Industry Profile: Will Harms at Half Dome

Will Harms.

Our Industry Profile takes a look at some of the professionals working across the advertising, adtech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the buzzing industry.

This week we speak to Will HarmsHead of Planning at Half Dome

Time in current role/time at the company:

Since inception, so just over 4 years. I’ve worn a few hats over the journey but this one’s been the most consistent throughout.

How would you describe what the company does?

We help our clients make their media smarter by building their digital capability. We are also an agency that’s fun to work with which is missed too often if you ask me.

What do you do day-to-day?

I’m responsible for all the planning across the agency. In essence I ensure our client solutions team is always strategically led and think marketing first.

Define your job in one word:

Hard fun

I got into marketing/advertising/media/tech because:

It’s creative thinking mashed with business smarts and great people. What’s not to love?

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?

Focus – like everyone I’m always looking to do more, but I’m slowly realising it’s better to do less, well.

What’s the biggest industry-wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?

Pitching – as much as we all love the thrill of the chase, the time and resource required is becoming unsustainable, especially with increased expectations around written submissions. I don’t know if it’s just been our experience at Half Dome, but the rise of the pitch consultant seems to have come at the cost of the old school, kick-off chemistry session that sees a pitch list go from five agencies to three . I honestly believe both clients and agencies learn more out of that meeting than at any other stage in the process; the vibe matters. The less agencies pitching the better for everyone!

Notable campaigns you have worked on:

This is going to sound naff, but it isn’t the sexy campaigns that stand out as much as the progression of our clients. The stand-out for me would probably be Maurice Blackburn Lawyers. When we first started working with them nearly four years ago, they were a super pedestrian, fairly traditional business. Now they have doubled their media investment and are quickly becoming one of the most innovative players in Melbourne. Being part of that evolution has been a lot of fun and super rewarding, especially because they have been with us right from the start.

Who has been a great mentor to you and why?

I think it’s been my two business partners Joe and Tom Frazer. We are all so different but so complementary to one another in terms of both skillsets and personality. There has certainly been some ups and downs but at the end of the day we always have each other’s backs. I have learned a tremendous amount from them both.

Words of advice for someone wanting a job like yours?

Keep asking why until you get annoying and ask your clients what’s actually going on over there – I can assure you they are thinking about more than an ad impression or storyboard.

If I wasn’t doing this for a living, I’d be:

A sous-chef at a mid-tier Thai restaurant.

My mantra is:

Perfection is the enemy of progress – this one is more of an aspirational statement than a mantra….I might have some perfectionist tendencies.

My favorite advert is:

Not so much adverts, more brand platforms, but I love Aldi’s ‘Good Different’ and Canadian Club’s ‘Over Beer.’ The former because it shows that retail ads can help build brand, the latter because it’s just such a simple, clever insight.

Music and TV streaming habits. What do you subscribe to?

On the video side I love Binge for the HBO stuff, and Docplay for the docos (I’m a bit of a nerd).

For audio I listen to podcasts every morning and then transition to some mixes on Soundcloud when I’m in the zone.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?

I use my phone in the shower to read the news in the morning. It’s waterproof right?

In five years’ time I’ll be:

Happy chipping away at the same job.

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