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A Week in My Life: Ben Quigley, Executive Chair, Different Narrative

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Ben Quigley is executive chair at Newcastle-based integrated marketing agency Different Narrative.

Quigley (pictured, left) has had a long career in leadership roles across the marketing communications industry before taking on his current role following the merger of Different and Narrative Integrated Communications in 2021.

He also sits on the IPA Effectiveness Leadership Group, a cross-industry initiative that promotes evidence-based marketing communications, thought-leadership and best practice.

Here, he shared how a recent week in his life went…

 

Monday

Can’t believe Monday has come round so quickly again, following a weekend of dog walking, socialising and watching West Ham at the London Stadium.

At Different Narrative we work flexibly in the office, three days a week Monday to Wednesday and work in either the office or from home on Thursday and Fridays. This model has worked well for the business with Monday to Wednesdays being for vital ‘heads ups’ and ‘heads togethers’, whilst Thursdays and Fridays are ‘heads down’ to get stuff done. This helps our productivity, culture and people to be their best.

On Mondays I’ll attend weekly meetings to plan projects and resource for the week ahead with our team leaders across creative, media, digital, PR, social disciplines. We use Workflow Max, Trello and Microsoft 365 for project management, but you can’t beat the spark and buzz of people working together to solve problems in brainstorms, workshops and of course round the coffee machine in-person.

CPD annual plan review with director of operations to review our training plan requirements for the year aligned to our business plan and staff annual appraisals. Followed by a ISO 9001 continual improvement planning review for the year – it’s a bit dry, not my favourite – but essential work for us to ensure smooth and efficient running.

Marketing Engine training session – ME is our proprietary marketing attribution dashboard that visually shows the impact of marketing on outcomes using client performance data feeds – market share, pricing, sales, share of search for example.

There are some new features to add to an already dazzling array to further blow our clients’ minds, exciting stuff.

Evening dog walk with Winnie and my wife, Sara.

Tuesday

Heads together creative brainstorm session for a B2B client followed by an integrated comms and spend-share investment and ROI modelling exercise needed for a holiday sector client’s board meeting next week.

Weekly management meeting with management team leaders from across our departments and services to review financial performance, operational issues, business development and people – as an indie we pride ourselves on agility and proactivity. Afterwards, weekly finance meeting with our CEO and FC to further review performance and develop our business plans.

Watch IPA webinar the future of commercial media, brilliant thought leadership webinar about how media channels and consumption is evolving. The IPA set the protocols for the UK industry’s best practice standards and provide advice on how to choose an agency or how to run an agency.

Evening gym and swim session after work. Why doesn’t it get any easier?

Wednesday

Weekly town-hall update of all the week’s news and in-house announcements to the team in the office. It’s broadcast on Teams and supported via a summary newsletter sent to all staff, delivered by our CEO, Kieron.

Business planning weekly meeting with CEO Kieron to review where we are and where we want to be short, medium and long term. Lots of whiteboarding!

IPA Effectiveness leadership group meeting on Teams to develop tools and resources to enable clients and agencies to develop marketing effectiveness cultures.

Catch up call with my daughters, who are at Manchester and Liverpool universities and with predictably, their begging bowls held-out.

Evening Annual Business Dinner in Durham Cathedral which was great for a ‘state of the nation’ overview and lots of networking. It’s great to be able to do more events again and meet people following the pandemic.

Thursday

Early start for a chemistry meeting in West London for a potential new client, introduced by an intermediary client-agency matchmaker. The fit in experience, services, people and culture seemed really good and we have high hopes to get shortlisted to pitch at the next stage! Followed by a meeting in central London with longstanding clients to optimise marketing spend by repurposing existing creative assets for new promo activity.

IPA Council quarterly meeting in Belgrave Square. The Council is the IPA’s board, in addition to reviewing the state of the nation there’s always amazing guests from the industry to inspire, educate and inform.

Catch-up on the Different Narrative WhatsApp group and Teams for all the news of the day back at the office.

Train back to Newcastle at 7.30pm from Kings Cross, thankfully it’s pretty much on time.

Friday

Heads down day – first, a call to help an account team with strategy on a public sector client account. Then, continue with the ROI piece from earlier in the week. Review IT action list with the agency manager. Check in on our income forecast dashboards for updates. Client contract renewal review of the scope of work and terms. Check on pitch status progress on Workflow Max and Trello.

Field a journalist’s phone interview about how marketing budgets are being impacted in the cost of living crisis, quoting the latest Bellwether report.

And finally, submit my timesheets for the week, before a walk with Winnie and enjoying well-earned glass of wine at the end of the day, before going out with friends.

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