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What I’ve Learnt: Jonathan Branney, Strategy Director, Banc

Jonathan Branney

Banc is a strategic digital marketing agency based in Manchester.

Operating for 14 years, the agency’s clients include Cruise Nation, Aspro Parks (Blue Planet Aquarium, Oakwood Theme Park) and Holts Auto.

Jonathan Branney has been with the business for over six years, starting out in content marketing and digital PR before heading up the agency’s digital marketing division.

In his current role as strategy director, he divides his time between company strategy, client consulting, sales and marketing, team leadership and coaching, and new product development.

He shared a few lessons and keen observations he’s made in his career to date…


Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?

Making the time to cook and eat tea with my partner Michelle each day. We both have manic jobs but it’s something we always make a point of blocking out time for.

What’s been your luckiest break?

I think there are probably two things. In my first professional job, I was granted the remit of doing digital ‘stuff’ simply by virtue of being the youngest employee in the company! This allowed me to explore a few different things at my own pace and find out where my interests really laid.

Secondly, I think stumbling on and one-click applying on a fateful content marketing manager job at Banc on LinkedIn in 2016. I could never have imagined the career I’d end up having here and all the amazing people and experiences that would come along with it.

What’s your best failure?

Trying to conquer everything at work by myself. In the agency world, you’re likely to spend a good portion of your career as an individual contributor then a product lead, and it becomes very easy to get trapped in your own little world with the blinkers on.

As I moved into our agency’s management layer it became very clear to me that surrounding yourself with people who are excellent at the things you’re not so good at – and sailing in the same direction – is where the real magic happens.

At Banc, I’m privileged enough to be part of an incredibly supportive exec board, and work with a super talented and like-minded senior management team who are all passionate about creating great things and delivering outstanding work. It’s pretty special stuff.

What is the best investment you’ve ever made, either financial or time?

Financially, probably buying my house – I don’t know how we’d have managed with the way things are now. On the flip-side, spending time with family and friends is something that’s incredibly valuable to me.

Which book would you recommend others to read and why?

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Thematically rich, ridiculously ahead of its time – not sure how much more there is to say about such a canonical work!

What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

If I can just go back a bit further, I think I’d tell my university student-self to get some work experience as early as possible and try a few things out professionally! I’d always been a bit introverted, and it’s only through a few happy accidents that I ended up finding my calling.

Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?

It has to be my parents. Both my mum and dad worked hard their whole lives and sacrificed a lot to give my sister and I the best starts possible. That work ethic and determination they instilled has been a huge driver throughout my career.

Tell us something about you that would surprise people.

If my ancestry-obsessed dad is to be believed, I’m the 27th great-grandson of William the Conqueror.

How will the COVID crisis change work for the better?

I think the pandemic’s done a lot for opening up access to talent through geographically diverse working. It’s also fast-tracked the adoption of more collaboration-focused technology and probably done a thing or two for maturing processes in many organisations.

With flexible and remote working, anything that gives people more autonomy and control to balance their work and personal lives can’t be a bad thing, but I also think there’s something to be said for getting people in a room and sharing great ideas face-to-face – whether it’s with colleagues or clients!

What does success look like to you?

Having a happy, healthy family life. Fulfilling Banc’s growth ambitions and being a key driver of the agency’s success – commercially, culturally and service-wise.

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