the Advertising and Marketing landscape here, and they do amazing work. My role is to try connect our team with these people, then develop solutions for them using the best of all the assets we have at Seven West Media.

Q2. Where did your passion for sales come from?

I learnt early on about attaining fulfillment through seeing others grow. That’s what drives me.

Seven West Media’s suite of Broadcast, Digital and Print assets connect strongly with Australians. Enabling our clients to connect to, and then intrigue potential consumers with their story brings them growth… and for me a sense of achievement.

Q3. What’s been the biggest challenge for you this year? 

Change Management. Our clients, our agency partners and ourselves are all knees-deep in an accelerating change in Advertising and Marketing, sped up by the pandemic. In our business, a new agility is required to get the gist of our client’s needs. Also, a stronger focus on the role of data and activating on our digital assets is required. These new focus points are fundamental to our clients’ and SWM’s success going forward. 

Q4. What main commercial trends have you noticed over the past twelve months?

It has been an unbelievable 12 Months. We have seen some industry segments suffer with some segments still not clear. Not long after April 2020, we did start to see a strong move of customers back to the Home Improvement sector. And that has just kept sailing strongly. South Australian’s spend a lot of money on Overseas Travel annually. A lot of that money is being redirected into creating an oasis at home, or at the holiday home.

And we have all seen the move many businesses to up their online shopping game as traffic to bricks and mortar slowed / stopped. We have seen clients coming to TV with a need to grab attention and online traffic as physical foot traffic was in decline. I believe this has had a big role in the strong demand the TV Industry is seeing at present.

Q5. What’s one tip that you’ve used to motivate yourself and your team while working from home?

I have to say that we are very lucky here in SA to have made it through COVID Lockdowns much easier than many interstate colleagues and clients, so I am not sure we are the most qualified in this area. I do know that eating fresh and getting exercise through the day was super energising. I live across the road from a beautiful park so it was easy to get some sun and exercise and make the most of a break.

Q6. Dancing with the Stars has made a triumphant comeback. If you could pick one show from the past to be rebooted, what would you pick?

I have long believed I can pick a banging song from a mile out, but I know that I have no idea on how programmers go about finding a hot show. So clearly this is coming from a rank amateur programmers’ standpoint… 90’s Grunge Variety Show – The Big Gig. I loved its irreverent comedy, alt music, stupid camera angles and bizarre moments. What do you think Angus? Maybe not!

Face to Face with Stephanie Kirkman

By SEVEN

In this weeks’ Face to Face feature, we talk to Steph Kirkman from the 7Sport team based in Melbourne. We chat about this year’s biggest sporting event, of course it’s the much anticipated Olympic Games. As well as other exciting content coming up in the sporting calendar.

Q1. Tell us about yourself and your career to date.

I always knew that I wanted to have a career in media and have always had a passion for sport.

Although I completed my university degree in Journalism, I was always intrigued by the commercial/advertising side of the media industry and started my career as a Sales Coordinator nine years ago.

My last six years have been at the Seven Network, and I am currently lucky enough to be part of the 7SPORT team; working with clients and brands to be part of huge sporting events such as the AFL, Cricket, Supercars and Olympics.

Q2. What’s your favourite part of the job and why?

My favourite part of my job is working with clients and brands that are just as passionate about sports as we are at 7. Being able to partner with brands across our sports and work with them to create strong campaigns and content is so rewarding, especially when you see it all come to life across our broadcast and digital channels!

Q3. What motivates you and what would you say has been the key to your success? 

Having such a strong support team around me that I work with daily has been a key factor – there’s so much I’ve learnt over the years from great people across the Network in various roles. Seeing the success and passion that people have at Seven has really motivated me to really push myself outside of my comfort zone and have a go at everything to the best of my ability, but also inspire others to do the same.

Q4. The Olympics is set to be the most streamed programme in the world. How do you think it will compare to previous years without a physical audience presence?

The Tokyo Games will be the first global event post-COVID that will really bring the world together.

While the Olympic stadiums may be empty in July, there will be ways to ensure that the viewing experience for fans is enhanced (e.g we saw the introduction of crowd noises across 2020 in the AFL during COVID with empty stands).

Although fans may not be able to unite in the stands, there is no doubt people will be huddled around the screen to cheer their country on – making it the biggest multi-screen event we see in a long time.

Q5. I’ve heard you’re quite the sports fan. Tell us more.

Yes, I’m a huge sports fan – I love the footy (all codes), tennis, soccer and follow the F1 religiously around the world (if you haven’t watched “Drive to Survive” on Netflix – I highly recommend it!)

I love everything about sport – from the elite skills displayed by the athletes, to the passion of the fans in the stadiums – nothing beats the atmosphere and adrenaline rush you get when watching live sport!

Q6. How do you keep on track with current trends in the market and update your knowledge on the industry?

There is so much good content out there these days from podcasts, virtual events to industry sites – one of my favourites is the Ministry of Sport website – which gives good insights on trends, partnerships and exclusive interviews with key commercial leaders in the sporting industry.

Q7. What’s in the content pipeline this year that you’re personally excited about?

Outside of the Olympics – it is going to be a huge year for 7SPORT. I’m looking forward to seeing the AFL Grand Final back at the G, 7’s first Ashes Series on Aussie shores in November, and the Bathurst 1000 being back on our screens in October.

Sport aside – I’m looking forward to seeing The Voice on 7 and the return of SAS Australia – definitely one of my favourite shows of 2020.

Q8. With Easter coming up, what have you got planned? Are there any Easter traditions in your family and what’s on the menu?

No huge plans for Easter yet. My Mum’s side are Japanese and Easter isn’t a huge tradition over there, however I do plan to enjoy relaxing over the long weekend, have a hit of tennis and watching some Easter weekend Footy!

Face to Face with Joseph Cilia

By SEVEN

Introducing ‘Face to Face’, a new regular feature for Inside Seven. Get to know the people at Seven, what makes them tick and their opinions on current trending topics in the industry.

First up is Joseph Cilia, a brand and client strategist in the 7RED team.

Q1. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got to where you are now.

I’ve spent the last 8 years in the media industry, with the last 4 at the Seven Network.   

Today I enjoy working as a client strategist collaborating with teams and clients around the country, and brand strategist on Seven’s suite of programs (Big Brother & SAS Australia to name a few).

Focus and hard work are two parts of the formula that has helped me get to where I am. Great mentors, asking questions, not being afraid to give it a go, and having fun have been equally important too.

Outside of the world of media, you might catch me writing mystery fiction, running up the Sydney Centrepoint, or challenging my twin to another competition (that I’ll win no doubt).

Q2. It’s been almost a year since Covid 19 first changed the world as we knew. What have been your biggest learnings over the last 12 months?

1 / Our speed to adapt is quicker than the speed the world can change. It’s amazing how in a short 12 months we’ve pivoted most of our past routines into new ones… that just make more sense.

2 / All the best personal and work outcomes I’ve enjoyed in 2020 came from accepting change and moving forward.

3 / We all have time for a check in with our mates and family. We really aren’t too busy to listen to how those closest to us are going.

Q3. 2020 was the year of self-development. Was there a book/podcast/course that inspired you that you can recommend to others? 

Always Add Lemon by Danielle Alvarez. 

Q4. What’s been your favourite project to work on recently and why?

I don’t have to think twice about this one – Big Brother 2020 and 2021. I am unashamedly Big Brother’s biggest fan since 2001, so working on the all-new format was something I couldn’t wait to my teeth into. 

I enjoyed working through brand and client strategy bringing to market a 20-year-old format, reimagined for today’s audience (and yes, the irony of focusing so heavily on a program where housemates are locked in a house, within a year that we too were also stuck at home doesn’t evade me).

Q5. Which brand do you think is winning when it comes to their advertising?

Westpac’s newest campaign. Real, relatable, powerful.

Q6. What series had you hooked this year and why?

Schitt’s Creek – the light-hearted escape from reality (tip: don’t give up during Season 1, and then you’ll binge Seasons 2-6)

Q7. Lastly, a silly one! Last meal on earth, what would you pick?

A burger, any burger – with just the right amount of sauce, and all the salads on the side.

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